Darryl Sutter will be the next head coach of the Los Angeles Kings, general manager Dean Lombardi announced Tuesday.
Sutter will assume his duties beginning with practice on Wednesday, after which the club will hold a news conference to introduce him. He takes over an underachieving 15-14-4 team that entered Tuesday three points out of a playoff spot in the Western Conference with the second-fewest goals in the league — just three more than the New York Islanders. The Kings are currently riding a streak of 12 consecutive games in which they’ve scored no more than two goals in regulation.
The Kings, whose next game is Thursday night at Staples Center against the struggling Anaheim Ducks, fired coach Terry Murray on Dec. 12 in Boston before starting a four-game road trip. Assistant coach John Stevens was 2-2 as the interim coach.
This is the ninth time in franchise history that the Kings will finish a season with a different coach than the one they started with. They made the playoffs on three of those occasions — 1982 after Don Perry replaced Parker MacDonald, 1987 after Mike Murphy took over for Pat Quinn, and 1988 after Robbie Ftorek succeeded Murphy.
Sutter, 53, has a career record of 409-320-131 in the regular season, and a 47-54 mark in the playoffs. This is his 13th season as a head coach in the NHL, and the Kings are his fourth club. The other three, Chicago, San Jose and Calgary, each won a division title. Sutter’s teams have made the playoffs 10 times, including 2004, when the Flames reached the Stanley Cup Finals and lost to Tampa Bay in seven games.
He is one of nine head coaches in NHL history to lead at least three different clubs to 100 wins. His teams have eclipsed the 40-win mark four times and the 100-point plateau twice. He also was general manager of the Flames from the 2003-04 season until he resigned on Dec. 28, 2010, with the team in last place in the Western Conference.
This is the second time Lombardi has hired Sutter to coach. When they were together in San Jose, the Sharks increased their point total every season that Sutter was behind the bench. But they were eliminated from the first round of the playoffs three times, and from the second round twice.
Sutter is one of six brothers who have played in the NHL and one of four who have been head coaches, including Brian, Duane and Brent. During his eight-year playing career in the NHL, all with Chicago, the former Blackhawks captain appeared in 406 regular-season games and had 161 goals and 279 points — including a career-high 40 goals in 1980-81.