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McLellan accepts Sharks' gig

Former Wings' assistant becomes seventh coach in San Jose

Thursday, 06.12.2008 / 4:53 PM / News
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McLellan accepts Sharks\' gig
McLellan spent the last three seasons in Detroit, where he helped the Wings' power play unit.
SAN JOSE -- Sharks Executive Vice President and general manager Doug Wilson announced today that Todd McLellan has been named as the new head coach. In keeping with club policy, terms of the contract were not disclosed.

“Todd McLellan has an excellent track record and has had success at every level of coaching in his career,” 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 Devallano, 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 now and in the future.”

Most recently, McLellan, 40, captured the 2008 Stanley Cup in his third season as an assistant coach under Mike Babcock with the Red Wings. Over the course of those three seasons, the Red Wings won the Presidents' Trophy as the NHL’s top regular-season team twice (2007-08 and 2005-06) and finished second in 2006-07, tying the Buffalo Sabres for first in points (113) but having three fewer wins. The team advanced to the Western Conference finals in 2006-07 before falling in six games to the eventual Stanley Cup champion Anaheim Ducks.

Also during that span, no NHL team has won more games (162) or earned more standings points (352) than Detroit. San Jose is third in points (314) and tied for third in wins (144) during that same span.

One of McLellan’s key responsibilities was working with the Red Wings' power play, which finished third in the NHL in 2007-08 (20.7%) and first in 2005-06 (22.1%).

“It’s a very good feeling,” McLellan said. “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 getter over the hump. There are some real parallels between the Wings and the Sharks.”

Prior to being hired in Detroit, McLellan spent four seasons as head coach of the Houston Aeros in the American Hockey League, including capturing the 2003 AHL Calder Cup championship. He also was selected to coach two AHL All-Star Games in his tenure with Houston. Under his guidance, McLellan led the Aeros to a 154-111-37-18 mark (.567 winning percentage).

In 2000-01, he served as the head coach of the Cleveland Lumberjacks of the International Hockey League, posting a 43-32-7 record.

From 1994-95 thru 1999-00, McLellan coached the Swift Current Broncos of the Western Hockey League, where he also served as general manager in his final four WHL seasons.  He was named WHL Coach of the Year in 2000 and WHL Executive of the Year in 1997.

In his 14 years of serving as a head and assistant coach, McLellan’s teams have never missed the postseason.

McLellan, a native of Melville, Saskatchewan, played his junior hockey with Saskatoon (WHL) and was drafted by the New York Islanders in the fifth round (106th overall) in the 1986 NHL Entry Draft. He played parts of two seasons with Springfield in the American Hockey League and played in five games with the Islanders in 1987-88, posting two points (one goal, one assist) before a shoulder injury ended his career.

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