NHL

Kings begin coaching search after letting go of Desjardins

LOS ANGELES (AP) The Los Angeles Kings said Sunday that Willie Desjardins is not a candidate to become the next head coach after serving in an interim role for most of the season.

"We thanked Willie Desjardins for his effort and dedication while serving as our interim head coach," general manager Rob Blake said. "We wish Willie and his family nothing but the best going forward. The process for hiring our next head coach is underway and we look forward to conducting a thorough search for the right person to lead our team."

Desjardins said after Saturday's 5-2 victory over the Vegas Golden Knights that he was going to enjoy the win and worry about his coaching future in the coming weeks.

"It was an honor to coach the team and be a great part of it," he said. "We went into some tough situations and got some wins."

The Kings were 27-34-8 under Desjardins, who was hired on Nov. 4 as the interim coach after John Stevens was fired 13 games into the season.

Los Angeles - which is missing the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the third time in five seasons - finished last in the Western Conference with 71 points and had the second-fewest points in the NHL. It is the Kings' lowest point total since 2007-08, when they also had 71 points and tied Tampa Bay for the NHL's worst mark.

The Kings will have three of the first 35 picks in the draft. They have a 13.5% chance of landing the top overall pick when the draft lottery is held on Wednesday in Toronto.

Desjardins previously coached the Vancouver Canucks for three seasons (2014-17), where he had a 109-110-27 record. He also coached Team Canada at the 2018 Olympics.

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Updated April 7, 2019