The Ottawa Senators hired D.J. Smith as head coach on Thursday.
The 42-year-old former Toronto Maple Leafs assistant signed a three-year contract and replaces interim coach Marc Crawford.
“D.J. Smith is a winner. We believe he is the best person to drive the development and success of the Ottawa Senators,” said general manager Pierre Dorion in a statement. “D.J is a great communicator and an exceptional strategist. His passionate approach, coupled with his ability to teach the game, is exactly what we were looking for throughout the process. We’re thrilled to welcome D.J. and his family to Ottawa.”
Smith has been an assistant in Toronto since the 2015-16 season. Before that, he coached the Ontario Hockey League’s Oshawa Generals to the 2015 Memorial Cup.
A second-round draft pick by the New York Islanders in 1995, Smith played in 45 games in parts of three seasons with the Maple Leafs (1996-97, 1999-2000) and the Colorado Avalanche (2002-03). A defenseman, he tallied one goal and one assist.
Crawford, who also interviewed for the position, took over in March after the firing of Guy Boucher.
The Senators (29-47-6) posted the NHL’s worst record in 2018-19 and missed the playoffs for the third time in four years.
Others reportedly considered for the job included Hall of Fame goaltender Patrick Roy, Providence College coach Nate Leaman, AHL Belleville coach Troy Mann and former Senators coaches Jacques Martin and Rick Bowness.
–Field Level Media