As the internal coaching carousel for the Pittsburgh Penguins continues, they have again opted to promote one of their own. Following the dismissal of Mike Sullivan’s entire staff- Sergei Gonchar, Jacques Martin, and Mark Recchi – the Penguins brought back Todd Reirden following his dismissal as head coach of the Washington Capitals and promoted AHL head coach Mike Vellucci. In need of a new head coach for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins to replace Vellucci, the club announced today that assistant J.D. Forrest has been promoted to head coach. The team’s release also revealed that Assistant GM Jason Karmanos has been named the GM for the AHL Penguins. The new WBS GM had this to say about his new head coach:
J.D. has done an excellent job in his four seasons as an assistant coach in Wilkes-Barre, consistently demonstrating a strong ability to develop the young defensemen in our system. His familiarity with the organization, our prospects and the style of hockey we want to play, together with his work ethic and team-first approach, gives us confidence that he will excel in his new role as head coach.
Forrest, 39, has been with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton since the 2016-17 season, focusing on the team’s defensemen and the penalty kill. Prior to joining the Penguins, he was the head coach of Red Bull Salzburg in the Austrian U-20 league and before that an inter assistant coach with the U.S. National Team Development Program. Forrest was a product of the USNTDP himself before playing four seasons at Boston College and nine pro seasons in the U.S., Finland, Switzerland, Sweden, and Germany. A well-traveled player and coach, especially fotr his young age, Forrest brings a broad array of experience to his first head coaching position at the pro level and could have a bright future ahead of him.