Paul Coffey to join Oilers coaching staff… or something

According to TSN’s Bob McKenzie, the Oilers could be getting close to bringing one of the good old boys back into the mix. McKenzie tweeted that Paul Coffey could be joining the Oilers organization “sooner rather than later.” In what role? It’s complicated.

I have to admit, this news is strange to me but at the same time it’s not. I knew that the Oilers were open to potentially adding someone to the coaching staff but I can’t say that I would have ever expected the name that would surface to be Paul Coffey. When Peter Chiarelli did his state of the union press tour of 2018 back on January 8th, he spoke to Ryan Rishaug about potentially adding someone to the coaching staff. He said:

“That’s a possibility. You want to surround yourself with the best people possible, so we’ve talked about that. I’ve talked to Todd about that. It’s something we’re looking at. Again, I’m not trying to throw you hints, Ryan, we’re looking at everything here.”

Did you wink and tap your nose when you said this? Anyway…

“We’re looking at personnel, we’re looking at the coaches, we’re looking at possibly adding help.”

Alright, raise your hand if you would have expected the coaching help that Chiarelli was talking about to come in the form of Oilers legend Paul Coffey? I wouldn’t have but, like I said, hiring an inexperienced legend from the glory days is the most Oilers move ever so I don’t know why anyone would be truly surprised. Is Chiarelli still in charge here, or is there something else going on? This doesn’t really seem like a Chiarelli choice, does it? But I guess what say he has in another story.

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After digging around, there isn’t much coaching experience for Coffey aside from some minor league work and some consulting for the Coyotes from years ago, so I can’t help but scratch my head on this one. I mean, did the Oilers limit the search for help to guys that are in their group chat? I’m picturing a group chat called “Them Glory Boyz” where all the old boys are talking about life when Kevin pops into the mix with a, “Hey, Coff, you want a job or what?”

There’s no doubt in my mind that Paul Coffey is one of the greatest defencemen of all time, but that doesn’t necessarily make him an NHL coach. I guess I’m confused by ‘the process’ on this one. But since this is still just a rumour, albeit from a very reliable source, we’ll just have to wait and see what kind of role Coffey will actually be doing. Presumably something with the defence? Who knows. McKenzie cleared that up with another tweet (spoiler: he didn’t):

Alright, now I’m even more confused. Let me get this straight… Paul Coffey could MAYBE be joining the coaching staff in some kind of way but he can do it kinda when he wants or when the team wants? Or maybe he’ll be working in some super sneaky department that no one even knows about where the Oilers are trying to turn alien life into a puck moving defencemen!? Seriously, though, what is going on here? Personally, I believe McKenzie’s information so it will be interesting to see what the Oilers end up saying about this. I mean, it’s not like they’re exactly forthcoming with their info, but I assume part of the plan is to collect the entire 1984 roster.

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As far as things the Oilers do that don’t really make sense this is another one to add to the list. I know that in business companies will generally hire the people they’re comfortable with, but the Oilers’ repeated drafting from the old boys club is on another level entirely. While I don’t think hiring Paul Coffey is going to hurt the team at all, I don’t see how his involvement in some who-knows-what-it-is-role will really help either. But maybe I’m wrong, maybe Paul Coffey will be the 80’s Oiler to finally bring this team back to glory. Or maybe we’ll have to wait for Jari Kurri to join the staff next year.

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What do you guys think?


Paul Coffey was shown during a break in tonight’s game and it was confirmed that he was hired by the Edmonton Oilers. There will be a press conference tomorrow for the official announcement.

Source: Bob McKenzie, TSN/NBC, 1/20/2018, 12:22pm MST

  • morsecode89

    As BaggedMilk points out, this is the most obvious Oiler move ever. Nepotism and the Old Boyz Club go hand in hand. It’s become apparently obvious Gretzky has more pull over this team, and I’m not sure where I stand on that.

    On the other hand, Paul Coffey was an all-world defenseman who played on one of the greatest hockey teams of all-time – but that was 30 years ago. But the game has changed, and outside of bringing in intangibles like ‘character and leadership’ he hasn’t proven that he’s a valuable coach or scout to any NHL organization. He’s not a Steve Yzerman, who studied under Holland for a few years in Detroit, took a new POV, and moved to Tampa to update the team’s entire hockey operations from a forward-thinking analytical perspective. Coffey’s just a very very elite ex-NHLer, that’s probably going to signal more offseason changes like this in the future.

    And we all know how this plays out. Coffey is going to do the hits with the Oilers media like Stauffer, Spector and of course Matheson. Each of those reporters is going to talk about his experience and leadership and what those can bring to a young organization like the Oilers. He’s going to talk about what he can maybe help coach guys like Klefbom, Nurse, or Larsson with. And how he see’s this Oiler team being a lot like the one from the 1980’s – rinse, repeat, Connor McDavid worship etc. etc. But in reality, these are mid-20’s NHL players… And they all look like they’re going to have long careers. But I doubt Paul Coffey is going to teach Darnell Nurse how to score like he did, or teach Adam Larsson how to skate like he did. Those skills are formed much much earlier on in a players development.

    The problem is, in no way do we know if any of this is the right move. It just looks like more of the same from an organization who still employs McTavish and Lowe after a 12-year tire fire.

    I’m not saying Coffey can’t bring anything good to the Oilers, but this isn’t some drastic change to a team and an organization who look completely stuck in the past. It’s pretty evident Peter Chiarelli tried to build to 2011 Bruins in a league moving towards speed and skill. And it was pretty evident Craig MacTavish was only good at acquiring gritty grinder players similar to his own style of play when he was GM. But again, nothing about this move is forward thinking. It’s more hockey men, doing hockey men things, running a half-a-billion dollar NHL franchise with the leagues brightest young star – Connor McDavid – who is increasingly looking like the only thing keeping many of these men employed.

    Sure. Call me cynical. But I am an Oilers fan through and through and all I want is to see this team finally win.

    • Randaman

      Coffey won’t teach Nurse to score but he can sure help with puck movement, recognizing forechecking quicker, stretch passes, etc. We need more OFFENCE from our D.

      • Dan 1919

        I agree, other than McDavid, this whole team including forwards seems so constricted offensively… any attempt at improving that at this point is better than nothing for me.

    • IRONman

      LOve #7. Awesome skater. This guy scored 48 goals in regular season. He should coach the d. Messier should coach the forwards with 94. 94 can teach heart. This team needs more Smyth.

  • rivid

    If he is hired on, this just speaks volumes to the incompetence of Daryl Katz as a owner. With no disrespect to Coffey, what does he bring to the coaching staff? Things have changed from the 80’s and just because you own a team in Ontario does not give you the knowledge to be a NHL coach. Hey lam all for thinking outside the box, but this move is way out there. Maybe try a college or university coach that has been involved in the game and known as a progressive thinker. This move makes little sense to a franchise that has one of the best players in the world.

  • The Ghost of Alex Plante

    This is so embarrassing. How about bringing in some guys with experience? You know, guys who have done this before and have an actual track record…? How many times do we have to see a former player come into management/coaching and fail before we learn not to keep hiring them? Gretzky, Lowe, MacTavish, Buchberger… now we can add Coffey to the list. Seriously what other franchise runs this way?

      • The Ghost of Alex Plante

        Fair enough, although I’m just going to toss out the Habs and Canucks as examples here because they actually help point out that it’s a bad idea. Do you really want the Oilers following their lead?

        My counter argument to this would be if the architects behind one of the worst decades in professional sports history were all former players, why do you think it’s a good idea to keep hiring their buds. What’s the definition in insanity again?

  • The Future Never Comes

    Classic Oilers, they will just never learn. How many chefs do you need in the kitchen, well the answer is quite literally every Oiler from the 80’s! No wonder tickets are so expensive, we have to pay to keep every old Oiler in the working force in some useless manner or another.

  • Natti_89

    Uh….so he played in a completely different time than how the game is played now. Like the player but migod, how old is he? And honestly I don’t think he’s what we need now. Need special teams coaches. Unless coffee has know coaching experiance in this area pass. Quit with the experiments and get qualified experienced staff.

    • AJ88

      Yea, maybe we should have hired Harold Snepsts, give Coffey a break if indeed he is hired, nothing wrong with adding someone that was one of the most offensive minded defenceman ever. Maybe it is time to change the defensive systems that McLellan and Babcock seem to push on all their offensive weapons.