By now you’re probably aware that now-former Oilers assistant coach Jay Woodcroft is headed to Bakersfield to become the head coach of the farm club. There’s no official replacement in Edmonton for Woodcroft, though there’s a significant chance it could be both former Flames head coach Glen Gulutzan and former Ducks assistant coach Trent Yawney.
Assistants Jim Johnson and Ian Herbers won’t be back with the club. Also, you’ve got another season of Todd McLellan in 2018-19.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN FOR THE OILERS?
Edmonton keeps their head coach for another year. If you’re convinced that Chiarelli was the problem last year, you’re probably OK with this. If you’re convinced that McLellan was the reason for last season, this probaby doesn’t sit well with you. They’re going to bring in a couple of assistants (all the Gulutzan and Yawney talk) and that’s what they’re going with in 2018-19. Someone had to take the brunt for such a disappointing season. It wasn’t going to be the GM or the Head Coach on this one, it’s the assistant coaches this time.
While I think panning the season on the assistant coaches passes the buck big time from Peter Chiarelli on down, the special teams were abysmal this season. Jay Woodcroft was the power play coach, and there’s real reason for him to be called to the carpet after a performance like we saw. To put it bluntly, the power play was an abject failure. I believe that’s as nice as anyone should be lawfully allowed to put it. It stunk, and it was more than worthy of Woodcroft to be jettisoned from the bench. The Oilers finished dead last in the league with a 14.8% success rate. It seems silly to keep pointing out that Connor McDavid is on this team and that the Oilers should be leading every statistical category that’s counted, but it’s the end of April. The Oilers are out of the playoffs for the eleventh year out of the last twelve, and the power play was worse than Ottawa, Buffalo or Arizona’s. That’s not good, which is why we’re here right now.
The penalty kill was often times historically poor this past season, but the Oilers were able to ratchet it up and finish at 25th in the league at 76.7%. Small victories.
While Jay Woodcroft may have been ‘relieved’ of his duties as an Oilers assistant coach, he now becomes the full time head coach of the farm club in Bakersfield. Like most of you, I’m stuck scratching my head as to why Woodcroft gets shuttled to the AHL after an outrageously poor season in Edmonton. I can’t imagine it’s going to get any easier for Woodcroft if he can’t orchestrate a power play with McDavid and Leon Draisaitl on it, but good luck to him all the same.
Tonight’s the draft lottery. The first twelve selections (15-4) will be selected prior to tonight’s Sharks / Golden Knights tilt. The ones that matter most (our time to shine) will air during the second intermission of that game. Get ready, Rasmus Dahlin. You will look great in orange.