Jay Woodcroft fired by Edmonton Oilers

Mired in a 3-9-1 slump to begin the season, the Edmonton Oilers have fired head coach Jay Woodcroft and assistant coach Dave Manson. They announced that Kris Knoblauch, head coach of the Hartford Wolf Pack, will step in as interim head coach.

How did Jay Woodcroft do in Edmonton?

Jay Woodcroft was hired as the replacement for Dave Tippett in the middle of the 2021-22 season. Woodcroft took a middle-of-the-road Oilers team to their first Western Conference Final since 2006, finishing 49-27-6. One year later, he would guide them to their first 50-win season since 1987. The end to their season was far more sour, a six-game defeat at the hands of Vegas.

Woodcroft finished with a record of 79-41-13 in the regular season and a 14-14 playoff record. Considering how the Oilers have been since the turn of the millennium, that may be the best stretch of hockey they’ve played in a long time. That said, with generational players like Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl on the same team, expectations are high. Any year that does not end with them hoisting the Stanley Cup is considered a failure.

Woodcroft oversaw two great seasons of hockey, but the NHL is a “what have you done for me lately” league. Lately, Jay Woodcroft has seen this Oilers team fall off a ravine. A 3-9-1 record with a team that was largely the same from last year’s is unacceptable.

What is Kris Knoblauch’s resume?

Kris Knoblauch has coaching experience in junior, minor, and major leagues. Before coaching the Hartford Wolf Pack, he was an assistant coach with the Philadelphia Flyers for two seasons: 2017-18 and 2018-19. That is his only coaching experience at the NHL level. Prior to jumping to the big leagues, he was the head coach of the Erie Otters of the OHL from 2012 to 2017. In his final year, his Otters won the J. Ross Robertson Cup, featuring players such as Alex DeBrincat, Dylan Strome, Anthony Cirelli, Erik Cernak, and current Oiler Warren Foegele. One more player he coached during his time in Erie? Connor McDavid. Can he translate his coaching skills to the NHL level?

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