Jay Woodcroft, the interim coach who stepped in for the fired Dave Tippett in February, has lost the “interim” tag. He and the Edmonton Oilers have agreed to a three-year deal, according to Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos.
— Nick Kypreos (@RealKyper) June 21, 2022
Jay Woodcroft is Official
It’s no surprise that the Edmonton Oilers decided to give Woodcroft’s job official status. The rookie NHL coach took over when the team was mired in a five-game losing streak. More than that, though, the Oilers stumbled badly after opening the season 16-5-0. From December 3rd to February 9th – the last game Dave Tippett coached – they endured six- and seven-game losing streaks. In total, they went 7-13-3. After two seasons of playoff misery with Tippett, fans were ready for a change.
It came quickly, too, with him taking up the head coaching position one day after Tippett’s firing. It took Woodcroft’s first five games to get a five-game win streak going. The coaching change revitalized the team, and Edmonton finished the season going 26-9-3, securing second place in the Pacific Division. That success continued into the playoffs, where Edmonton went to the conference final for the first time since 2005-06.
Getting asked about Jay Woodcroft a lot lately.
Fully expect Woodcroft (and Dave Manson) to receive multi-year extensions before the end of June.
— Bob Stauffer (@Bob_Stauffer) June 16, 2022
From Then to Now
Jay Woodcroft had a brief playing career in lower-level leagues in North America and a season in Europe. In 2005, he decided to try his hand at off-ice work, becoming the video coach for the Detroit Red Wings. He followed Todd McLellan to San Jose when McLellan was hired to be their head coach in 2008. Woodcroft later came to Edmonton with McLellan again after the Sharks cleaned house in 2015.
After the 2017-18 season, the Oilers had a purge of assistant coaches, firing two and moving Woodcroft to head coach of Edmonton’s AHL team. He was successful there, winning a Pacific Division title and making the playoffs twice. That was enough to win him – and defence coach Dave Manson – promotion to the NHL club again with Tippett’s release.
The real clincher for keeping Woodcroft behind the bench is what happened in May. A seven-game series win over the Los Angeles Kings and then five-game domination of the hated Calgary Flames made their loss to the Colorado Avalanche moot. Next season – and likely all of three more – Jay Woodcroft is the head coach of the Edmonton Oilers.