The Edmonton Oilers continue to check items off their summer to-do list as they announced this morning that Jay Woodcroft signed an extension that will keep him behind the Bakersfield Condors bench as the head coach for the next three seasons.
Good move for Oilers and Woodcroft. Good HC in AHL is glhuge for development of your young players and Woodcroft wants to be an NHL HC in future so running his own bench in AHL is best way to prove it.
— Jason Gregor (@JasonGregor) June 12, 2019
In a move that I think all of us can get behind, the Edmonton Oilers and Jay Woodcroft have agreed to a three-year contract extension that will keep him behind the Bakersfield Condors’ bench for the next three seasons. In his first season as a head coach, Woodcroft led the Condors to their first playoff berth in franchise history, capturing a Western Conference title with 89 points and punctuated by a 17 game win streak which was the second-longest in AHL history. Woodcroft will work alongside newly appointed AGM, Keith Gretzky, who will oversee Bakersfield as part of his new gig in Holland’s regime.
Speaking of Ken Holland, this is the second time that he and Woodcroft have worked together at the NHL level. Woodcroft was hired to be Mike Babcock’s video coach back in 2005, working for three years under Holland before eventually leaving to join Todd McLellan as an assistant coach in San Jose. In his time as an NHL assistant coach, Woodcroft shared in 511 regular season wins, five Western Conference titles, six division titles, three President’s Trophies, and a Stanley Cup in 2008 with Detroit. Last summer, the Oilers decided to make some changes behind the bench and those moves gave Woodcroft his first opportunity as a head coach, an opportunity he grabbed and ran with.
After the Condors’ season ended, there was some speculation that Jay Woodcroft might leave Bakersfield to join Todd McLellan’s coaching staff in Los Angeles, and I’m thrilled to see that he decided to stick around and build upon an excellent head coaching debut. Now that we know Woodcroft will be spending a few more years with the organization, I can’t help but wonder if the Oilers now have their heir apparent in the system to take over the NHL bench when Dave Tippett’s three-year deal finishes up. I know I’m getting way ahead of myself here, but wouldn’t it be nice to see a coach that’s being groomed on the farm getting the chance to move up in the organization? I think so.
Under Woodcroft’s guidance, five Condors made their NHL debuts this past season (Josh Currie, Joe Gambardella, Caleb Jones, Cooper Marody, Patrick Russell) and I look forward to seeing what comes next for the Oilers’ farm team.
WOODCROFT’S FIRST SEASON AS A HEAD COACH
Source: Edmonton Oilers, Official Twitter Account, 6/12/2019 – 8:59 am MST