I received a message from one of my sources a couple days ago telling me that the Oilers will be going with a different head coach and GM in 2018/19. Whatever power struggle is going on between McLellan and Chiarelli has come to a head and Nicholson/Gretzky have had enough.
So those of you that have criticized the Oilers in the past for not doing an “exhaustive search” can rest easy because they’ve been talking to potential candidates for over a month now.
Now you can take that info to the bank or you can laugh it off. No skin off my back. I just share what I’ve been passed along BUT keep in mind anything can happen between now and this summer including the Oilers going on a ridiculous run that would save the jobs of everyone involved.
First off, I’m not part of the fanbase who believe the Oilers should let either the coach or the GM go but I do think it’s inevitable that one of them is axed this summer.
If I had to pick a reason though for each of Chiarelli and McLellan to be let go, they’d be the following:
- Chiarelli – His inability to make changes to the coaching staff this season has been staggering. I know he’s loyal to his head coaches but the special teams this season has murdered the Oilers in the standings. You can argue all you want about leaving the team shorthanded but the Oilers have beat really good teams this year with this roster.
- McLellan: We come back to special teams. They’ve been atrocious. His selective stubbornness with roster selections and line combos baffles me to this day. If the reports of his staff not changing anything up at the practices are true, then he’s lost the plot and doesn’t have the creativity to work with this group.
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With that said, who do you think would make a good coach for the Oilers and likewise, who’d be a hire at the GM’s position that you’d support. Here are a few candidates I thought of:
- Head Coach: Dave Tippet, Darryl Sutter, Joel Quenneville, Ken Hitchcock, Derek Laxdal, Rocky Thompson, Sheldon Keefe, and Todd Nelson.
Tippet did wonders with not very much in Arizona for many years. Sutter turned the Kings into Cup contenders AND winners but is his style of hockey conducive to winning in today’s NHL? I don’t think you can argue with the credentials that multiple Stanley Cup-winning coach Joel Quenneville would bring to the table IF Chicago decides to move in a different direction next season.
OR should the Oilers go shopping in the AHL? Laxdal (Former Edmonton Oil Kings head coach who won 2 WHL championships with the Oilers current director of player personnel, Bob Greene) and Keefe’s teams are at the top of their divisions in the AHL. Rocky Thompson seems like the new Dallas Eakins, and Todd Nelson had a marginally successful experience when he worked in the Oilers’ organization previously.
Would hiring a Laxdal, Thompson, or Nelson be too nepotistic though?
Or maybe Paul Coffey is the guy coming into run the show? That’s what Glenn Healy said recently…
- GM: Julien Brisbois, Paul Fenton, Dean Lombardi, Bill Guerin, Ken Holland, Keith Gretzky
Brisbois is surely being courted by the Montreal Canadiens and Fenton will be GM-ing with one of the teams who haven’t offered their current GM a new deal for next season. Please forgive me but I can’t seem to find the current GMs that are going into next season without a contract though. I want to say Vancouver and Detroit are two of them.
I’ve tossed Dean Lombardi’s name out there on Twitter but it seems a lot of people would be against that because of the loyalty-contracts he handed out to guys like Mike Richards and Marian Gaborik. He’s a champ though but would the Oilers just be following the same recipe used to hire the current regime if they hired Lombardi and Sutter?
Another name that has been tossed out is Bill Guerin but he’s a former Oiler… So maybe cross his name off of the list despite him running the show for Pittsburgh’s farm team which is currently in 2nd place in its division and Guerin actually being considered for the GM’s position in Buffalo. He’s actually got a very well known reputation for being an extremely hard worker and for having an outstanding eye for talent. But he’s an old Oiler, so no thanks, right?
Then there’s Ken Holland. He hasn’t had much to write home about in recent years but he IS the guy that built those great Detroit Red Wings teams in the late 90s and well into the 2000s. Lots of experience and connections with Holland. He DID train Steve Yzerman afterall…
It’s such a hard decision, right?
I’m not sure if the next coach should be one that coddles the players though. I wouldn’t mind one that placed an emphasis on defense either. I reckon Ken Hitchcock could walk in and turn these boys around in record time though.
As for GM, I like either Ken Holland or Bill Guerin. I believe a Holland/Hitchcock duo would work well together given their history with Hockey Canada. OR perhaps a Guerin/Quenneville duo?
What are your thoughts?
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