Jay Woodcroft was fired as coach of the Edmonton Oilers on Sunday.
The Oilers (3-9-1) are coming off a 4-1 victory at the Seattle Kraken on Saturday, but are seventh in the Pacific Division, ahead of only the San Jose Sharks (2-11-1). They are 2-7-1 in their last 10 games and 0-4-1 at Rogers Place, with their only home win coming when they hosted the 2023 Tim Hortons NHL Heritage Classic at Commonwealth Stadium on October 29 (a 5-2 victory against the Calgary Flames).
Edmonton hosts the New York Islanders on Monday (8:30 p.m. ET; TVAS, SN, MSGSN).
“I woke up this morning, we got in late last night, and I called ‘Woody’ and (assistant coach) Dave Manson to let them know we were making a coaching change,” the general manager said. of the Oilers, Ken Holland. “I have a relationship with ‘Woody’ that dates back to 2005 when he was a video coach with the Detroit Red Wings. I want to thank them for their contributions to our team over the past two years, helping us to go to the Final Four and “
The 47-year-old was 79-41-13 in 133 regular season games over three seasons with the Oilers and was 14-14 in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. He replaced Dave Tippett as coach on February 10, 2022, after leading Edmonton’s American Hockey League affiliate in Bakersfield for four seasons.
Kris Knoblauch was named Woodcroft’s replacement. The 45-year-old coached the New York Rangers’ AHL affiliate for four seasons and will lead an NHL team for the first time. He coached Oilers captain Connor McDavid for three seasons (2012-15) in Erie of the Ontario Hockey League, where the forward had 285 points (97 goals, 188 assists) in 166 games, including 44 goals and 120 points (2.55 points per game). ) in his final season before Edmonton selected him first overall in the 2015 NHL Draft.
“As for this opportunity, it’s an incredible opportunity,” Knoblauch said. “It’s been a crazy last 24 hours for me. I was on the bench yesterday in Hartford and I flew out here to be able to coach the Edmonton Oilers with such a strong hockey culture, history and passionate fans, to be here as head coach, it’s kind of a dream for me.”
Manson was replaced by Paul Coffey, a 2004 Hockey Hall of Fame inductee, four-time Stanley Cup champion (three with Edmonton) and three-time Norris Trophy winner whose 48 goals for the Oilers in 1985-86 constitute an NHL single-season record. by a defender.
Under Woodcroft, the Oilers qualified for the playoffs in each of the last two seasons, but were eliminated each time by the eventual Stanley Cup champion. They were swept by the Colorado Avalanche in the 2022 Western Conference Finals and lost in six games to the Vegas Golden Knights in the Western Conference second round last season.
This season, Edmonton ranks 29th in the NHL in goals allowed per game (3.92), ahead of only the Minnesota Wild (3.93) and San Jose (4.43). McDavid has 10 points (two goals, eight assists) in 11 games and has gone scoreless in 10 straight games after a 65-goal, 153-point season. Leon Draisaitl, scorer of 50 goals in consecutive seasons and three times in the NHL, has five in 13 games.
“I was hoping we were going to win a game, and after we lost the game to San Jose (3-2) on Thursday night, (Oilers CEO Jeff Jackson) and I started talking very seriously, ‘Should- consider us creating coaching? change” and obviously made the decision to make that decision,” Holland said.
Hartford assistant Steve Smith, a three-time Cup-winning defenseman with the Oilers (1987, ’88, ’90), replaced Knoblauch on an interim basis and the search for a new coach began immediately.
NHL.com writer Derek Van Diest contributed to this report.