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.