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Photo Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Oilers fire Todd McLellan, hire Ken Hitchcock

Initially reported by TSN’s Darren Dreger, the Edmonton Oilers have fired Todd McLellan and replaced him with Ken Hitchcock.

Edmonton is 26th in the NHL with a record of 9-10-1 and have gone 3-7 in their last 10 games.

The Oilers tweeted confirmation of the news not long after Dreger’s report and he is expected behind the bench as the team faces San Jose tonight.

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An Edmonton-native, Hitchcock will be coming out of retirement to join the team. Dreger said his position will be re-evaluated at season’s end.

He is the eighth person to coach the team in the last decade.

He comes to Edmonton as the third-winningest coach in NHL history, while McLellan departs with a record of 123-119-24. Hitchcock was working as a consultant with the Dallas Stars, who according to The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun, was granted permission by the team to speak with Edmonton.

Vultures have so to speak circled McLellan for the better part of this season as his inability to extract wins out of the roster has come back to bite him. The firing comes after the Oilers blew leads against the Calgary Flames, and Vegas Golden Knights.

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The 66-year old Hitchcock, who won a Stanley Cup with Dallas in 1999, is well-known as one of the most respected coaches in NHL history having spent time behind the bench for the Philadelphia Flyers, Columbus Blue Jackets, the Dallas Stars and most notably, the St. Louis Blues.

The truth behind this coaching swap is that Peter Chiarelli’s leash as the Oilers general manager just became shorter. Firing a coach is often the so-called last straw for GM’s in what is often a saving grace move.

While McLellan, in my opinion, could’ve done more with what he has had in the past three years, Chiarelli has constructed a poor roster and will pay for it with his job should this team not reach the playoffs.

McLellan still had this year and next on his contract that was paying him $3-million a year.

Peter Chiarelli will address the media at 11 A.M. MST.

On Twitter: @zjlaing

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  • Jonrls99

    IMAGINE THIS….

    Lucic + Cam Talbot + Third Rnd Pick to NJD for Cory Schneider + Drew Stafford.
    Lucic and Schneiders cap hits are the same and lucics contract is only one year longer.
    Stats are very similar between all four players this season, so theres little risk in this trade for both teams.

    THEN, if a miracle were to happen…

    Puljujarvi + Bear + either a 2019 or 2020 First Rnd Pick for Nylander, Sign nylander to max cap space for this season, and then Sign him to a 7-7.5 x 8 years this offseason if sekeras contract can be moved.

    this ones obviously far less likely considering toronto may be OK with nylander simply sitting out this season and signing him next season, but they would still be receiving plenty of good assets, even if they arent necessarily immediate help…

    all unlikely scenarios, but i think these two moves could change the scope of this team drastically…

    • Dapper Dan 3099

      you know what else would change the scope of this team, kassian and lucic for ovi and Carlson… but this isn’t a video game and that’s not going to ever happen…..

  • Serious Gord

    Hitch will be 67 in less than a month.

    He doesn’t speak millenial.

    He has no life outside of hockey. He “retired” because no one wanted him – he was seen as yesterday’s man.

    Can only see this as a panicked, rushed, desperation move by chia and the wine circuit. And what happens to the assistants? (it is notable that Strome was shocked by how intense practices are with the rangers compared to the oil. What does that say about those assistants? And will Hitch address it?)

    The shakespearean tragic-comedy begins yet another act…

  • Chris Prongers Rake

    Lowetides a tool, how he has a radio show is beyond me, on the bright side he doesn’t write here anymore. Talk about major addition by subtraction.

    • Boba The Fett

      Why does nobody want to give Hitch a chance, they have openly said they will reevaluate at end of season. Making a long term coaching hire in 1 day is not the right way to make a change. The Oilers need to do a proper search in the offseason and interview guys that may be the right fit. Just because Coach Q is available does not mean he is the right guy. Also Q is 60 years old as well, not exactly a young buck.
      If you actually look at Hitch’s records over the past 7 years you will see a guy that has not had a sub .500 team since 2009-10 in Columbus so just relax people.

      • Bigdaddypuck

        Are you saying that TMC has the same reputation as Hitch as to discipline and team play? I would say Hitch has been much higher on that scale since he stepped behind the stars bench. Will his style be a hit here not sure. But I’d much rather see Hitch behind the bench as a stop gap than an assistant. He has 15 games in 30 days tough for any coach to walk in to this situation. But from team assessment view I’d be very interested in hitches view of the oilers at the end of the year. His reputation and views are respected league wide and he’s an outsider so best of a bad situation is my take.

  • Johnny Zylon

    Too bad Hitchcock’s first game as the Oilers coach is going to be a loss in San Jose. 66 years old, I hope he doesn’t have a heart attack before the end of the season. I would have given the reigns to Gulutzen.

  • FanBoy

    Thank you Todd for everything you’ve done for the community and representing us well outside the rink. Thanks for also being the best coach we’ve had since MacT.

  • Darcy yaceyko

    So just like I said a couple days ago, the coach takes the bullet!! How many coaches have we had in the last decade? The management, old boys club survives. What in the hell are they paying messier to do? Get his ass out there to work with these players.. until all that top heavy crap is gone and katz sells the team were never gonna improve.
    ,