The Penguins have promoted Wilkes-Barre/Scranton head coach Todd Reirden to assistant coach in Pittsburgh, Executive Vice President and General Manager Ray Shero said today.
Mr. Reirden, 38, who was an NHL defenseman for parts of five seasons, will work closely with the Penguins' defensemen while reuniting 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 Mr. Bylsma served as Wilkes-Barre/Scranton head coach and Mr. Reirden was an assistant coach.
Mr. 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 Mr. Reirden -- in his first full season as head coach with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, led the young and inexperienced team to a 41-34-2-3 record, finishing third in the East Division, and a berth in the Calder Cup playoffs.
He joined the Penguins organization on August 18, 2008 as an assistant coach with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, but a few months later he was promoted to interim head coach following Mr. Bylsma's promotion to Pittsburgh in February 2009. Under Mr. 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, Mr. Reirden served as assistant coach with his alma mater Bowling Green in 2007-08. Mr. Reirden and Mr. Bylsma were teammates at Bowling Green during the 1990-91 and 1991-92 seasons.
The Deerfield, Ill. 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, Mr. 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.
"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," Mr. Bylsma said. "He's a valuable asset to our coaching staff."