It sounds like the Oil Kings have found a new coach. Sources have told me that Bob Green is close to finalizing a deal with former NHLer, Derek Laxdal.
Laxdal played 67 games in the show between the Leafs and Islanders, after a solid WHL career with the Brandon Wheat Kings that included a 61-goal campaign in 1985.
After retiring, Laxdal became an assistant coach with Odessa in the CHL for two seasons, before getting the head coaching gig in Wichita for three seasons. He has spent the last five seasons as the bench boss of the Idaho Steelheads in the ECHL.
In five years the Steelheads were a dominating 217-108-35 under Laxdal, and won the Championship in 2007.
Laxdal is a very competitive coach, and brings a lot of fire and passion I’m told.
He interviewed in Peoria for the vacant AHL job and I’d heard the Manitoba Moose was kicking some tires as well. Laxdal was sought after by a few teams and looks to be a solid hire for the Oil Kings.
ONLY OILERS COACHES LEFT
After deciding to let Rob Daum go, Steve Tambellini will now focus on the Oilers coaching staff and finding Daum’s replacement. I don’t see Kelly Buchberger going back to the AHL at this point.
The issue with Wayne Fleming and Kelly Buchberger is if the organization decides to go in a different direction it will be hard for either Bucky or Fleming to get another job. It won’t be impossible, but the options will be limited.
My biggest beef with the Daum decision is that Daum will have a hard time finding another job. Minor league coaches don’t have the luxury of having millions/thousands stashed away so they can sit around for a year without working. Daum, like most of us, needs to work to pay the bills and now it’s June 15th and he doesn’t have a job.
I don’t have a massive problem with Tambellini deciding to go with another coach. That’s his prerogative, but I don’t get why he waited so long to let Daum know. Had he told Daum even a few weeks ago that he wouldn’t be back, Daum could have applied for the Oil Kings gig and some of the vacant AHL openings. That won’t happen now.
If the same happens to Fleming and Buchberger it won’t look good on the Oilers.
It sounds like the Oilers are close to filling the void left by Kevin Prendergast’s departure and Scott Bonner is the leading candidate. Bonner, the current GM of the Vancouver Giants should be named the new Assistant GM of the Oilers, and will likely be in charge of the OKC franchise.
Bonner is highly regarded in the hockey world, and should bring a new energy and insight to the organization. Originally the Oilers wanted the OKC GM to live and work out of Oklahoma City, but some candidates were lukewarm to that idea and the Oilers might be willing to allow the GM to commute to OKC.
The Summer of Steve is getting busier by the day, and Bonner should be a solid addition to the organization. The Oilers are in dire need of some new blood and new philosophies and Bonner will bring that.