On Monday, we reported the news was coming sometime Tuesday. Around 8 am Mountain Time Tuesday, NHL insiders started reporting that the Edmonton Oilers had hired Dave Tippett as the team’s new head coach. The Oilers organization called for a press conference at 11 am Mountain Time to introduce him to the fan base and media.
Elliotte Friedman is reporting a three-year deal for the Oilers new bench boss.
What Tippett Brings to Edmonton
A veteran coach who spent seasons with the Arizona Coyotes and Dallas Stars, Tippett boasts a career 553-413-28-120 record over 1,114 career games. As head coach of the Coyotes, he won a Jack Adams Award during the 2009-10 season and was known for getting a great deal out of a team that didn’t have a great deal to offer.
Considered a defense-first kind of head coach, the Oilers certainly had trouble keeping their goals allowed down to a reasonable level. With 271 goals against this past regular season, they were tied for sixth-worst in the NHL and the team recognized this as an area that needed to improve. It was likely for this reason Tippett was always among the leading candidates for the job.
It was rumored the Oilers also considered a couple of strong candidates. Todd Nelson was discussed, but in the end, Ken Holland wanted a coach that had been around the block and have proven he could get this team to play a better-rounded game.
The challenge will be if Tippett can get the defense to play better while not stifling the offense.
The Tippett Press Conference
Holland said, “The first thing I did was reach out to Ken Hitchcock. I asked him to assist me in naming the next coach.” He thanked Ken and said they put together a list of about 15 candidates. He and Ken worked the phones, spoke to a lot of people and “Dave was always the leading candidate in my mind,” Holland said.
“I’m big on experience” Holland said. Saying he wanted someone behind the bench who has been through choppy waters, he’s got structure and he wants Dave to build the Oilers into an elite team.
Tippett thanked everyone and said he was excited about coaching in Canada. “I come to a team here that has good pieces and lots of upside. There’s more here than just McDavid and Draisaitl,” Tippett said.
Tippett said he and Holland are on the same page about the pace of play, structure and more. Saying a five-man attack from the blue line is imperative to be successful and when he answered the question about his reputation as a defense-first coach, he said he tries to figure out how to win with the team he has.
Tippett said he had not spoken with anyone about assistant coaching jobs. He wanted to speak with the current Oilers coaches first and go through the process of seeing where they are at.
Tippett Leaves Seattle to Join Oilers
This is an interesting hire for a number of reasons. For the Oilers, the choice to name Tippett coach is likely a smart and safe one by the organization. That said, the team was able to convince Tippett to leave a pretty good job with the Seattle expansion franchise to join the franchise.
Tippett spent this past season as a senior adviser for Seattle’s expansion organization. His name was thrown about in a number of scenarios with that team and many consider his taking the Oilers job a step-down, perhaps a lateral move at best. That said, Tippett confirmed he was never in the running, nor did he have an interest in being a GM in Seattle.
Instead, the calling to coach was likely a strong one. With Seattle still a ways away from playing their first games, Tippett got the itch to coach sooner than later. It was a feeling Holland knew well. He was set to stay with the Detroit Red Wings organization before realizing that not being a GM was going to be harder than he envisioned.
Tippett ended with this Oilers opportunity being one that was simply too good to pass up.
Jim Parsons is a senior THW freelance writer, part-time journalist and audio/video host who lives, eats, sleeps and breathes NHL news and rumors, while also writing features on the Edmonton Oilers. He’s been a trusted source for five-plus years at The Hockey Writers, but more than that, he’s on a mission to keep readers up to date with the latest NHL rumors and trade talk. Jim is a daily must for readers who want to be “in the know.”