Former Toronto Maple Leafs assistant coach D.J. Smith is the new head coach of the Ottawa Senators.
Smith signed a three-year contract with the club on Thursday. He replaces interim head coach Marc Crawford, who also interviewed for the position.
“D.J. Smith is a winner. We believe he is the best person to drive the development and success of the Ottawa Senators,” Senators general manager Pierre Dorion said 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.”
Guy Boucher was fired as Ottawa’s head coach last season, a year in which the Senators finished last in the NHL standings.
Smith, 42, spent the past four seasons as an assistant on Mike Babcock’s staff in Toronto.
Prior to that, the native of Windsor, Ont., guided the Ontario Hockey League’s Oshawa Generals for three years, capping that run with a Memorial Cup title in 2015. He also was named OHL coach of the year in 2013-14.
Before his time in Oshawa, Smith spent six seasons as an assistant coach with the OHL’s Windsor Spitfires, capturing back-to-back Memorial Cup titles in 2009 and 2010.
Smith played 45 career NHL games as a defenceman with the Toronto Maple Leafs and Colorado Avalanche.