Admirals Name Dean Evason As Their New Head Coach

Meet the new boss.

His name is Dean Evason.

Quick summary of his playing and coaching career up to this point:  He made his NHL playing debut as a member of the Washington Capitals in the 83-84 season.  After stays with Hartford, San Jose, and Dallas, he played his last NHL games as a Calgary Flame in the 95-96 season, before spending a few years playing in Europe.  He was even a teammate of Ads GM Paul Fenton for some time.

For those of you that like guys who aren’t afraid to throw down…. here’s an oldie but a goodie.

The year after his playing career ended, he started coaching in the WHL.  After stops in Kamloops, Vancouver, and Calgary (he coached Brodie Dupont there), he got his first NHL coaching gig with the team that originally drafted him — The Washington Capitals.  In the 05-06 season, he was an assistant under Head Coach Glen Hanlon.

He’s been there in that role ever since.

His first year was the same as a guy named Alexander Ovechkin.

Seven years with the same team as an assistant?  That was the 2nd longest assistant coach tenure with one team in the league….behind Peter Horachek in Nashville.

He was an assistant under three different head coaches in Washington.  To be retained by new leadership I think says something about how valuable he was to the team.  Bruce Boudreau could have cleaned house when he arrived, or during the following off-season.  Dale Hunter could have cleaned house when he arrived.  But Evason made himself essential.

Initially under consideration for the vacated coaching position in Washington, recent comments made by GM George McPhee made it sound like he wasn’t going to be a finalist. The case for Evason for that job?  Familiarity.  He’s paid his dues with the organization.  The case against him?  None of the last four Capital head coaches had previous NHL coaching experience.  The last one was Ron Wilson in 01-02.  Perhaps they’re looking to make that a pre-requisite.

Evason comes to Milwaukee with the experience of having coached some very different styles of hockey with the Caps over the last seven years, and it’ll be interesting to see whether the systems he will implement in Milwaukee will resemble any of the systems used in DC.  Plus he brings previous experience of coaching youngsters, and coaching some…we’ll say….interesting personalities.

Personally, I’m excited to see what he’ll be able to do with his own pro squad.  (Yes, I’m a Caps fan…and yes I’m trying my best not to let that cloud my judgement!).  Press conference tomorrow morning to introduce the new boss….what’s the over/under on number of times the phrase “The Road To Nashville Goes Through Milwaukee” will be spoken?

In the meantime, here are some old Evason clippings for your reading/viewing pleasure:

When Dean Evason Faced Sergei Fedorov – Washington Post

Face-Off With Captials’ Assistant Coach Dean Evason – Mount Vernon Patch

Mic’d Up With Dean Evason:  Alumni Game – Caps Website

5 thoughts on “Admirals Name Dean Evason As Their New Head Coach”

  1. This is a great hire by the Milwaukee Admirals, similar to the hire of Kirk Muller last season. Certainly, Dean Evason is a coach who has paid his dues as assistant, been successful as an assistant under several NHL head coaches. In hockey circles, he is starting to get his name linked to major openings.
    Like Muller and like Lambert, there was just one major piece missing from his resume, for Evason its head coaching experience at a professional level. He has some bench boss credentials from back in the WHL, but a successful stint in Milwaukee will no doubt help his cause.
    How long will Evason last? I guess that would depend on his success level, but like Muller I would expect this to be a launching pad hire. However, Muller was higher on teams’ list for potential coaches than Evason is at this point in their careers, so I doubt it would come so quickly.
    And Evason will have his work cut out for him in Milwaukee, as the veteran core looks to be undergoing extensive changes once again.
    Can he overachieve like his predecessors and get the most out of his players? Can he fill in the teaching gap left behind from the loss of Herbers?
    That remains TBD. All I can say is that Paul Fenton did it again, finding an excellent coaching candidate for Milwaukee.

  2. Jason — you snuck in that “O” word in there again….so I have sneak in my usual rebuttal. We must continue to agree to disagree about the “overachieving” of Admiral coaches….. A team that makes the playoffs ten straight seasons at this developmental level isn’t overachieving. That’s called success.

    Anyway….I’m excited to see what he’ll be able to do with what’ll be another young team next year — especially the mentoring he’ll be able to do with the young centermen on the team….Watson, Latta, Lajunen….start taking notes!

  3. I don’t want to get off track on the news of the day here, that once again Nashville’s brass, namely Paul Fenton and David Poile, found another gem to coach in Milwaukee. And for the second straight time, this was a not a diamond in the rough hire, but a rather high profile option.

    As for my overachieving arguments, I spelled them out pretty well in a previous post, so I have no intention of rehashing that. Has Milwaukee been a bunch of misfit toys turned into a winner by excellent coaches? Of course not. Certainly Nashville has put in place for the Admirals pieces and players capable of winning. But I think the level of coaching we’ve seen at the AHL level has been second to none in Milwaukee and all it takes is to view one practice.

    On pure talent alone there simply are going to be better organizations in the AHL. Having an NHL team that is playoff bound every year does not help stock a farm system. Having an NHL team that relies heavily on its system for internal replacements of talent does not help stock a farm system. Just look at the quality of players Nashville has had to replace in prior years, and Ryan Suter and Shea Weber might be next.

    I had these same questions with Kirk Muller going into last year, but I honestly knew a lot more about him and was 99% sure he would be a rock star at the AHL level. Turned out he was according to all of the rave reviews from his peers.

    Maybe its not “overachieving” per say, but its getting the most out of the players available. Milwaukee’s coaching staff has had an incredible knack for doing so, certainly to the point where it gets taken for granted. Can Evason continue the trend? I think Fenton found someone that can, but only time will tell.

  4. Chris Mueller signed 1 year, 2-way contract with Preds today!

    I think Evason is a good hire for coach. Will be interesting to see what kind of systems we’ll see this year.

  5. Is it too obvious to state that I would like to see a higher percentage on the power play?
    Welcome coach Evason!

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