McLellan Hire Creates an Exciting Buzz around Edmonton
Monday signalled a dawn of a new coaching era in Edmonton as the Oilers officially hired Todd McLellan as the 14th Coach in Oilers NHL history. After coaching Team Canada to gold at the IIHF World Championships, McLellan graciously accepted his new NHL Head Coaching role.
Prior to signing on with the Oil, McLellan coached the Sharks from 2008-09 up until this year. McLellan’s record with the Sharks was 311-163-66. That included several playoff runs, including appearances the Conference Finals in 2010 and 2011. Recently, McLellan coached Team Canada to a gold medal at the World Championships, a first for Canada since 2007. This edition of the team included Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle from the Oilers.
McLellan has won on several different levels as well. With the Swift Current Broncos of the WHL, he coached the team to divisional titles in 1996 and 2000. He won the Calder Cup with the Houston Aeros in 2003. And then with Detroit in 2008, McLellan won the Stanley Cup as an assistant coach under Mike Babcock.
Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli had this to say about his new coach:
“The reason why Todd was the top candidate in my mind, watching his teams over the last number of years, from the San Jose perspective, he’s taken a team with a number of young players to a level close to the Cup,”
“I’ve seen what he’s done with those players, and talking about those types of skilled players that learned how to play hard, I think he’s done a good job. His level of energy and his level of thinking has really impressed me, and if you look at him behind the bench, he’s really active and I think he’s a terrific bench manager.”
What to think of it?
These are exciting times for Oilers fans. Ever since winning the Draft Lottery, the “McDavid Effect” has been rippling across the entire fanbase. It’s almost amazing what a few ping pong balls can do for a franchise.
In comparison to the past few coaches that the Oilers have had, McLellan is a experienced coach that will be focused on building a winning team. Part of the problem in Edmonton in the last few years was that the coaches were transitional and never part of a solution. It was almost as if a failed scientific experiment was taking place.
With experienced management at the helm bringing in qualified people, fans can once again be optimistic about the future in Edmonton. Even though the Oilers have not made the playoff since their improbable run in 2006, there is a positive playoff-like buzz around Edmonton.
As much as there is to be excited about, the job is not over for McLellan, Chiarelli and the Oilers. They have lots of holes to fill. Although this team has the potential to be an offensive juggernaut, this team lack skill on the blue line and between the pipes. It will be interesting what kind of deals and decisions the Oilers will make to address these needs.
Regardless, Oilers fans can’t wait for Opening Night to see what this new team will look like.
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