The Los Angeles Kings are going to have to find a new goalie guru to guide their prospects along in net.
Per reports from The Athletic’s Lisa Dillman, Goaltending Development Coach Dusty Imoo is leaving the Kings organization. He will be heading overseas to join the KHL’s Kunlun Red Star in Beijing, China for the upcoming season. While there, Imoo will also assist in goalie development for China for the 2022 Winter Olympics.
Kings news: Dusty Imoo leaving the organization for KHL. Great move for him.— lisa dillman (@reallisa) June 10, 2019
People on the inside will realize this is a big deal. Imoo will also be helping on the goalie development front for the Olympic program in China. Great move by them.— lisa dillman (@reallisa) June 10, 2019
Imoo has been with the Kings since the 2015-16 season, when he replaced Kim Dillabaugh, who left to join the Philadelphia Flyers organization. Working with the Ontario Reign, Imoo has been responsible for resurrecting the careers of Peter Budaj and Jack Campbell. His work with Cal Petersen has also helped push the young goalie to be an NHL-ready player who stepped up admirably when Jonathan Quick and Jack Campbell were both injured last season.
Tough news for @LAKings as they lose their Goalie Development Coach @Dusty70 to the @KRSchina in the @khl_eng . Imoo had a huge hand in the development and good performances by Campbell and Peterson this year. @NHL @NHLNetwork #HockeyTwitter— Kevin Weekes (@KevinWeekes) June 10, 2019
Far from the days of having a depleted goalie pipeline, with no future prospects in the system, the Kings now have a whole range of goalies in the AHL, ECHL, major junior, and NCAA ranks, and it has been on Imoo to help mold those players into the best goaltenders they could possibly be.
Imoo was well-known as a coach who could help anyone from a fresh draft pick to a seasoned professional like Budaj make the necessary tweaks to both their physical and mental game to take their performance to the next level.
A thought on the Kings: lot of really smart, exciting coaches that are up-and-coming in the goaltending world, so there are some really interesting options to replace Imoo. But while his departure (reported by @reallisa) is a great step for him, it's a blow to LAK nonetheless.— Catherine Silverman (@catmsilverman) June 10, 2019
With Imoo’s departure, the Kings have big shoes to fill to help the next generation of Kings goalies. Bill Ranford, the Kings’ goaltending coach at the NHL level, has already been confirmed to be remaining in his job. The Kings additionally still need to fill out new head coach Todd McLellan’s bench staff.