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Penguins name Todd Reirden and Mike Vellucci as assistant coaches, extend the contract of Mike Buckley

Mike Sullivan will have some new assistants alongside him.

Tampa Bay Lightning v Pittsburgh Penguins

The Penguins announced Wednesday morning that they have hired assistant coaches for Mike Sullivan.

Former Penguins assistant coach Todd Reirden will oversee the defense and power-play. for the team, while Mike Vellucci will coach the forwards and penalty kill.

Reirden was recently fired as head coach of the Washington Capitals, after spending 2010-2014 as an assistant coach with the Penguins under Dan Bylsma. Reirden will take back over the Pens’ power play group, the same group he was in charge of and led to a 20.3% conversion rate from 2010-14 (third best in league). Pittsburgh’s power play was 16th in the league last season (though it was 19.9%).

Reirden served as assistant coach on the Caps in 2018 for their Stanley Cup, and then got promoted to the head coach role for the last two seasons before being fired after playoff disappointments. He’s seemed to be regarded as a good coach and guy, but better suited for the assistant role rather than being an NHL head coach.

Vellucci is still fairly new to the Penguins organization, having been named head coach of the AHL Wilkes-Barre/Scranton team last summer. Before joining the Penguins organization, Vellucci spent several years in the Carolina Hurricanes organization overseeing player development and scouting.

Goaltender coach Mike Buckley was also given a two-year contract extension. The Penguins announced that news on Wednesday as well. Buckley has been the Penguins goaltending coach for three years.

The Penguins announced that a search has begun for the next head coach of the AHL team.