Yeah. I thinks so.
If Nicholson had finished his evaluation of the current management group and concluded that they were the right group going forward he would have made that announcement by now but it was clear in his press conference that he wants to wait until the playoffs are over.
The only reason to wait for the end of the playoffs before an announcement is he has decided that the current group just isn’t getting the job done but hasn’t settled on the replacements yet. There may be potential pieces to this puzzle who are currently working for other teams and Bob hasn’t yet had the chance to recruit them.
I think we’ll see Kevin Lowe, Scott Howson and Craig MacTavish relieved of their duties before the draft and the new management team announced followed shortly with an announcement of who the new coach will be.
Bob Nicholson has so many hockey connections to guys that would be great for the job there is no doubt in my mind that he’ll put together a winning combination and I wouldn’t be surprised at all if Peter Chiarelli is involved at some level.
What About The Coach
Todd Nelson did an admiral job down the stretch for the Oilers considering the roster he had to work with but if the Oilers are serious about making the playoffs next season they’re going to need more experience behind the bench. Like everybody else I would love to see Mike Babcock come to Edmonton when his contract expires in Detroit at the end of the season and there is a real strong connection between Babcock and Nicholson so you never know. Winning the draft lottery and the right to draft Connor McDavid really makes Edmonton a much more attractive destination for prospective coaches, so I really think bringing in Babcock is within the realm of possibilities.
Outside of Babcock I would give Todd McLellan really strong consideration and we know the Oilers have already reached out to McLellan to gauge his interest. It will be interesting to see how McLellan uses Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle in the up coming world championships where he has been named the head coach.
I’ve heard a lot of people suggesting to keep Todd Nelson or recruit Dan Bylsma as an associate coach but honestly I would like to see the Oilers make a decision on the head coach and then let him pick his assistants.