Oilers’ hiring of Kris Knoblauch invites questions about franchise’s decision-making

The Edmonton Oilers’ decision to bring Kris Knoblauch on as their new head coach may be seen as exceptional, but it raises questions about the team’s motives. Among the speculations is the possibility that they’re prioritizing appeasing Connor McDavid over making strategic coaching decisions.

Kris Knoblauch is in a position to succeed, but that doesn't mean the Oilers made the best choice for their franchise. (Jason Franson/CP)

Kris Knoblauch is in a position to succeed, but that doesn’t mean the Oilers made the best choice for their franchise. (Jason Franson/CP)

Knoblauch’s track record has seen success at the CHL level, but his experience coaching men at the highest level is relatively limited and his NHL head-coaching candidacy is not without scrutiny.

Before joining the Oilers, Knoblauch was an assistant with the Philadelphia Flyers and served as head coach of the AHL’s Hartford Wolfpack. Despite this experience, his impact and success are not as substantial, as evidenced by the Wolfpack’s performance during his tenure.

This leaves room for speculation regarding the influence of McDavid on the hiring decision, and the involvement of the Oilers’ players in shaping the team’s coaching direction. The prevalent uncertainty suggests a potential imbalance and introspection within the organization.

  1. The Oilers’ consultation of their players in regards to coaching choices, particularly McDavid, is unclear, and there are conflicting messages that question the intent behind the decision-making process.

  2. The alternative explanation implies that the Oilers may have chosen to prioritize keeping McDavid content over other significant coaching considerations, thus either purposefully or inadvertently granting him substantial influence.

Additionally, the appointment of Paul Coffey, a legendary figure, as an assistant to Knoblauch has prompted further skepticism about Edmonton’s decision-making. Coffee’s coaching experience is limited and raises concerns about the overall strategy of the Oilers’ coaching appointments.

While it’s premature to pass definitive judgment on Edmonton’s coaching decisions, the upcoming season will shed light on the implications of the changes they have made. Despite these uncertainties, the Oilers’ solid foundation and potential indicate possible success in the future.

However, the lingering doubts about the Oilers’ recruitment process and the perceived influence of McDavid on the team’s internal dynamics challenge the validity and health of the organization’s decision-making.


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