Oilers fire Frederic Chabot, hire Dustin Schwartz

Chabot, Frederic

The Edmonton Oilers made a coaching change on Monday, but perhaps not the one that might have been expected. Goaltending coach Frederic Chabot was dismissed from his position, suffering the consequences of his charges collapsing in consecutive seasons.

Paying the Price

Devan Dubnyk2

Chabot, a journeyman goalie in his playing days who broke into coaching over in Europe, was originally hired by the Oilers in the summer of 2009. He’d had a brief coaching career but would have been familiar to then-general manager Steve Tambellini from his work with Hockey Canada as a goalie consultant. 

Devan Dubnyk credited Chabot with helping him develop into an NHL goaltender, and Dubnyk made big strides as a prospect under Chabot’s watch. Ilya Bryzgalov was impressed with him in his early time with Edmonton after being signed as a free agent. 

With that said, for two straight seasons now goalies with reasonably strong track records have imploded under Chabot’s watch. The 2013-14 tandem of Dubnyk and Jason LaBarbera were not world-beaters, but both had a track record of success and both eventually fell to the AHL. Dubnyk struggled for the entirety of last season but has recovered nicely in Arizona this season.

In 2014-15 another untested tandem (with strong but brief track records), was tried and the results were the same. This time it was Ben Scrivens (brilliant in Los Angeles and after coming over to Edmonton in trade) and Viktor Fasth (who had previously come very close to supplanting Jonas Hiller in Anaheim) who saw their careers take a nosedive. 

With four failures in the NHL level in a row, with top prospect Laurnet Brossoit struggling in the minors and with Dubnyk putting it all behind him with the Coyotes, Chabot’s track record made his firing entirely justifiable.

The New Guy

Brossoit, Laurent

Dustin Schwartz comes to the Oilers from the affiliated Oil Kings of the WHL. The 35-year-old has been with the team since 2010 (according to Elite Prospects) and in that time has worked most notably with Brossoit and Pittsburgh Penguins’ prospect Tristan Jarry.  

It’s extremely difficult to speak one way or the other as to Schwartz’s qualifications from this vantage point. The Oil Kings have certainly had respectable goaltending in his time with the team, so that’s a strong point on his resume.

It’s significant that he’s an in-house hire, which is both good and bad. It’s good in that the people who hired him know exactly what they’re getting and he’ll have some familiarity with the organization (and of course with Brossoit). It’s bad in that looking in-house often means that a thorough outside search for the best available candidate may not have been conducted.

On balance it’s hard to blame the Oilers for concluding that they needed to do something at this position. A year ago Craig MacTavish decided to go out and find different players given the struggles of Dubnyk and LaBarbera, but when four goaltenders in a row see their careers dip the longer they are with the Oilers it becomes increasingly difficult to put the blame on the men between the pipes. 

RECENTLY BY JONATHAN WILLIS

  • Chainsawz

    About time. With that said, I wish Chabot well and better circumstances in his next stop in hockey.

    Goaltending can’t get worse than it has been the last 2 seasons so even if the change is nill it does send the message that results matter to those in the organization that are being judged on results.

    Till the whole organization from top to bottom is judged on results however, I don’t see much changing…

  • MorningOwl

    if the message intended by management is that scapegoats will be sacrificed in lieu of real change or accountability, then message receive loud and clear!

  • Micbilly99

    K Lowe apologists say “If you fire Lowe it doesn’t improve your team.”

    No kidding.Of course It doesn’t improve your team tomorrow. If you quit smoking your risk of heart attack doesn’t decrease right away but over the course of a few years you get healthier.

    “Kevin Lowe doesn’t run the team Craig McTavish does.”

    OK let’s say that’s true. Given the challenges MacTavish is facing could he not use a little help right now? If Lowe’s only job with the team is as Darryl Katz’ travel agent then why not bring in an experienced POHO who can roll up his sleeves and bring in a fresh perspective to consult MacTavish? Even if you mandate he can’t fire MacTavish until after next season if the team hasn’t improved it can do nothing but help.

    It’s not a “sacrificial lamb to appease the fans” situation. it’s about bringing in some new ideas.

  • Rust In Peace

    As a Flames fan its easy for me to come troll and kick you when you’re down. It’s also easy for me to take the high road a sympathize with your plight, as my team is playing well and the fans are elated.

    Why is it that so many people inside and outside of the hockey world knew that the Oilers were “wandering the desert”? I have many friends that are Oiler fans and they all wholeheartedly supported to the tank mode and FULLY supported the management of this team, and all they needed was a few flashes-in-the-pan. I used to laugh and ask where their defense and goal-tending was going to come from and how the ego of this team’s management is going to be it’s downfall(Oilchange anyone lol). My friends are diehards and just seeing them all depressed and passively watching hockey games isn’t as fun as i thought it’d be.

    The fans hold all the power. Say what you want about Bettman but there’s no way he would let Katz relocate the Oilers, especially with a (govenment funded)new arena on the way. Arrange walk-outs, chants, boycotts… get organized! This is unacceptable and no team’s fan base deserves this crap (not even Oiler fans).

    • mesa

      dear flames fan and other canadian based teams fans.we know that the oilers are baaad.very very very bad.so please stop giving us advises and lectures about how bad the oilers are.the last time a canadian team won a cup was 25 years ago.unless your hawks fan and kings fan off off.

  • Spiel

    Notice that Dubnyk’s SV% start to dip starting with the 2013-14 season. His previous “good” years were all under Chabot.
    Other goalies come in and are equally bad in Edmonton starting with the 2013-14 season.

    The season that Eakins started, the oilers team sv% dropped and has continued to be down.

    Chabot may be somewhat responsible, but at least he can point to having had some success in developing Dubnyk until Eakins and Mac-T came along.

  • Spiel

    Lowe has switched;

    The head scout

    The training staff,

    The Head Coach (es)

    The assistant coaches

    The General Manager

    The Capologist

    The goalie coach

    Hmmmm who is left…….

    If I was an upper deck usher I would be looking for
    a new part time gig.

    The fault finger might be pointed at you.

  • Sean17

    Meanwhile in the Oilers office:

    And they obviously had an exhaustive search to find a goalie coach.. I see it going something like this.

    MacT: Damn, we need to fire someone after last night.

    Eakins: Better not be me! Look what you’ve given me to work with!

    MacT: Don’t worry Dallas, that would make me look like a fool for hiring a rookie coach. You’re good buddy!

    Eakins: Well then who?

    MacT: Hmmm what about Chabot, everyone’s been bitching about him lately?

    Eakins: Great idea! But who do we get to replace him?

    Mact: Good question, excuse me I have to go to the bathroom

    **MacT walks down hall and see Schwartz**
    MacT: Hey Schwartz… you’re a goalie coach right?

    Schwartz: Yeah, have been for 2 years now!
    MacT: You’re in bud!

    • PutzStew

      Oh man have I thought about this. Loui erikkson got them seguin? I know he was good and unfortunatly has concussion issues but I would think eberle would have gotten Tyler. Nuge and seguin? Damn! Did the oilers even try? I realize he had “off ice issues” but the guy will crack 90 pts this year! Who cares about off ice krap.

  • R U Kidding Me!

    So the management with the supposed knowledge and experience finally fire Chabot, something us fans have been saying to do for how long now.

    It’s nice to see the ones in charge here making these decisions in a swift, timely manner.

    Maybe in the next year or 2 they’ll realize Eakins has bad coaching strategies or that Schultz can’t play defense.

  • Tikkanese

    All this talk about Schwartz’s passion being the reason he was hired makes me wonder if the extremely passionate about the Oilers woman in the ATB commercial with Ebs will be the next Oilers hire. I mean we’re going to steal some games on turnovers alone, no?

  • Congo Powerarm

    Last season was “on” the goaltending.. so Mact ditches those goalies and gets new ones (spending assets). 1 year on and its then identified that the coaching was actually the issue with the goaltending.. so Mact completely mis-identified the issue which contributed to now 2 lost seasons. This would be easily grounds for dismissal in a lot of other NHL cities.

    Also wondering if this is any worse than we would have been with Tambo.

  • mesa

    Window dressing.

    You can’t shine sh t.

    This is the problem Lowe has created with his management.

    The culture of losing will not leave until Lowe and ALL his cronies are gone.

    At the next home game all fans should throw jerseys as a signal in support of firing Lowe.

  • mesa

    Window dressing.

    You can’t shine sh t.

    This is the problem Lowe has created with his management.

    The culture of losing will not leave until Lowe and ALL his cronies are gone.

    At the next home game all fans should throw jerseys as a signal in support of firing Lowe.