Bob McKenzie tweeted moments ago that the Oilers are expected to announce a new coach tomorrow. BM also said it is expected to be Ralph Krueger.
I like the Krueger choice on a couple of levels. It isn’t the old boys network at work (God knows we saw enough of that in Toronto today with the HHOF announcements) and the coach is familiar to the players. Krueger also held certain veterans accountable during his brief time in the hotseat when Renney took a rubber bullet to the brainery last season.
The major issues for Krueger will be to:
- find six defensemen amongst the men employed by the Oilers to play the position.
- get more out of veterans in tough minutes roles
- convince the management to acquire a quality backup goaltender.
- keep those gifted kids developing.
- win enough games in order to be a possible buyer at the deadline.
It’s a long list for a new coach–and #5 is a massive reach–but I think expectations should be high. The Oilers seem to be stepping a little more expertly these days and the verbal from management appears to be marching in lock step with actual need. We’ll be able to party like idiots if this management group acquires at least one upright defenseman (without trading Tom Gilbert at the same time) in the next 7 days.