Coming into the season, one of the coaches most often listed as on the “hot seat” was Edmonton Oilers boss Todd McLellan. Much of that speculation came from the disappointing 2017-18 season when the Oilers missed the playoffs entirely despite another Art Ross-winning season from Connor McDavid, and it has recently resurfaced as the team went through an ugly four-game losing streak. According to Darren Dreger of TSN on the latest Insider Trading though, that speculation surrounding McLellan is somewhat unfounded as the team’s leadership met and have decided to “stay the course” for now.
The Oilers did demolish the Montreal Canadiens on home ice this week, but will have a tough back-to-back against the Calgary Flames and Vegas Golden Knights this weekend that could put them back under the .500 mark and in danger of falling down the Pacific Division standings. The San Jose Sharks lead the most wide open division in hockey right now, that has only a single team—Arizona—with a positive goal differential and just six points separating first and seventh place.
With plenty of opportunity to succeed in the Pacific, and arguably the game’s top player performing at such a high level, the Oilers should be able to get back to the playoffs this season. If things take a turn though, McLellan’s seat could get warm pretty quickly. The team does have a former NHL head coach on the staff already, as they brought in Glen Gulutzan as an assistant for McLellan this summer. Gulutzan has been the boss in both Calgary and Dallas, though it’s not clear where the Oilers would turn if they decided to make a change.