Todd McLellan has reemerged as the top candidate to coach the Kings.
McLellan is expected to meet with the Kings after he fell out of consideration for the Buffalo Sabres coaching position, according to Bob McKenzie of TSN. The Kings have reached out to McLellan initially but are not believed to have had a formal meeting.
McLellan was reportedly close to signing with Buffalo on Monday, after the Sabres fired Phil Housley, but the Kings were still considered to be in the running. McLellan was in Buffalo to meet with the Sabres and also because his son, Tyson, played for Denver in this week’s NCAA Frozen Four.
McLellan has been the main target of the Kings after they cut ties with interim coach Willie Desjardins a day after the regular season ended.
McLellan coached Kings general manager Rob Blake for the San Jose Sharks at the end of Blake’s playing career and was later hired by the Edmonton Oilers, a stint that ended in November when he was fired with one year remaining on a five-year contract that reportedly paid $3 million annually.
The Kings prefer an established, experienced coach and McLellan fits that bill, having coached in the Pacific Division for more than a decade. The Kings are also believed to be open to a long-term contract for a new coach if he’s the right fit.
Tyler Toffoli played for McLellan for Canada in the 2015 World Championships and praised McLellan for his communication skills.
“He knows what he’s talking about,” Toffoli said. “It’s one of those things where he tries to speak to the players … he tries to get feedback from the guys, whether that’s in practice or during games, he was very vocal. It was good to kind of hear that he wants the players’ perspective as well.”