Edmonton Oilers Potential Head Coach Candidates

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Ken Holland was named the Edmonton Oilers new general manager and president of hockey operations. With that, the off-season officially began for the team.

In his introductory press conference, Holland said it’s his number-one priority to find a new head coach.

NHL free agent frenzy

Ken Hitchcock Won’t Return as Head Coach

Despite replacing Todd McLellan mid-season in 2018-19, Ken Hitchcock will not be returning as the Oilers head coach next season.

It was reported that he could possibly remain with Edmonton in an adviser role.

Potential Head Coach Candidates

At this point, we are not entirely sure who is at the top of Edmonton’s potential candidate list.

With that said, here is a list of prospective candidates the Oilers might be interested in pursuing in the coming weeks.

Is Todd Nelson Ready to be a Head Coach in the NHL?

Todd Nelson has a history with the Edmonton Oilers organization. He served as a head coach of the Oklahoma City Barons, the AHL team of Edmonton from 2010 to 2015.

Nelson also had a short stint as a head coach for the Oilers in 2015, after Edmonton fired Dallas Eakins in late 2014. Since then, Nelson has found success coaching the Grand Rapids Griffins to an AHL Championship in 2017.

Most recently he was the assistant coach of a Dallas Stars team that fell one game short of reaching the Western Conference Final.

All in all, Nelson has a pretty impressive resume and at 49-years-old it looks like he might be ready to become a full-time head coach in the NHL.

Can Lane Lambert be Another Strong Candidate?

Lane Lambert might be another name that the Oilers have on their candidate list.

The 54-year-old has spent the past several years building his resume. Lambert has been working under Barry Trotz for the past seven years. He served as an assistant coach under Trotz with the Nashville Predators, Washington Capitals, and most recently the New York Islanders.

Prior to that, Lambert coached in the AHL for six seasons, including four as a head coach for the Milwaukee Admirals.

Looking back further, Lambert played for Ken Holland in the Detroit Red Wings in the ’80s, so there is history there.

Overall, there is a lot to like about Lambert’s coaching experience. His impressive background could potentially make him a strong candidate for the job. 

Is Dave Tippett a Fit?

Despite being hired by Seattle’s expansion franchise as a senior advisor last summer, could Dave Tippett return as a head coach? Especially, if the Edmonton Oilers aggressively pursue him?

Tippett is currently one of the best available free agents coaches out there.

His long stints with the Dallas Stars and the Arizona Coyotes are well documented. Over the years, Tippett is well known for being a strong defensive-minded coach. His coaching style is something the Oilers could use. Granted that he is interested in returning to coaching, he might be a strong candidate to win the job. 

Perhaps it might be a bit of a long shot, but landing him would be a huge gain for the Oilers.

Other potential candidates

Other names that might be on the target list may include Trent Yawney, Jay Woodcroft, Dan Bylsma or Sheldon Keefe.

Better Make it Right

All in all, the Oilers should consider all options before making a decision.

Having only made the playoffs once in Connor McDavid’s four years in the NHL, they must try their best to give him the environment to succeed.

And it starts with hiring the right head coach for 2019-20 NHL season.

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