Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville doesn’t expect to make coaching staff changes

Chicago will keep its current assistants.

One season after a first-round playoff exit led to dramatic roster and coaching staff changes, Chicago Blackhawks team president John McDonough has placed the responsibility of retaining assistant coaches to head coach Joel Quenneville.

The three-time Stanley Cup winning coach doesn’t expect to make any changes to his current staff, he told reporters Thursday. Quenneville’s comment comes after McDonough announced the Hawks would retain the head coach and general manager Stan Bowman for next season despite the team finishing last in the Central Division and missing the playoffs for the first time in nine years.

OK, maybe one change.

The Blackhawks fired assistant coach Mike Kitchen last April after they were swept as the top seed by the Nashville Predators. Kitchen had served as Quenneville’s right-hand man since 2010 and was also an assistant under Quenneville in St. Louis, where he became head coach in 2003 after the Blues fired Quenneville.

Chicago hired Ulf Samuelsson and Don Granato to replace Kitchen.

Samuelsson was the head coach of the Carolina Hurricanes’ AHL affiliate and led them to a 39-29-7-1 record with a 2017 Calder Cup Playoffs appearance. He also was previously an assistant with the Arizona (Phoenix) Coyotes (2006-11) and New York Rangers (2013-16). Granato, a Downers Grove, Illinois native, was an associated coach with the University of Wisconsin men’s team before joining the Hawks. He also was the head Coach with the U.S. National Team Development Program.