Hiller had been coach of the Tri-City Americans of the Western Hockey League since the 2009-10 season. In 2011-12 he won the WHL coach of the year award and the Brian Kilrea Award as coach of the year in the Canadian Hockey League.
"It's awfully exciting," Hiller told MLive.com. "I spent a lot of time in juniors, always with an eye on the NHL. Had a chance to start discussing with Mike about the opportunity and couldn't be happier that my first opportunity is with a guy like Mike. I don't know if there's any better guy to start with."