The Edmonton Oilers are making a coaching change. Elliotte Friedman is reporting that the Oilers are relieving Jay Woodcroft of his duties as Head Coach. Despite the team’s recent victory against the Seattle Kraken, which many hoped would buy Woodcroft more time, the decision to part ways with Woodcroft comes at the end of the team’s current road trip.
Woodcroft’s tenure with the Oilers has been marked by significant success, boasting the fifth-highest number of wins in the NHL since his appointment. His regular-season record of 79-41-13 reflects an impressive .643 points percentage, the highest among any head coach in franchise history. And, despite guiding the Oilers to three playoff rounds in just two years, the recent string of disappointments and the team’s dismal 2-9-1 start to the current season prompted this coaching change.
While the Oilers were a much better team against Seattle on Saturday night, the decision had been clearly made prior go that game. The final blow came after the Oilers fell 3-2 to the San Jose Sharks on Thursday night, extending their losing streak to four games and deepening their struggles. This unfortunate stretch leaves the team with a 2-9-1 record through the first 12 games, marking one of the worst starts in franchise history and placing them at a daunting 14-point deficit in the Pacific Division standings.
Did Woodcroft Deserve to Be the Scapegoat Here?
Woodcroft becomes a casualty of the Oilers not meeting lofty expectations to start the season. This was a terrible start for the team and getting two out of six possible points on the road trip was not enough to keep his job secure. Woodcroft was asked about concerns he might lose his job and noted that he was only focused on the day to day. Still, he had to know he was on the hot seat.
Reports are now that Kris Knoblach will take over as head coach and Paul Coffey will join him as an assistant. Knoblauch was the head coach of the Hartford Wolfpack of the AHL. New Oilers’ CEO Jeff Jackson is said to be a huge advocate for Knoblach. Frank Seravalli writes:
Lots of people will say Kris Knoblauch lands in Edmonton because of Connor McDavid. But what is clear is #Oilers CEO Jeff Jackson has a big belief in Knoblauch. As agent, many of Jackson’s clients played for Knoblauch: McDavid, Connor Brown, Alex DeBrincat, Taylor and Darren…
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