The Edmonton Oilers (3-9-1) have decided to part ways with coach Jay Woodcroft and assistant Dave Manson after a tough start to the season.
The #Oilers announced today that head coach Jay Woodcroft & assistant coach Dave Manson have been relieved of their coaching duties.⁰
Hartford Wolf Pack head coach Kris Knoblauch will assume head coaching duties with the Oilers & will be joined by assistant coach Paul Coffey.
— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) November 12, 2023
The team announced the changes on Sunday, revealing that Kris Knoblauch from the AHL’s Hartford Wolf Pack will step in as the new head coach. Former Oilers ex-player Paul Coffey will join as an assistant.
Despite high hopes for a Stanley Cup run this season, the Oilers haven’t lived up to expectations. They suffered a loss to the struggling San Jose Sharks and managed to secure a win against the Seattle Kraken. However, their overall performance has left them second to last in the league with only seven points.
Last season, under Woodcroft’s leadership, the Oilers had a solid run with 109 points but fell short in the playoffs.
The team’s offensive strength, which topped the league in scoring, hasn’t translated well into the current season. Star players like Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl are not finding the net as often as last year.
Kris Knoblauch has been appointed as the replacement for Jay Woodcroft. The 45-year-old, who previously coached the New York Rangers’ AHL affiliate for four seasons, will be taking on his first NHL coaching role.
Knoblauch has a history with Oilers captain Connor McDavid, having coached him for three seasons (2012-15) at Erie in the Ontario Hockey League. During that time, McDavid delivered an impressive performance with 285 points (97 goals, 188 assists) in 166 games.
Despite being considered one of the Stanley Cup favorites at the beginning of the season, the Edmonton Oilers have faced a challenging start with a record of 2-9-1 through 12 games, ranking them as the second-worst team in the NHL. A significant source of frustration has been their goaltending situation.
The Oilers have struggled defensively, allowing an average of 4.17 goals per game with a team save percentage (SV%) of .860, the lowest in the league. The goaltending performance became so concerning that Jack Campbell was sent down to the AHL.
This unexpected struggle in the goaltending department has been a major factor in the Oilers’ disappointing start to the season. The decision to send Campbell to the AHL reflects the urgency to find a solution to the goaltending woes.
The coaching changes and potential adjustments to the roster will be closely watched as the Oilers aim to turn their season around. It remains to be seen how Knoblauch and Coffey’s presence will impact the team’s performance moving forward.