One of Peter Chiarelli’s first tasks in rebuilding the Edmonton Oilers as the team’s new general manager is finding a long-term head coach.
According to Terry Jones of the Edmonton Sun, Chiarelli already has interviewed the best free-agent coach on the market in Todd McLellan, who’s currently behind the bench for Team Canada at the IIHF World Championships in the Czech Republic.
“It’s believed the interview was the No. 1 reason Chiarelli made the trip over here,” Jones wrote. “McLellan would not characterize the interview but there was certainly nothing in his manner to suggest it didn’t go well.”
The Sharks went 311-163-66 in seven seasons and advanced to the conference semifinals or further in three of their six playoff runs under McLellan. The two sides mutually parted ways last month after San Jose missed the playoffs.
The Oilers have an inexperienced team with a lot of young, talented forwards. That group, which already includes stars such as Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, is expected to add highly prized prospect Connor McDavid with the No. 1 pick in the 2015 NHL Draft.
McLellan has a lot of experience coaching top-six forwards after getting fantastic regular-season scoring production out of Joe Thornton, Logan Couture, Patrick Marleau and Joe Pavelski during his tenure with the Sharks.
There’s no rush for McLellan to make a decision, especially when there are a few high-profile jobs available, including Toronto and Philadelphia. That said, there’s no question he would be a good fit in Edmonton given his experience with the Sharks and winning a Stanley Cup as an assistant to Mike Babcock in Detroit.
Thumbnail photo via Matt Kartozian/USA TODAY Sports Images
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