Edmonton Oilers fire coach Jay Woodcroft after 3-9-1 start to season

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The Edmonton Oilers fired head coach Jay Woodcroft and assistant coach Dave Manson, the franchise announced Sunday. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Edmonton is 3-9-1 this season, tied for the second-worst record in the NHL. The Oilers have lost eight of their last 10 games.
  • Hartford Wolf Pack head coach Kris Knoblauch will replace Woodcroft in Edmonton on an interim basis. Steve Smith will take over as interim coach in Hartford following Knoblauch’s departure, per a league source.
  • Woodcroft took over for Dave Tippett in February of 2022 and led the Oilers to a 79-41-13 record. It is the fifth-best coaching record in the NHL over that time.
  • Oilers star Connor McDavid has only 10 points this season, an 80-point pace, which would be the lowest output of his career other than his injury-shortened rookie campaign in 2015-16. He told members of the media this week his confidence is “not very high.”

What Knoblauch brings to Oilers

Knoblauch coached McDavid for three years with the OHL’s Erie Otters and has been considered an up-and-coming name to watch in NHL circles. He becomes the fifth head coach to lead the Oilers during Edmonton’s McDavid/Leon Draisaitl Era, following Woodcroft, Tippett, Ken Hitchcock and Todd McLellan.

Knoblauch most recently worked as the head coach of the AHL’s Hartford Wolf Pack, spending parts of five seasons there, and had a two-year run as an assistant on Dave Hakstol’s staff with the Philadelphia Flyers prior to that. His resume also includes a highly successful coaching career in junior hockey, winning an OHL title with Erie in 2017 and a WHL title with Kootenay in 2011. A seventh-round draft pick of the New York Islanders in 1997, Knoblauch’s playing career included five years with the University of Alberta Golden Bears in Edmonton. — Chris Johnston, senior NHL writer

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(Photo: Sergei Belski / USA Today)

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