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Former Edmonton Oilers defenceman Drew Bannister named St. Louis Blues interim head coach

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Cam Lewis
2 months ago
Following a 6-4 loss to the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday, the St. Louis Blues fired head coach Craig Berube.
The Blues also announced that former NHL defenceman Drew Bannister would be promoted from the Springfield Thunderbirds of the American Hockey League to fill in as the team’s interim head coach.
Now mired in a four-game losing streak, the Blues are tied with the Oilers for the ninth spot in the Western Conference standings, though Edmonton has two games in hand on St. Louis. The hope for the Blues is that they can have a similar turnaround with Bannister behind the bench as they did with Berube a few years ago.
Berube was brought in to coach the Blues after Mike Yeo was fired following a 7-9-3 start to the 2018-19 season. The Blues turned things around and went 38-19-6 during the regular season under Berube and then won their first-ever Stanley Cup in the spring after beating the Boston Bruins in seven games.
The Blues continued to have strong regular season results with Berube behind the bench but they won only one playoff series between the 2019-20, 2021, and 2021-22 seasons. Last year, St. Louis went 37-38-7 and finished 14 points out of a playoff spot, their first miss since the 2017-18 season.

New St. Louis Blues head coach played 35 games for the Oilers during NHL career…

The Tampa Bay Lightning selected Drew Bannister in the second round of the 1992 draft, their first-ever as an NHL franchise. They had selected Roman Hamrlik with the first overall pick in the draft and wanted to build their blueline around him and Bannister.
After spending two more seasons in the Ontario Hockey League and a couple more playing in the minors with the Atlanta Knights, Bannister made his NHL debut with the Lightning during the 1995-96 season. He suited up with Tampa for most of the 1996-97 season but was traded to the Oilers in March for defenceman Jeff Norton.

Edmonton Journal Newspaper Clipping From March 19, 1997.

This trade is actually part of the Wayne Gretzky trade tree, as the Oilers acquired Norton for Igor Kravchuk, a defenceman who came back from the Chicago Blackhawks along with Dean McAmmond in exchange for Joe Murphy. The Oilers acquired Murphy a few years earlier from the Detroit Red Wings in a deal for Jimmy Carson, who was the best player Edmonton got back from the L.A. Kings for Gretzky.
Bannister suited up in all 12 playoff games for the Oilers in the spring of 1997 after he was traded to Edmonton, highlighted by their upset over the heavily favoured Dallas Stars in the first round. In January of the following season, Bannister was again traded, this time to the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim for defenceman Bobby Dollas.
After four more seasons spent between the NHL and the minors, Bannister made the move over to playing professionally in Europe. He started his coaching career as a player-coach in Great Britain and then joined the Owen Sound Attack of the OHL as an assistant. Since then, Bannister has been the head coach of the Soo Greyhounds, San Antonio Rampage, and Springfield Thunderbirds.

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