Todd McLellan’s coaching staff likely to be assembled “before Friday”

Todd McLellan2

Peter Chiarelli’s brief press availability on Monday touched on a lot of different points, one of which was the still under construction Oilers’ coaching staff. The general manager indicated at least the majority of Todd McLellan’s group should be in place prior to the draft.

“I would hope that we have two additional assistant [coaches] before Friday,” said Chiarelli. “I would think that we would, based on my discussions.”

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Beyond McLellan, the only other apparent lock is Jay Woodcroft. Woodcroft talked to the Edmonton Sun’s Terry Jones back before he took the Oilers’ job and made it clear that his San Jose assistant coach would be a part of any staff he assembled in another city:

Jay, if I get the opportunity to move on, will be part of my staff. I believe in him that much. I think it’s really important when you find a guy that you can trust and who can keep you organized and prepared and works his butt off. It’s essential. And that’s the plan for me as I move forward.

Woodcroft worked for the Detroit Red Wings when McLellan was there, and then spent seven seasons with McLellan in California.

There’s been official silence so far regarding the fate of Rocky Thompson, who spent last year as the “eye in the sky” under first Dallas Eakins and then Todd Nelson. Thompson has eight years of experience now; one in Edmonton, four in Oklahoma City and three with the WHL’s Oil Kings. It’s probably worth noting that Thompson played for McLellan in the WHL in 1996-97 when McLellan was running the Swift Current Broncos, so there’s at least some level of history there. Given that history and the fact he wasn’t let go at the same time as the team’s other assistant coaches, it’s a decent guess that he might be the lone holdover under McLellan.

Assuming that Thompson ends up staying that leaves one other spot, and there are some intriguing possibilities.

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Late last week 630 CHED’s Bob Stauffer suggested that Jim Johnson, who was a member of McLellan’s staff in San Jose, might potentially find his way behind the bench in Edmonton:

We know Jay Woodcroft is coming; he worked with Todd McLellan in San Jose. Some people think that we’ll end up in a scenario in which Jim Johnson, who was also on that staff – a veteran NHL defenceman, highly regarded for his ability to develop players – that Jim Johnson will join the staff as well and Rocky Thompson would remain. Still as of right now nothing official from the Edmonton Oilers on that front.

There’s at least one other interesting possibility, though, who the Oilers are clearly considering:

MacLean, who until recently was the head coach of the Ottawa Senators, previously had a long run in Detroit as part of Mike Babcock’s staff. He and McLellan spent three years together behind the bench as assistants to Babcock and he’d obviously be qualified for the position.


  • LibrarianMike

    McLellan: “Kelly, I’d like you to be part of my coaching team.”

    Buchberger: “Really. Well, that sounds gre…”

    McLellan: “Hahaha. Nah, I’m just f**king with you. Chia wants to see you in his office.”

  • rayrayjj

    I think I would be smart to keep the sharks crew together they all no each other and build a pretty dam good sharks team so I’m OK with Jim Johnson,sharks had one of the best power plays in the League and Mclellan,woodcroft and Jim Johnson are the one’s that put that together!!!

    • radicator

      I agree that bringing over the assistants can really help establish solidarity and trust when teaching new systems of play. However, I think it’s a better one more step to add another voice like MacLean to show the players that it’s not just going to be Sharks, the sequel. (The coaches are, after all, partially to blame for not taking the Sharks to the playoffs.) The only questions are whether MacLean can work under McLellan and whether McLellan can trust MacLean’s tactics.

  • Jordan McNugent-Hallkins

    With the downsizing in scouting one contemplates whether MacT. and /or Howson will still be retained in that capacity or another . Chiarelli , as expected , made it leaner .

    As per D.Staples Journal column today -records for futility from 2008-13 for players after first pick , Boston under Chiarelli was just as bad if not worse than the Oilers . No way to sugar coat . So lets hope he does not fill vacancies with Boston scouts . Chiarelli did do much better than our Oilers in Pro Trades however . Therein lies the big difference .

    Some of Staples futility stats are for players outside of first pick that have NHL games . Oilers ranked 24th @ 9.3 games/player . Some others of note that are worse starting with the worst : Pitt.-1.9 ,Van.-4.3, St.Louis-7.1 , Winnipeg 7.4 , Montreal and Boston 7.7 and Toronto 7.9 .

  • Aendayana777

    It’s fascinating reading the comments. My favourite part most of the time.

    I’d take MacLean if the draft picks not attached. As someone said already this is a rule I can see disappear or get modified real soon.

    I think this coaching staff could do well. Now imagine the back-end anchored by Chara. it’s like having an extra coach out there. i know he is expensive but I believe it’d be worth it. We don’t really need truly offensive defence anyway. With 97 coming and having already many top6 options 10, 14, Drai and at times star players 4,93 out front a steady and no-nonsense back-end will suffice. Putting out Chara-Fayne-Ference-Nurse?-Klefbom-Schultz I guess is not that bad. If you can improve, surely do so. But Chara just seems to check off many boxes we need to start with. You also have to wonder it should not need to take too much to get him as clearly there is lots of risk for us too and we are taking substantial salary on. Wow this is really bad english

    McDavid is coming. It is so unbelievable. Best and luckiest summer ever. I have been watching and cheering this team on since 92. Honestly best summer ever. Love the idea of having a relevant team again. That is all that matters. Sorry for the rant


  • Jordan McNugent-Hallkins

    I didn’t say one way or the other. Just noting that proven winners are going to cost you. Though, I kind of expected those two to take a little less. They have to know what those contracts will do to their team.

    • I agree with you that from a fans perspective you’d want them to take less for the team, but at the end of the day this is a buisness all about making money, and they were in a position to set the market and they did what the PA would want, get as much as you can. Same reason Babcock left a model organization to go to the leafs. People want as much money as they can get and that will never change

  • Oilcounty88

    If people threw out a trade scenario last year that consisted of Mclellan and Chirelli for Moroz and Pitlick we would be all over it. The odds of drafting impact NHL players in the 2nd and 3rd round is slim. I make that trade for a competent GM and NHL head coach everyday of the week.

  • BigMcD

    It’s kinda sad how excited I am that they’re actually hiring new assistants and interviewing outside candidates instead of just appointing the same old assistants to a new head coach.

  • Hard to imagine MacLean wants to return to being an assistant coach….though maybe the appeal of the young Oilers/McDavid is enough to entice him?

    I sure hope he takes the plunge in to Oilerville

    • Quicksilver ballet

      Similar words were said about Hall, Nuge, and Yak pal..and mere months later “the best fans in hockey” were throwing those player’s jerseys to the home ice.
      So save it, enjoy your draft party and when I see a McChrist jersey on the ice I’ll think of you

      • Jordan McNugent-Hallkins

        Funny I don’t remember The Great One saying anyone drafted recently was the best since Mario. So no, never been here before. Never seen his before.

        I know you Flamers are still butt hurt from the 80s when you were second fiddle to the great dynasty for 10 years but rest assured when we speak of The Great One its not Theo Fleury or whatever second rate wanna be star has EVER come out of your organization.

        Laugh all you want about our last 9 years (we do). Brag all you want about your rush back to being a being middling mediocre lunch pail team of playoff bubble slugs (we laugh). Times have changed. Accept it or not, this has never happened before. There is no ‘heard this before’. Get ready to perpetually chase the real contending team in these parts and be known as ‘the other Alberta team’ for the next decade. I know you guys have a lot of experience at this so you should be good at it.

      • Jordan McNugent-Hallkins

        You’re committed, I’ll give you that. It takes serious dedication to willfully ignore the entire hockey world. Keep pretending McDavid is just another skilled prospect, we’re all laughing at you.

        • Jordan McNugent-Hallkins

          i’m not ignoring anything, just said that no one in Calgary is scared of the Oilers. If that hurts to hear, sorry.
          And being laughed at by you is kind of like the Prom King walking by the special Ed class and upon looking in seeing a drooling mess laughing about god knows what. It doesn’t matter bro

          • YFC Prez

            Probably a good idea.

            I stopped paying attention to that dude the moment he started taking shots at Joey Moss. Anyone who would step as low to poke fun at the expense of a man with Down syndrome isn’t worth the walk down to his level.

            Hes taken it beyond trolling more than once.

          • number99

            Agreed. I would like to see any comments containing disparaging remarks to members of our community who have a disability removed. Its classless and lowers the quality of the Nation experience.

          • Anton CP

            No one is saying that anyone from Calgary is scared of the Oilers considering that they dominated the Oilers last season by winning every single game. I think the best is to let the new Oilers doing their jobs when facing Flames again.

          • You forget that the prom king in high school usually ends up working at McDonalds afterwards.

            Look at these guys, they win one round of playoff hockey, get thrashed by the Ducks and now they think they’re “prom kings.” lol You’re 1998 Oilers man.

          • For such a “passionate” Flames fan, i’m not sure why you are even posting here, or reading articles here? I have never been on Flames Nation because i truthfully don’t care what is said on that site, and don’t really care about the Flames…

            …Maybe you secretly want to be part of the McDavid train?

  • Jordan McNugent-Hallkins

    Just read the cap will be $71.4 million next year. Hall, Nuge, Ebs are tied up for about a quarter of that. Meanwhile, Kane and Toews will be pulling in 30% of Chicago’s cap. Winners are damn expensive.

  • Anton CP

    For all the flames fans out there who have somehow got it in their misguided little heads that we think the oilers will be better that the flames because we’re drafting (probably) the best player in the world you can: 1. stop coming on our blogs to cry about it and 2. Realize that not only are we drafting the best player in the world but we appear to have finally aquired a management team that wont squander this opportunity.
    Also we have already have a couple players that arent too bad, i think these hall and nuge kids could turn out alright