On Tuesday afternoon, the Calgary Flames announced that they were relieving Glen Gulutzan and his staff of their duties. After a disappointing season in which the Flames missed the playoffs despite going all-in in the off-season with the acquisitions of Mike Smith and Travis Hamonic, management decided the coaching staff deserved to take the fall for the team’s failures.
Glenn Gulutzan: 82-68-14, 0.5425 as Flames head coach. Made the playoffs 1/2 years. Fired.— Christian Pagnani (@chrispagnani) April 17, 2018
Todd McLellan: 114-109-23, 0.510 as Oilers head coach. Made the playoffs 1/3 years. Likely returning.
Gulutzan was at the helm for two seasons. He took over for Bob Hartley who won the Jack Adams Award for leading a terrible, overachieving Flames squad to the playoffs in 2014-15. He missed the following season and was subsequently fired. In Gulutzan’s two seasons, the Flames reached the playoffs once, got swept, and then missed the playoffs. The Flames did have strong underlying numbers, but an injury to Mike Smith late in the season coupled with a lack of scoring depth ultimately resulted in a late-season implosion.
That brings us to this week’s What Would You Do Wednesday question. Should the Oilers follow their neighbours from down the road and fire the coaching staff? Would it be everyone, including Todd McLellan, or just some from the staff? Are they really the ones who are at fault for this year’s disaster? Who out there would be a better choice to lead the team?
McLellan has now been the coach of the Oilers for three seasons. The team missed the playoffs in his first year, enjoyed a breakout season in his second, and then regressed and missed the playoffs in his third year. In that third year, the team struggled, among other things, because of disastrously bad special teams. The team ultimately finished the season dead last with a 14.76 per cent power play and 25th with a 76.73 per cent patently kill.
We already know that the team is giving Peter Chiarelli another chance to execute his plan. But we don’t know yet whether or not McLellan and Co. are part of that plan. As of right now, all we know is that the coaching staff is part of the organization’s “forensic audit” and that they’re being assessed.
Personally, I doubt McLellan is fired. The assistant coaches might not be safe and the Oilers might look to bring in an associate coach like Dave Tippett, Darryl Sutter, Alain Vigneault, *cough* Paul Coffey *cough*, or even Gulutzan, but the organization has openly been stating how much it values continuity after having so many head coaches and general managers come and go in the last decade’s game of musical chairs.
What say you, Nation? Is McLellan going to be back next year? How about the staff? Who would you rather have at the helm?
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