All the signs were pointing in the direction of assistant coach Dean Evason leaving the Washington Capitals. General manager George McPhee said he and Jim Johnson “probably” would not return, making reference to them getting other chances.
“If they’re not going to be here then they need opportunities elsewhere before the doors close,” McPhee said last week.
Evason certainly got in before the doors closed, named Tuesday as head coach of the Milwaukee Admirals of the American Hockey League, the Nashville Predators’ top minor league affiliate.
“Dean Evason brings the knowledge, insight and expertise of 20 years of NHL playing and coaching experience to the organization, and we are excited to have him guiding our young players and prospects as our development coach,” Predators GM David Poile said in a statement. “Given his success working with a diverse group of players and coaches, and his ability to alter his style to their strengths, we feel our young players and prospects are in great hands.”
Evason spent seven years as a Caps assistant, spanning the tenures of Glen Hanlon, Bruce Boudreau and Dale Hunter. He declined comment last week about his future when it appeared certain he was out of the running to replace Hunter as Washington’s head coach.
This will be Evason’s first job as a head coach of a professional team. He was the head man for the Kamloops Blazers of the Western Hockey League for three seasons and then led the Vancouver Giants to WHL playoff appearances in both his years there.
It could be a major step toward an NHL head job for the 47-year-old. Kirk Muller coached the Admirals before he was hired by the Carolina Hurricanes last season.