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Oilers Name Two Assistant Coaches

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Todd McLellan's coaching staff starts to take shape.

Three of these guys in suits work for the Oilers now.
Three of these guys in suits work for the Oilers now.
Bob Stanton-USA TODAY Sports

The Edmonton Oilers official twitter account announced the hiring of Jay Woodcroft and Jim Johnson as assistant coaches.

Information regarding both men can be found via the Oilers official press release, but to save you a click:

Woodcroft, 38, has spent the past five seasons as an Assistant Coach with the San Jose Sharks and has served as an Assistant Coach in the National Hockey league for eight seasons.

Johnson, 52, has spent the last three seasons as an Assistant Coach with the San Jose Sharks. He has also served as an Assistant Coach for the Washington Capitals and Tampa Bay Lightning, as well as the interim Head Coach with the Phoenix Coyotes in 1999-’00.

Both men come to Edmonton having served as McLellan's assistants in San Jose.  Woodcroft was rumored to be joining McLellan all along after serving on his staff at the recent IIHF World Championships.

My understanding is that Woodcroft will run the forwards and Jim Johnson will run the defense, which is interesting when you think about how San Jose handled Brent Burns over the last two years.  Last year he was a highly effective forward who controlled the shot share battle.  This season he was an all-star because of his offense, but some circles in San Jose were questioning his ability to defend.  I wonder how much influence a guy like Jim Johnson had - or even Todd McLellan had - over these decisions.  This article makes it seem like Wilson was the architect of it all, but we can only speculate from here. Something to consider perhaps, with at least some sections (OK, at least one for sure) of the Copper and Blue having wanted to see a guy like Justin Schultz try wing for some time.  I mean, he plays defense like a winger anyway.

San Jose's regular season record under McLellan, Woodcroft, and Johnson?  116-71-25 with a points percentage of 60.61% - good for 8th best in the league over the last three years.  By contrast?  Edmonton went 72-111-30 with a points percentage of 41.03% - good for 29th.

This is another positive front office move by the Oilers this summer.  Finally, a new coach is given full autonomy over his assistants, something that's more novel than it should be 'round these parts.  The Oilers coaching staff is essentially starting from scratch heading into the new year, but it's still unknown as to what will happen to a guy like Rocky Thompson, who the Oilers brought into the fold in 2014.  Either way, the summer of change continues.  Happy McDavid's Eve.