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Photo Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Edmonton Oilers coaching change could come next week

A coaching change behind the Edmonton Oilers bench could come as soon as next week, ESPN’s Emily Kaplan reported Thursday.

On ESPN’s The Point, Kaplan said that if the Edmonton Oilers were to lose their Jan. 10 game against the Ottawa Senators, it would be the perfect time to make a change:

Ken Holland the GM — it’s important to note in all of his years in Detroit he never made an (in-season) coaching change. I’ve talked to a lot of sources in the league who don’t know what Ken Holland is going to do, but if he does make a move, January 10th is their next game, they play the Ottawa Senators. If they lose to the Senators, there will be a lot of pressure from fans and that would be the time to do it as they have 10 days before their next game. If they do make a change, I get the sense the Oilers wouldn’t go for one of the re-treads on the market like a Claude Julien who would be looking for term. Instead, look for them to promote either Glen Gulutzan, he’s an assistant on the staff, obviously has head coaching experiences or Jay Woodcroft who is running their AHL team right now. But it’s definitley an inflection point in Edmonton right now. Everyone in the league is curious about what will happen here. The other thing on Tippett: it’s the last year of his contract. If they don’t go far in the playoffs, you can definitely expect a new coach behind the bench next year.

The report shouldn’t come as a surprise. Tippett has lost his last 11 games behind the bench, and the two wins the Oilers had in late Decemeber were both with him in COVID-19 protocols.

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Edmonton has fallen massively down the NHL standings since Dec. 1 when they were sitting atop the Pacific Division with games in hand and boasted the league’s top points percentage mark. Since then, however, things have been downright awful.

The Oilers have posted an abysmal 3-9-2 record scoring just 2.57 goals per game while allowing 3.71 goals against per game. Their special teams that were once a strong suit early in the season have taken a dive, too. The powerplay has operated at a measly 17.1 percent, while they are only killing off 70.7 percent of penalties taken.

While they’re still narrowly outshooting opponents, the Oilers have been consistently chasing games giving up the first goal far too often. Goaltending, too, has been suspect at best and Kaplan said to look for the Oilers to recall goaltender Stuart Skinner, too.

Promoting Jay Woodcroft from within might be their best option. He has familiarity with a large portion of the roster having either coached them in the NHL between 2015 and 2017 while an assistant coach with the Oilers, or at some point over the last four years where he’s been the head coach of the Bakersfield Condors.

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No matter what, it’s becoming more and more clear that a coaching change is needed in Edmonton.


Zach Laing is the Nation Network’s news director and senior columnist. He can be followed on Twitter at @zjlaing, or reached by email at [email protected]