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Photo Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

Oilers officially announce coaching staff additions

Though we’ve known about the impending changes to the coaching staff for a while now, the Oilers made it official today by announcing that they’ve hired hired Glen Gulutzan, Trent Yawney, and Manny Viveiros as assistant coaches.

Todd McLellan will have an entirely new staff to work with in 2018-19. Jay Woodcroft remains with the organization but he was promoted to a head coaching gig in with the AHL Condors while Ian Herbers and Jim Johnson were relieved of their duties. Replacing them will be:

  • Gulutzan was the head coach of the Calgary Flames for the last two seasons but was fired after the team massively underperformed last year. It’s kind of funny that the Flames will be paying Gulutzan next year to coach with their rival.
  • Yawney is known best for his work with defencemen and the penalty kill in Anaheim and San Jose. He developed a wealth of excellent two-way defencemen during his time with both clubs. We’re certainly familiar with the Ducks’ dynamic blueline so hopefully he can help push Adam Larsson, Oscar Klefbom, Darnell Nurse, and Matt Benning in the right direction.
  • Viveiros was head coach of the WHL Champion Swift Current Broncos last season. Not only did he help the Broncos to a championship season, but his team also boasted a power play over two seasons that operated at a 29.4 per cent efficiency.

Obviously it’s difficult to say how much of an effect the assistant coaches can actually have on a team, but, on paper, it seems like this is a really strong staff the Oilers have put on the bench with McLellan. Yawney and Viveiros both have pedigree that suggests that they can massively improve the special teams, which was ultimately what killed the Oilers in 2017-18. Given the fact this is largely the same roster that reached the second round of the playoffs, there’s certainly reason to assume some new voices can help lift the team back up.

  • Total Points

    Hopefully Todd will listen to his staff on the things that he is not good at like being stubborn. Last year he didn’t move Drai to center his own like even though his GM sign him to a contract as a 1st or 2nd line center, didn’t remove Letestu from power play, played Lucic on 1st or 2nd line when he was struggling and needed a re-set, etc

    • Woodcroft and Johnson were almost like puppets for McLellan, they did only as he said and stood out of his way. Gulutzan and Yawney are two of the most established assistant coaches in the league, im sure he wouldn’t have brought them in and they wouldn’t have taken the job to stand out of the way.

        • OTOF2

          How about your own experience? I know that the assistants would never publicly object to anything that McLennan says but I would still like to hear them provide an original insight to the team / coaching tactics and strategies. In all the interviews that I heard from Woodcroft I never heard anything original that would give the impression that he brought something unique to the team. Have you? If so please share.

          • oilerjed

            So because you haven’t heard them contradict Mclellan they are toadies? That is absurd. As for my own experience, I have none, never being in the dressing room or coaches office how could I?

          • OTOF2

            @oilerjed
            You don’t have to be in the dressing room to hear Woodcroft. He does do interviews on the radio / in the media. As I said, I have heard him and never been impressed. I’m surprised you Say you have no experience. Try Oilers now- they interview the coaches.

  • Spaceman Spiff

    The world works in weird ways sometimes. McLellan and Gulutzan share a vehicle on the way to spend time with the injured kids in Humboldt … and not long after, Gulutzan’s fired, and then rumours begin that he might end up on McLellan’s coaching staff. Would it have happened if they hadn’t shared that ride east? Maybe, maybe not. But it’s interesting how one terrible, awful event (that’s obviously more significant than anything we’ll talk about on this website) can spin off other by-products.

    • Glencontrolurstik

      or, just maybe it happened the other way around?
      maybe we heard about it all in a different order & the Sask roadtrip was the first brainstorming session about team dynamics & strategies…?

    • The Future Never Comes

      Why wouldn’t you be. Definite upgrade on last years special team thinkers. Which is where the team completely derailed. One would think it can only get better in both departments, which in turn correlates to more wins resulting in more fun 🙂

  • A-co

    Maybe they can take turns being the head coach…do a game by game rotation and see what system the players enjoy playing…it’s just a game…fun is all that matters

    • AlexTheOilersFanSince2006

      While I do agree that it is fun, it’s also 4 different men with 4 different coaching styles. Unless all of them coach the same way (i.e., systems, execution), the team is learning a new system every game (for a total of 20.5 games/coach)

      • Glencontrolurstik

        You make a point, a good one…
        Does anyone know any history or chemistry between these guys that may have them knocking heads, being counter-productive or opposite game styles that may clash…
        Is their good history here? Did McLellan coach with Yawney in SJ, as an example.?
        Did they all play hockey together in Sask? anything regarding the choosing of these guys?
        Or, just the best guys available at the time, so, why not?

  • TKB2677

    If you listen to a former player like a Strudwick, good assistants can really help your team. If you go read on Oilers fans sites, assistant coaches do very little apparently.

  • What-a-Mike

    Well its about damn time (for months since Jan 2018 onward) that something majorly positive has happened to the Oilers (other than Connor winning Art Ross again/108 pts). This is now an impressive type Coaching Staff (IMO) which will have to gel of course… and… get the players to actually play full complete games with work ethics/effort. I look forward to seeing this new assembled Staff coach/try to coach a very improved defence, PK, PP, along with starting games on time with full effort and lasting 60 minutes. I applaud the Oilers for adding these new coaches. My next concern (before talking roster/players this upcoming summer) is who is going to deal with the goaltending as coach. Did not like how Talbot, Brossoitt, Montoya all played this year, especially with bad angling, dropping to knees way too early and too much, and bad puck-handling as well (remember Talbots one time given goof and then monumental save reaction?). I’m adding as well to keep the 10th pick over-all this year because next year ….two NMC are option changed (Sekera/Russell). This makes this year tolerable for signing Benning and Nurse to bigger deals (unless one is packaged for far better total complete defenceman)

    • One guy was just around because he was married to Todd’s sister the other is an experienced assistant who’s been on several staffs and has gotten 2 head coaching gigs and even went to the playoffs as one…

    • LAKID

      Don’t think so and at first I thought it would be a bad move but look at the coaching staff now. The Oiler’s not only have very good assistants but they are also comming from their rivals, good move.

  • Dr. Merkwurdigliebe

    The special teams play need a fixin. If our power play produces (no reason why it can’t with McDavey) the Oilers will challenge for a playoff spot.