It was reported on Thursday night that the Dallas Stars will add John Stevens to their coaching staff. And while no Dallas coaches have left the organization (yet), the hiring may involve creating a brand new position for Stevens.
The Dallas Stars spent the early part of the 2018 offseason building a brand new coaching staff that could help usher in a new era for the team. And by the time the 2018 NHL Entry Draft kicked off, it seemed as though they had completed the rebuild.
Upon the retirement of Ken Hitchcock one week after the Stars’ regular season came to a close, GM Jim Nill began the search for a new head coach that could immediately take the team in a new direction after missing the playoffs in two consecutive seasons. Three weeks later, he hired Jim Montgomery out of the University of Denver to become the team’s newest bench boss.
And in the weeks that followed, Montgomery began assembling his NHL staff. In addition to retaining Stu Barnes (assistant), Jeff Reese (goaltending), and Kelly Forbes (video), he also hired Todd Nelson and Rick Bowness as his other assistants.
Nelson had only coached in the NHL in a limited capacity as interim head coach of the Edmonton Oilers in 2014-15, while Bowness owned an extensive NHL resume both as a head coach and assistant coach.
Altogether, the new staff provided the Dallas Stars with a mixture of rookie and veteran minds as they prepared to take a big step in the 2018-19 season. And by the time their campaign ended in double overtime in Game 7 of the second round, it was clear that the new staff had clicked.
Now that the 2018-19 season is in the books, it looks as though Jim Montgomery is looking to make another hire.
On Tuesday evening, Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet reported that, after a few weeks of speculation, the Stars will hire John Stevens to be the newest member of the Dallas coaching staff.
It’s been speculated for awhile now, but John Stevens will be joining the DAL coaching staff. Played with Jim Montgomery at AHL Philadelphia and coached his son at USHL Dubuque.
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) June 11, 2019
Stevens has 362 career head coaching games under his belt, splitting time between the Philadelphia Flyers and Los Angeles Kings. He was most recently the head coach in Los Angeles at the beginning of the 2018-19 season, but was fired shortly into the campaign after posting a 4-8-1 start. In his career as a head coach, he is 171-148-43.
He also has a history with Montgomery. The two played together in the late ’90’s in the Philadelphia Phantoms (AHL) organization and Montgomery also coached Stevens’ son (who is also named John) on the Dubuque Fighting Saints in 2011-12 and 2012-13.
The question that lingers now is where Stevens will fit. Sean Shapiro of The Athletic suggested that Stevens may fill a brand new position on the staff considering no other coaches have vacated their positions (yet).
On the other hand, there is still a chance that the Stars lose one of their current coaches. Reports have arisen that although Todd Nelson was removed from the Anaheim Ducks’ list in their hunt for a new head coach, Rick Bowness is still a candidate. At the moment, the Ducks are the only NHL team still searching for a new head coach.
Regardless of what happens, it looks as though Stevens will be joining the Dallas Stars staff for the 2019-20 season.