One of the major items on Peter Chiarelli’s to do list is to find an experienced head coach to lead this team out of the perennial basement in which they reside. Well, according to NHL.com, the Edmonton Oilers have interviewed Todd McLellelan for the head coaching position.
One of the biggest critiques the organization has seen is the lack of experience in both management and at the head coaching position. They’ve already added experience to the management team, now to take care of the coach. The Oilers have gone with rookie coaches with the last three changes (Kreuger, Eakins, Nelson) and you would think that Peter Chiarelli will want a guy with more at bats manning the show. Todd McLellan certainly fits that bill…
McLellan has spent a little over two decades in coaching, getting into it upon the completion of a brief playing career that saw him spend significant time in the minor leagues. The No. 104 pick of the New York Islanders in 1986, he would play in only five NHL games. Here’s what his coaching history looks like:
- 1993-94: Head coach of the North Battleford North Stars (SJHL).
- 1994-00: Head coach/general manager of the Swift Current Broncos (WHL).
- 2000-01: Head coach of the Cleveland Lumberjacks (IHL). The Lumberjacks were the IHL affiliate of the Minnesota Wild and shut down when the IHL disbanded in 2001. Notable NHL’ers from this team include Pascal Dupuis and Richard Park.
- 2001-05: Head coach of the Houston Aeros (AHL). McLellan stayed on with the Wild, moving to their new team in the AHL. Notable NHL’ers from this team, include Brent Burns, Mikko Koivu, Zbynek Michalek and Mike Smith. Won the Calder Cup in 2003.
- 2005-08: Assistant coach of the Detroit Red Wings (NHL). Won the Stanley Cup in 2008.
- 2008-15: Head coach of the San Jose Sharks (NHL).
Todd McLellan has spent the past 10 years on NHL benches as both a head coach and assistant coach. To put that in perspective, McLellan was the head coach for Sharks for 868 regular season games, which is more than the last three Oilers coaches combined (Kreuger – 48 games, Eakins – 112 games, Nelson – 42 games). The experience is there, but the problem lies in whether or not the Oilers are holding out for a bigger fish.
If the interview went well, I wonder how long the Oilers would be willing to wait before making a decision. Would they risk losing McLellan for the chance to land the bigger fish in Mike Babcock? Babcock’s contract doesn’t technically end until June 30th. What happens if they get neither guy? I’ve got the feeling that this coaching decision will be made sooner than later, and whoever takes the job will be a solid choice, but for now we wait.