The Pittsburgh Penguins went through a long extensive coaching search and in the end, the team settled for an in-house candidate.
This afternoon, the team announced Wilkes Barre/Scranton head coach Todd Reirden has been promoted to assistant coach.
Reirden, who was an NHL defenseman for parts of five seasons, will work closely with the Penguins’ defensemen.
The team interviewed over 12 candidates but head coach Dan Bylsma went with the candidate he felt most comfortable with and who Bylsma regarded as the most qualified.
“We interviewed between 10 and 15 candidates and conducted an extensive search, and the most qualified coach was in our organization the whole time,” Bylsma said. “Todd and I have developed a strong working relationship, which started when we played college hockey together at Bowling Green and continued in our time together in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. He’s a valuable asset to our coaching staff.”
Reirden, 38, reunites with Penguins head coach Dan Byslma. The two worked together in a similar capacity in 2008-09 with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, Pittsburgh’s top minor-league affiliate in the American Hockey League, when Bylsma served as WBS head coach and Reirden was an assistant coach.
Reirden was also part of the Penguins’ extended coaching staff during the team’s run to the Stanley Cup championship in 2009. He was the Penguins’ ‘eye in the sky’ watching games from the media level and then reporting to the coaching staff via headset and during intermissions.
Last year Rierden, in his first full season as head coach with WBS, led the young and inexperienced team to an impressive 41-34-2-3 record, finishing third in the East Division, and a berth in the Calder Cup playoffs.
Reirden joined the Penguins organization on August 18, 2008 as an assistant coach WBS, but a few months later he was promoted to interim head coach following Bylsma’s promotion to Pittsburgh in February 2009. Under Reirden’s guidance, the club finished the season with a 14-9-3 mark in the final 26 games of the regular season and placed third in the East Division. The Penguins defeated Bridgeport in five games in the opening round of the AHL playoffs before falling short in seven games to eventual Calder Cup champion Hershey.
Before joining the Penguins, Reirden served as assistant coach with his alma mater Bowling Green in 2007-08. Reirden and Bylsma were teammates at Bowling Green during the 1990-91 and 1991-92 seasons.
The Deerfield, Illinois native played 13 professional seasons as a defenseman before retiring after the 2006-07 campaign with the Graz EC of the Austrian Hockey League.
After being selected by the New Jersey Devils in the 12th round (242nd overall) of the 1990 NHL Entry Draft, Reirden appeared in 183 NHL games with Edmonton, St. Louis, Atlanta and Phoenix between 1998 and 2004. He totaled 46 points (11G-35A) and 181 penalty minutes during his NHL career. The blueliner saw action in 533 additional games in the AHL, IHL and ECHL during his career.