I still remember the day the NHL draft lottery revealed that the Edmonton Oilers would have the first pick, meaning that the oilers would get Connor McDavid. A warm sunny afternoon in Mesa, Arizona. My wife and I hugged each other.
Then, Oiler management had to build a team around him. The first couple of years they hsad to fine linemates to take advantage of his skills (Remember Ty Rattie?). Well, that has happened. Two years ago they went to the Conference Final and last year they lost in the second round. This year the Stanley Cup or bust.
The Oilers got Connor Brown, this year. Brown was a former teammate of McDavid, back with the Erie Otters. Brown so far is pointless with a -5 +/- rating. He is now injured. The oilers hired Jeff Jackson to be the CEO of Hockey Operations. Jackson used to be McDavid’s player agent. Yesterday, the Oilers fired their coach, Jay Woodcroft. Woodcroft coached the Oilers to the Conference finals, two years ago and last year, as already mentioned, the second round. They replaced him Kris Knoblauch, Head Coach of the New York Rangers AHL affiliate Hartford Wolfpack. Knoblauch coached McDavid when McDavid was on the Erie Otters.
The Oilers are off to a bad start, this year. They have won only three of their first 13 games. Since Woodcroft joined the Oilers as coach, he has had the 6th best record in the NHL and last year, the Oilers got more points than they had in 30 years. Yet now he is gone.
The optics are not good. Oiler management insists that McDavid played no role in the firing of Woodcroft and the hiring of Knoblauch. I have a bridge in Brooklyn that I can sell at a cheap price. One more thing. Knoblauch’s assistant coach will be former Oiler great, Paul Coffee. Coffee has no NHL coaching experience. For years, Oiler fans complained about the Oilers old boy club. Now, here we are.
Things could turn out well. Things might not. Connor, for your sake, this better work.