The Pittsburgh Penguins have named assistant coaches Todd Reirden and Mike Vellucci, and signed goaltending coach Mike Buckley for a two-year contract extension, the executive vice president and executive vice president announced today. Managing Director Jim Rutherford.
Reirden, a native of Deerfield, Ill., Has spent the past six seasons on the coaching staff of the Washington Capitals, as a head coach for the past two seasons. He was an assistant coach from 2014 to 2016 and then associate coach from 2016 to 2018, where he helped the Capitals win their first Stanley Cup championship in franchise history in 2018.
Prior to his time in Washington, Reirden was an assistant coach for the Penguins from 2010 to 2014, where he took on a similar role, working with the team’s defenders and power play units. In his four seasons as an assistant coach for Pittsburgh, only the Washington Capitals (20.7%) and San Jose Sharks (20.5%) had better power-play success rates of 2010. -14 than the 20.3% of the Penguins.
Under the tutelage of Reirden, acting captain Kris Letang played among the best hockey players of his career. During the 2010-14 four-year span, Letang averaged 0.74 points per game, which is 0.08 more than his career average of 0.66. Letang has also been a plus-44 combined in those four seasons and was named a Norris Trophy finalist in 2012-13.
Prior to joining the Pittsburgh coaching staff, Reirden spent three years with the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins from 2008-2010 as an assistant coach and head coach.
Vellucci joins NHL club Pittsburgh after completing his first season as general manager and head coach of the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins, helping them reach a 29-26-3-5 record in 63 matches this year. In total, eight of Vellucci’s AHL-level players saw some action with Pittsburgh last season, including Sam Lafferty, Anthony Angello et Andrew Agozzino.
The Farmington, Mich. Native has spent the previous five seasons as assistant general manager and director of hockey operations for the Carolina Hurricanes where he oversaw player development and scouting. During the 2017-19 seasons, Vellucci was also the head coach of the Charlotte Checkers where he compiled a record 97-43-8-4 in 152 games.
Vellucci was instrumental in the success of Carolina’s organization in 2018-19, leading the Checkers to a Calder Cup championship after compiling the league’s best regular season record (51-17-7- 1) and won the Louis AR Pieri Memorial Award for AHL Coach of the Year.
Prior to working with the Hurricanes organization, Vellucci spent 14 seasons in the same dual role of general manager and head coach of the OHL Plymouth Whalers from 2001 to 2014. He became the first to receive the award. OHL Executive of the Year and the OHL Coach of the Year award in the same season in 2012-13. He also won the Coach of the Year award in the 2006-07 Whalers championship season.
Mike Buckley’s new two-year extension keeps him with the Penguins until the 2021-22 campaign concludes. The 43-year-old has spent the last three seasons in his current role as goaltending coach, and before that was Pittsburgh’s goaltending development coach from 2013 to 2017.
The Haverhill, Massachusetts native was instrumental in Matt Murraydevelopment, helping him become a two-time Stanley Cup goalie. In his two Stanley Cup races in 2016 and 2017, Murray had a combined 22-10 record with a 19.5 goals-against average and .928 save percentage with four shutouts.
Additionally, Buckley played a key role in the development of the goalie. Tristan jarry from an AHL goalie to a 2020 NHL all-star. In 2019-2020, Jarry set career highs in games played (33), wins (20), goals against average (2.43) ), save percentage (.921) and shutouts (3). He finished in the top 10 among all NHL goaltenders in save percentage (T-8), goals against average (9th) and shutouts (T-8).
The Penguins organization has started the search for the next Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins head coach.