As expected since the initial announcement of Todd McLellan’s hiring, the Los Angeles Kings have officially hired Trent Yawney as an Assistant Coach.
McLellan and Yawney have great familiarity with each other, dating back to their playing days in the WHL. Yawney spent last season working under McLellan with the Edmonton Oilers, focusing on their defense and penalty kill. Prior to that, he filled the same position with the Anaheim Ducks (2014-18) and San Jose Sharks (2008-11). Between stints with California teams, Yawney spent his time in the AHL, putting in time with both the Syracuse Crunch and Norfolk Admirals as head coach.
Yawney had varied success throughout his career in creating a cohesive defensive unit. For example, the Edmonton Oilers had one of the league’s worst penalty kills last season — they were 30th with a 74.8% success rate — and allowed 271 goals, tied for sixth-most in the league. But was that a problem with Yawney and McLellan as coaches, or was that an issue with the personnel the Oilers put on the ice?
His success was mixed with the Ducks, as well, who have struggled in recent years defensively and on the penalty kill. But he was also behind the bench for Anaheim during the 2015-16 season, when they had the league’s best penalty kill (87.2%) and allowed the fewest goals (188). While the numbers slipped slightly the next season (84.7% on the penalty kill, 197 goals against), the Ducks were still among the league leaders in those categories.
Yawney is also known for his work with younger defensemen during his time on the Ducks, including Josh Manson, Brandon Montour, Cam Fowler and Hampus Lindholm. Perhaps this is where Yawney’s influence may be felt the most for the Kings as they look to integrate younger players onto their blue line.
He will be the only addition to the Kings coaching staff, with Marco Sturm staying on in his role behind the bench.