Jun 19, 2012, 5:16 PM EST
The longest-tenured coach on Washington’s staff is officially gone.
Dean Evason, a Capitals assistant since 2005, has been hired by the Nashville Predators to coach their AHL affiliate in Milwaukee.
The hire comes just days after Caps GM George McPhee speculated that Evason and fellow assistant Jim Johnson were unlikely to return to Washington for the 2012-13 season.
It remains unclear why the Caps wanted to sever ties with both assistants, though in Evason’s case it might’ve been an opportunity issue. He obviously was out of consideration for the Capitals head coaching gig and, since he’s never held a head coaching position at the professional level, might have figured being the boss at the AHL level was better than being someone’s right-hand man (again) at the NHL level.
As far as stepping stones go, Milwaukee is a good one.
Two ex-coaches since 2003 — Claude Noel and Kirk Muller — are now head coaches at the NHL level with Winnipeg and Carolina, respectively.
It’s no surprise the Nashville organization targeted Evanson to be the next Admirals head coach. Preds GM David Poile drafted Evason in 1982 when Poile was the Caps GM and Evason a scoring sensation with the Kamloops Junior Oilers.
Evason also has a tight relationship with Preds assistant GM Paul Fenton, the man primarily responsible for the hire. The two were teammates together in Hartford during the mid-80s.
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