Photo Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Offence Under Tippett

Dollars and cents, or should I say sense, are the only things standing between Ken Holland getting his new head coach. Dave Tippett is clearly the man he wants and TSN’s Darren Dreger told me on The Nielson Show this morning that he believes Holland and Tippett are meeting in British Columbia today to try and get a deal done. I’d be surprised if the Oilers can’t put together an offer that financially makes sense for Tippett.

I’ve seen some concern from Oilers fans online about Tippett’s old school approach to coaching and how it may impact the offensive numbers of Connor McDavid.

I’ve gone back through Tippett’s years as a head coach in Dallas and Arizona to find the top ten offensive seasons for his top end guys. As you will see below several players had their best offensive years under Tippett.

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I think most of you would say that’s not very impressive but it was actually the third-best offensive season of Modano’s career. He put up 93 points in back to back seasons in the early ’90s but didn’t hit the 85-point mark again until 02-03. Zubov was second on the team in scoring that season with 55 points.


Ribeiro, as you will see, put up a couple of very good offensive seasons under Tippett. This 83-point campaign was actually a career high for Ribeiro who I think many of us would describe as the type of player Tippett may not be a fan of.


This wrapped up the best two-season stretch of Ribeiro’s career. The previous season Ribeiro connected well with Brenden Morrow but the burly power forward played just 15 games in 2008. Loui Eriksson finished second in scoring on the Stars in 08-09 but was still 15 points behind Ribeiro.


Modano only appears on this list twice and in 2005-2006 he certainly had a little bit of help. The Stars had three players hit the 70-point mark in the first season after the lockout. Arnott had 76 and Zubov finished with 71 points that season.

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Whitney is the first member of the Coyotes to find a place on this list. The 77 points were the second highest total of Whitney’s career and he also managed to do this in his 19th NHL season. If a 39-year old Ray Whitney can put up 77 points under Tippett I don’t think anyone should be too concerned about McDavid and Draisaitl.


This was by far Arnott’s best offensive season under Tippett and would also end up being the most productive offensive season of the power forward’s career. Arnott turned his 76-point season into a five year UFA deal with the Nashville Predators but would only finish with more than 56 points one more time in his career.


Morrow was clearly part of a one-two punch with Ribeiro during the 2007 season. Morrow finished with a career-high 74 points and scored 32 goals, a goal total that he would top only once during his career.


The most impressive thing about this season for Sergei Zubov is that he put up 71 points at the age of 36. Zubov put up 89 points with the Cup winning Rangers in 1994 and then didn’t hit the 70-point plateau again until 12 years later. Nicklas Lidstrom was the only defenseman to have more points than Zubov in 05-06.

BILL GUERIN (03-04) – 69 POINTS (…nice)

Guerin led the Stars in scoring with 69 points during the 2003-2004 season. This was Tippett’s second season with the Stars and like many of the other players on this list it ended up being Guerin’s career high for points in a season.


Vrbata connected very well with Whitney during the 2011 season. He scored a career-best 35 goals and finished with 62 points. The Coyotes stunned everyone during the 2012 playoffs making it to the Western Conference Final.

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I know many people are down on Tippett simply because of his struggles with the Coyotes, but think about this for a second. In four of his final five seasons with the Coyotes, the team’s leading scorer was a defenceman — Keith Yandle twice and Oliver Ekman-Larsson twice. Tippett literally had nothing to work with offensively; that won’t be the case here in Edmonton.

Previously by Dustin Nielson:

  • Serious Gord

    1. They had their best offensive years under tippet because they were in their best offensive years…

    2. Tippet has been unemployed as a coach for two seasons. Why?

    3. Dustin are you saying that fans lying eyes are deceiving them – that Tippet-coached teams actually play a free-wheeling, high scoring, exciting style of hockey?

    • Serious Gord

      Going back over the last ten cups:

      The ages of the coaches were: 55, 48, 47, 56, 55, 54, 51, 51, 39 and 45.

      Tippet will be 58 in August. If all goes well the earliest we can realistically expect the oil to be cup competitive will be three seasons from now – Tippet will be 61.

      The ONLY coach to win a cup older than 56 in the expansion era (I didn’t go back further than that) was Scotty Bowman. And he walked into a team that was arguably the greatest assemblage of players in league history.

      I don’t think Tippet is Scotty Bowman and certainly this roster isn’t going to be a dominant as the wings anytime soon.

      Tippet is just a bad hire and it speaks very, very poorly for where Holland’s head is at.

        • Towers-of-dub

          Can you explain the effect that those average ages had? For example, Barry Trotz had been the coach in Washington for several years before he won the stanley cup there. In fact, he didn’t win it in his first season, he won it in his last, when by all accounts, he was older than he was in his first season.

          • Serious Gord

            The point is, just like hockey players age is an important – critical – factor in evaluating the value of a Hockey coach. (this is no different than in any other business).

            The stats don’t lie.

            Coaches over 56 – with only one extraordinary exception – haven’t won cups – EVER (Toe Blake won his last at age 56).

            Tippet will be at least 61 before the oil are cup competitive.

          • Towers-of-dub

            yes, but i want to know exactly why it happens. Why is it impossible for a coach to win a stanley cup if he’s over 56 yrs old? I understand that no one has, but I want to know why. I’m sure you have this information.

    • Redbird62

      In response to your first argument, in the point totals achieved that are discussed above, Modano was 32 & 35, Zubov was 34, Arnott was 31, Guerin was 34, Ray Whitney was 39 and Vrbata was 30. These are not generally considered peak scoring ages. Morrow and Ribiero were at the back end of the typical peak offensive prime years.

      • Serious Gord

        First back in the era in question the peak age zone was significantly higher than it is now – more like 25 or 26 to 30 or 31 for forwards and probably you could add another couple years to those ranges for defensemen. This is not just a hockey phenomenon. Just a decade ago it was almost unheard of to have a 20 yr old in the MLB, now it’s much more common.

        So by the metrics of their day:

        Modano – not career high numbers
        Ditto Zubov and Arnott is within the range above (and it was the only season in his entire career that he was healthy)

        Guerin’s numbers were also in a rare healthy season – his peak was with the bruins on a PPG basis.

        And Ray Whitney is evergreen in what was an anomalous season in an anomalous career.

        As noted, Ribiero and Morrow were paired and both had great, healthy seasons right in their primes.

      • Oilcountry97

        @serious gord… I really dont think age has that much of a factor in coaching as you are saying. I just really dont see much of a diference of a coack who is 56 to a coach who is 61. With players they are playing a physical game and there bodies wear out over time i just really think you are being negative for the sake of complaining.

  • Shredder

    I haven’t posted on this site in a couple years, and reading the comments I remember why. You guys comment with so much vitriol, promoting as much negativity a guy could read, and to boot it’s on a blog about a form of entertainment – an obscure one at that when put in the global context. I mean seriously…so Serious Gord is still a thing around here? You’d think after all this blogging that you’d be a respected reporter by now…and you’ve got 3 out of the 4 comments…and I’m gone…

  • YFC Prez

    I really want to see Todd Nelson back here. No offence to Tippett. I just think hes the wrong hire, heck I’d rather have hitch back than Tippett. But I guess time will tell. Hope whatever Holland chooses works out.

  • Jimmer

    Tippet is a less abrasive version of Hitchcock with similar teachings. Is he really that much different than Barry Trotz in terms of style? Probably not. Go ahead and compare records…Trotz has more wins, a cup, etc. Tippet is the right guy.

  • TKB2677

    Tippet spent years in Arizona coaching an undermanned team that lacked talent. That team beat the Oilers for fun with a bunch of 3rd and 4th liners who worked their ass off. When you have a team full of 3rd and 4th liners, you are going to coach a system that works with what you have. You aren’t going to play a more up tempo, offensive style if you don’t have players who can do it.

      • TKB2677

        We don’t know what Tippet will do if he is the guy but let’s all get the fact right. The Oilers didn’t miss the playoffs because they didn’t score enough goals, the missed the playoffs because they suck defensively and can’t keep it out of the net. They scored a grand total of 15 goals less than the 2016-2017 season. They paid 2 mill to a forward who had ZERO goals. But they gave up over 60 more goals this year compared to 2016-2017.

  • _Bubba

    Good hire: Preceded by subtle hints From Holland (I.e. firings) this past week that you either produce or hit the trail… Always a good motivator for some folks ..

  • billsbills

    Balanced and reasonable article Dusty. I’m not sure why so many are down on Tippett. He always lacked offensive players. The people you listed were never as gifted as Draisaitl or McDavid. Modano was close and they had some decent players the first few years but the team aged and was not restocked with young gifted players.

    The Phoenix lineup speaks for itself. The fact he got that team to the conference final in any year is a feat in itself.

    One thing we know, Tippett teams always worked hard. If he hires Tippett, he will be the coach of the Oilers for the next 4+ years.

  • Retired Secret Agent

    I don’t know who is in charge of this site anymore, but, Serious Gord is a SERIOUS buzz kill. I have never come across someone who is so dedicated to being so consistently negative about a team and a sport most of us love. And, Gord, I’m over 60 and ain’t got stupid yet. So stick it!!!!!

    • hagar

      I am sure I annoy my fare share of people, but Gord is full runaway train negative. I used to be one of a few that agreed with him, but now he is just making it goal one to crap on everything.

      I am not happy larger changes haven’t happened, but if you can take change and turn it into hope, you should change teams to cheer for because its moot at that point.

      I hate klowe is here still, I am even saddened to hear Schwartz is staying on and hewson. Makes me wonder how much has changed, but there are also positives enough to give me something to cheer for again, no matter how reserved I am on expectations.

      It still has to be fun right? We arent curing cancer here.

  • Oscar

    Knowledgeable & discerning NHL fans want to know why Tippett hasn’t coached in the NHL for the last couple years … sitting idle for that period then demanding an excessive amount of “Northern” pay to come to Edmonton makes me awfully leary of this dude …