Washington Capitals General Manager George McPhee said Thursday he doesn't expect to name a new head coach until after the 2012 NHL Draft, to be held June 22-23 in Pittsburgh.
The news came during McPhee's media availability to discuss the draft at Kettler Capitals Iceplex, the team's practice facility in Arlington, Va.
McPhee has been interviewing coaching candidates in the past month after Dale Hunter said he would not be returning behind the bench. The GM said assistant coaches Jim Johnson and Dean Evason will "probably not" return to the club in 2012-13, but "we'll see."
"It's been narrowed down a little bit," McPhee said. "We'll get there when we get there. I don't anticipate doing anything before the draft."
Devils GM Lou Lamoriello told the media Wednesday he hadn't received any confirmation that his assistant coaches were seeking a head coaching position.
The draft will take place at Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh.
"I think you want to make a real thoughtful decision and you have certain things in your mind of what you want in a coach," McPhee said. "When you do it in the summer, you just have more time. There's no need to set an artificial deadline to have it done before the draft or have it done by summer [development] camp."
McPhee pointed out that the Devils didn't hire Peter DeBoer until July 19, 2011.
"In terms of housekeeping, some people like to get it done before the draft," McPhee said. "But I just don't think it's that important. What's important is hiring the right person and really being able to come to your team with a terrific coach and knowing that you've really done a real comprehensive job in the summer talking to these people."
McPhee said he is very much considering keeping the No. 11 and No. 16 picks in the draft. He admitted he could get "difference-makers" with those picks.
The Caps will have multiple first-round picks for the fifth time in the past nine drafts. They have Colorado's choice at No. 11 and their own pick at No. 16. During the NHL Scouting Combine, Capitals director of amateur scouting Ross Mahoney told NHL.com this year's draft is deep in future talent.
"I think it's a pretty good year for all positions, especially when you're talking earlier in the draft," Mahoney said. "I think there are a lot of defensemen available, but when you're looking at the first round, there's good players at every position."
The Capitals obtained Colorado's first-round choice and their choice of either the Avs' second-round pick this year or in 2013 in the July 1, 2011 trade that sent goaltender Semyon Varlamov to Colorado.
The Capitals have until Friday to notify the Avalanche of their decision. McPhee wasn't ready to announce which pick his club would take. The Avs' second-round choice is the 54th pick that originally belonged to the Boston Bruins.
The Capitals also have two picks in the fourth round and two in the seventh.
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