The Vegas Golden Knights announced Tuesday that they have hired former Washington Capitals head coach Bruce Cassidy to lead their bench.
“The Golden Knights are very pleased to have Bruce come in to coach our team,” said Golden Knights General Manager Kelly McCrimmon said in a statement. “His success in Boston over six years is extremely impressive. His teams have had a clear identity, having been among the very best in the NHL in terms of goals for, goals against, goal differential and special teams. This is the right coach for our team at this time.”
“I am excited to join an organization that shares my commitment to winning and can’t wait to get to work with the talent that has been assembled in Vegas,” said Cassidy. “It’s been impressive to watch the city embrace the Golden Knights from afar, and my family and I look forward to becoming a part of that.”
The team fired Pete DeBoer on May 16 missing the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time in franchise history this past season.
After making the Western Conference Final in three of their first four seasons as an NHL franchise, including the 2018 Stanley Cup Final, the Golden Knights finished three points behind the Nashville Predators for the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference and five back of the Los Angeles Kings for the final postseason spot in the Pacific Division.
The team averaged 3.20 goals-per-game (12th in the NHL) and 2.98 goals-against per game (tied for 14th) this past season, when they were just 18.4% efficient on the power play (25th) and 77.4% successful on the penalty kill (21st).
The Golden Knights’ point-per-game leader from this past season in left-wing Max Pacioretty (0.95) was limited to just 39 games due to injury while captain Mark Stone (0.81 – tied for third) was held to just 37 and center Jack Eichel (0.74 – fifth) played in only 34. Left-wing Reilly Smith (56) and defenseman Alec Martinez (26) also missed large portions of the season.
Cassidy led the Boston Bruins to a 51-26-5 (.652 points percentage) record, sixth in the Eastern Conference, during the regular season. They finished three points behind the Tampa Bay Lightning for third place in the Atlantic Division and seven points ahead of the Washington Capitals for the first wild-card spot before falling to the Carolina Hurricanes in seven games during the first round.
Under Cassidy, the Bruins ranked first in goals-against per game (2.52) and third on both power play (23.9%) and penalty kill (82.9%).
In the regular season, Cassidy led Boston to 245-108-46 record (.672 points percentage) over parts of six campaigns, including a Presidents’ Trophy in the shortened 2019-20 slate. The Bruins were 36-37 (.493 winning percentage) in the postseason under Cassidy, including a seven-game loss in the 2019 Stanley Cup Final to the St. Louis Blues.
Before joining Boston as an assistant coach prior to the 2016-17 campaign, Cassidy spent five seasons (2011-16) as head coach of the organization’s AHL’s Providence Bruins. In Providence, he led the team to an overall record of 207-128-45 in 380 games and qualified for the Calder Cup Playoffs four times.
Cassidy went 47-47-9-7 in 110 games over two seasons behind the Capitals’ bench from 2002-04.
The Golden Knights finished the season 15-15-5 (.500 points percentage) in their last 35 games after leading the Pacific Division with a 28-16-3 (.622) on February 8.
The Bruins, Detroit Red Wings, Philadelphia Flyers, Winnipeg Jets, Edmonton Oilers, Chicago Blackhawks, Dallas Stars, and Florida Panthers are the only other teams currently without a head coach for next season.
Twenty years after Bruce Cassidy joined then-#ALLCAPS GM George McPhee as head coach in Washington, the two will reunite in Vegas
— Ben Raby (@BenRaby31) June 14, 2022
By Harrison Brown