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Kris Knoblauch Ramped Up for First Oilers Playoff Coaching Run

Edmonton Oilers head coach Kris Knoblauch makes NHL playoff debut after almost 9 years of coaching he holds quite the resume.

Edmonton Oilers Kris Knoblauch is about to enter his first-ever NHL playoff series as a head coach. After taking over the job midseason, Knoblauch led a struggling and disappointing Oilers team to an impressive 49-27-1 record. Ahead of Game 1, they enter as favorites over the Los Angeles Kings, but some rookie jitters are certainly present. Knoblauch has quite an impressive resume, but this is a different deal.

The Oilers entered the 2023–24 season with “Cup of bust” expectations. Unfortunately, the Oilers had a disastrous start. One month into the season, the Oilers were in 31st place with a horrendous 3-9-1 record. Understandably, the head coach at the time, Jay Woodcroft, was fired. The relatively inexperienced Knoblauch was given the gig. It didn’t take long for the Oilers to become one of the most dominant teams in the league.

Kris Knoblauch Edmonton Oilers

They finished first in the league for both points percentage (.703) and goal differential (+72). Similarly, they ended in second place in even-strength goals for percentage with a 56.97% since November 12th. Knoblauch’s message worked. The Oilers were in dire straits when he took the gig. He’s proven he can dig a team out of a hole. Can his messaging carry over when it matters most?

As the hours loom closer to puck drop on Monday, Knoblauch cannot deny the excitement. “I am looking forward to it. As the game gets closer, the excitement will ramp up. I’m sure it will be like my first NHL game; the emotions will be overwhelming, but once the game starts, I will calm down,” said the coach ahead of Game 1

Kris Knoblauch Does Have Playoff Experience

Prior to being the Oilers head coach, Knoblauch paid his dues and gained serious experience. He started his coaching career in the 2006-07 season with the WHL Prince Albert Raiders as an assistant coach. After five seasons as an assistant coach, he was named head coach of the WHL Kootenay Ice. Subsequently, he led them to a WHL championship in 2011.

Afterward, Knoblauch became the head coach of a familiar face in Connor McDavid. In November of the 2012–13 season, Knoblauch was hired as the head coach of the OHL Erie Otters. He coached McDavid for his entire OHL career and led them to an OHL championship in 2016–17. He was awarded the OHL Coach of the Year award in the 2015–16 season.

Knoblauch may not have NHL playoff experience, but his resume is no joke. What he’s done with the Oilers to date should be enough to calm his nerves and know his team has full confidence in his abilities.

Next: Lindy Ruff Hired Again by the Buffalo Sabres as Head Coach

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