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    Kings give Todd McLellan a 1-year contract extension
    • October 6, 2023

    One of Kings coach Todd McLellan’s favorite clichés is “moving the needle,” and late Thursday it was confirmed that he’d moved it enough to stick around at least a bit longer on Figueroa Street.

    The Kings have finalized terms on a one-year contract extension with McLellan, a deal initially reported by Elliotte Friedman. He has guided the team since the 2019-20 season. Then, he signed a five-year deal to become head coach after holding the same position in Edmonton and San Jose, as well as previously winning the Stanley Cup as an assistant to Mike Babcock in Detroit.

    McLellan’s contract now runs through the 2024-25 season, creating a parallel timeline for the agreements with McLellan, general manager Rob Blake and lead assistant coaches Trent Yawney and Jim Hiller. McLellan’s initial deal was believed to be worth $5 million annually, but no further details were clear regarding the extension.

    With 575 NHL coaching victories, McLellan ranks 23rd in league history and fifth among active coaches in wins. His career points percentage trails that of the New York Rangers’ Peter Laviolette for the highest among their contemporaries by literally the slimmest of margins, .001%.

    When McLellan assumed control of the Kings’ bench, the organization was in disrepair, with links to their two Stanley Cup crowns withering on the vine and the roots of the organization decaying beneath a slew of traded picks and a few failed prospects.

    After a season punctuated by NHL award nominations, rock solid defense and a playoff berth in 2017-18, the Kings had finished dead last in the Pacific in 2018-19, which led them to seek out McLellan. In his first season, the team struggled but finished the campaign by reeling off seven consecutive wins, a streak that was halted only by the suspension of play amid the outset of the pandemic. Year 2 was also marred by not only COVID but also a lack of depth, a further selling off of assets and generally another shortened season to forget.

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    Yet Blake made shrewd, selective investments in roster help and McLellan’s system began to flourish with more skating, skill and seasoning. In the past two campaigns, the Kings have qualified for the postseason, pushing the Edmonton Oilers to seven games despite being undermanned in 2022 and producing an exhilarating six-game series last season.

    ​ Orange County Register