In this 2006 handout photo released by the Detroit Red Wings hockey club, assistant coach Todd McLellan is shown The San Jose Sharks have hired former Detroit Red Wings assistant Todd McLellan as their new head coach. THE ASSOCIATED PRESS/Detroit Red Wings
SAN JOSE, Calif. - The San Jose Sharks hired former Detroit Red Wings assistant Todd McLellan as their head coach on Wednesday, bringing in a leader with Stanley Cup winning credentials to replace the fired Ron Wilson.
McLellan will be formally introduced at a news conference with general manager Doug Wilson on Thursday.
"It's a very good feeling," McLellan said in a statement released by the team. "From the first moment Doug called to the moment he offered the job, I felt comfortable. I think the Sharks have done a tremendous job. You don't get that close to 50 wins for a number of years in a row without a lot of talent. It's a matter of getting over the hump. There are some real parallels between the Wings and the Sharks."
McLellan had spent the past three seasons as an assistant in Detroit, where he was considered a bright offensive coach who led Detroit's power-play units. The Red Wings had the NHL's top power play in McLellan's first season, and the second best over his three-year tenure at 20.1 per cent. McLellan helped the Red Wings knock out the Sharks in the second round of the playoffs in 2007 and win the Stanley Cup over Pittsburgh this past season.
"Todd McLellan has an excellent track record and has had success at every level of coaching in his career," Doug Wilson said. "He comes from one of the top organizations in all of sports and has been exposed to some of the brightest hockey minds in the game including Jim Devellano, Ken Holland, Scotty Bowman, Steve Yzerman and Mike Babcock, along with Jacques Lemaire, to name just a few. We feel that Todd is an excellent fit for our hockey team."
Ron Wilson was fired last month after the Sharks followed another outstanding regular season with yet another early exit from the Stanley Cup playoffs. He was hired as coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday.
The Sharks won the Pacific Division this season and compiled the NHL's second-best record with 49 wins and 108 points, but the Dallas Stars knocked them out of the second round in six games. San Jose ended its past three seasons with six-game series losses in the second round, and the Sharks lost to a lower-seeded team in three of their four post-seasons under Wilson.
At the time of the firing, Doug Wilson said further changes are in store for that roster that is led by former MVP Joe Thornton, captain Patrick Marleau and goalie Evgeni Nabokov.
Before joining the Red Wings, McLellan spent four seasons as coach of the American Hockey League's Houston Aeros, winning the Calder Cup championship in 2003. He also was a head coach for Cleveland in the International Hockey League and at Swift Current in the WHL.
McLellan played five games with the New York Islanders in 1987-88, recording one goal and one assist.
Other candidates for the vacancy included former St. Louis Blues head coach Joel Quenneville, Kitchener Rangers coach Peter DeBoer and ex-Tampa Bay Lightning coach John Tortorella.