LA Kings' Major Coaching Mistake Isn't About Jim Hiller

The Los Angeles Kings' top brass continues to make baffling decisions.
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After the LA Kings fired Todd McLellan mid-season, they decided to finish out the season by promoting assistant coach Jim Hiller to interim head coach. Hiller did a solid job keeping the team together in the second half of the season, going 21-12-1 and making the playoffs. The result in the postseason was the same as the previous two seasons: a desultory first-round loss to the Edmonton Oilers.

Following the loss, the Kings gave Hiller a three-year extension and removed his interim tag. Whether or not Hiller can be a good head coach remains to be seen, but the decision-making process behind this hire is emblematic of what has ailed the Kings over the last seven years.

The problem is the front office, and without addressing that, all these other moves don't matter.

Kings News: Jim Hiller Gets Three-Year Deal As New Head Coach

Ever since the Kings won the Stanley Cup in 2014, it has been a rough stretch. They haven't won a playoff series since then and general manager Rob Blake has played a major role in that.

Blake is the sixth-longest tenured GM in the league, having just finished his seventh season. Four of the five general managers that have been there longer have made a Stanley Cup Finals during their tenure. Kings, on the other hand, hasn't even sniffed the second round in the meantime.

The questionable moves he has made during this stretch are a big reason why. In the 2023 offseason, Blake pulled off a shocking trade for Pierre-Luc Dubois in exchange for Gabriel Vilardi, Alex Iafallo, and Rasmus Kupari, and gave him an eight-year, $68 million contract. Unsurprisingly for everyone not named Rob Blake, this move proved to be a complete disaster.

The most obvious team need was a goalie upgrade and defensive improvement. What did Blake do instead? Trade for a draft bust of a forward.

Blake has built this team and done so with big, irreversible moves. On top of it all, the team is capped out without much flexibility.

And now, he gets to hire another head coach? Did the ownership not learn anything after they let Blake hire Todd McLellan, a coach notorious for struggling in the playoffs?

Now, they are giving Hiller a multi-year deal while the right move is clearly to get rid of Blake and Marc Bergevin, hire a new general manager, and let him hire the head coach. If the Kings decide to move on from Blake in the next few years, Hiller will become a lame duck, further complicating the situation. Tough times in Los Angeles.