According to McKenzie, Jay Woodcroft has been reassigned/demoted/promoted (?????) to Bakersfield and will become the new head coach of the Condors, replacing Gerry Fleming for his first ever head coaching gig. For Todd McLellan, this will mark the first time he’s been the head coach of an NHL game without Woodcroft by his side. The pair has been together on the bench since the 2008-09 season in San Jose after spending the three years before that working together in Detroit. Do they know how to exist without each other? They’re almost like the Sedin twins or something. Point being that those two seemed to be attached at the hip and it’s fair to wonder what this whatever-it-is to Bakersfield is all about.
We all knew that there would be moves coming, including many folks speculating that the assistant coaches would change even though Todd would be back, but I can’t help but laugh when I think of another case of the Oilers “firing” a guy by landing him in another job. This organization loves to swing a limp dink when it comes to replacing their people and, to me, that was certainly the case with Woodcroft. How else would you explain it? The Oilers would have been completely justified in letting him go without so much as a cheeky tickle with a feather on the way out, but that’s not what happened. Dude got off easy and he should feel grateful that he didn’t end up like Jim Johnson, who was apparently given his walking papers without landing a new fallback job. Jobs for life, bruh. Once an Oiler, always an Oiler.
COOL, NOW WHAT?
Another thing McKenzie said was that this was only part one of the coaching changes so let’s talk about what comes next? With Woodcroft heading to Bakersfield, Johnson getting the boot, and Herbers not likely to return that leaves plenty of space on the bench beside McLellan and his dazzling suits. For the last little while, people have speculated that Trent Yawney would end up with the Oilers based on his history with McLellan and the Ducks not renewing his contract, and also that Calgary’s former head coach, Glen Gulutzan, could end up as another assistant after getting the axe last week. The Woodcroft relocation news certainly adds a few pallets on those bushfires.
If you buy what McKenzie is selling, we could see some more concrete news coming from the Oilers on this as early as tomorrow, but for now, I’m taking it to the bank that Woodcroft will be moving back to Cali come fall. I’ll also bet that some of these other poorly kept secrets will probably come true as well and that we’ll be hearing about them soon. I don’t know what you guys think but, to me, getting both Yawney and Gulutzan would add a healthy dose of experience to the Oilers bench as well as put a little bit more heat under McLellan’s chair. Both of those guys have been head coaches in the league before (lack of success notwithstanding) and could easily jump in should things go sideways. If the Oilers get off to another bad start then they would already have two guys that could immediately step in as interim head coaches.
I’m not saying that will happen and I hope the Oilers kill all of their enemies but, to me, it would add an interesting angle. Sure, they may both be McLellan guys for now but it’s not like they would turn down the opportunity to be head coaches again if it fell in their laps, right? Then again, at this point, all of this is only speculation and you never know what will happen as we progress through the offseason, but one thing we know for sure is that the next few months will certainly be interesting. Maybe this Jay Woodcroft news is the domino that triggers the next moves, or maybe they wait until the Draft Lottery when they find out they’re picking first overall again. I guess we’ll see.
Source: Bob McKenzie, Verified Twitter Account, 4/26/2018 – 10:09 pm MST