Might the most significant free agent signing for the Edmonton Oilers this off-season be an undersized, 51-year-old left winger from Moosomin, Saskatchewan? Could be, if the Phoenix Coyotes don’t get Dave Tippett’s name on a contract.
With much speculation about the future of Tom Renney making the rounds because he doesn’t yet have a new contract with the Oilers – rumor is he won’t get one – it’s worth noting that Tippett does not have ink done on a new deal with the Coyotes, as Jason Gregor pointed out on his show on TEAM 1260 today. Given Tippett’s resume and his record in stints behind the bench with Dallas and Phoenix, that seems odd.
If the Oilers have indeed decided not to offer Renney a new contract, as opposed to holding off on an announcement until GM Steve Tambellini’s new deal is made official, and Daryl Katz does end up in the market for a new bench boss, Tippett should be at the top of his list.
In nine seasons as head coach in Dallas and Phoenix, Tippett has compiled a record of 401-233-28 -70 for a points-percentage of .615. In those nine seasons, Tippett’s teams have missed the playoffs just once – the 2008-09 edition of the Stars managed that, resulting in Tippett being fired and landing in the Valley of the Sun. Tippet was voted the Jack Adams Award as coach of the Year in 2010 after leading the Coyotes to a 107-point season.
There might be an NHL coach out there who has done more with less than Tippett has in Phoenix, but I’m hard-pressed to name him. Can you think of an NHL bench boss who has squeezed more out of the rosters he’s had than Tippett? Barry Trotz in Nashville, maybe? The list is short.
Might Tippett be growing weary of the uncertainty surrounding the Phoenix franchise? Might he be willing to entertain offers from teams like the Oilers? Might he be interested in plying his trade in a hockey-mad city with a roster full of young, promising players? Might he have a new deal with Phoenix in his back pocket that just hasn’t been announced?
I don’t know the answers to those questions. But if I’m Katz or Tambellini or president of hockey operations Kevin Lowe and a decision to move on from Renney has been made, I’m getting on the phone and finding out the second Tippett is officially available.
Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TEAM 1260.