Over at the Edmonton Journal, Jim Matheson wonders about the possibility of a familiar face coming back into the Oiler fold.
Craig MacTavish — who coached Edmonton from 2000-09 — spent last season as the bench boss of Vancouver’s AHL affiliate in Chicago, but given his ties to the Edmonton organization and the fact the organization is currently without a head coach, some are talking return.
Matheson notes MacT might not be going back to Oil Country for a coaching gig, though.
I keep hearing that Craig MacTavish is returning to the Oilers, not to coach, but in, say, the hockey ops department.
The Oilers won’t comment yea or nay on whether MacTavish, who left the Oilers in 2009 after coaching them for eight years, could return in some capacity. Maybe I’m being led astray by the background chatter, but would it be a stretch to have MacTavish, who got his master’s degree in business from Queen’s University after leaving the coaching gig here, return to assist Kevin Lowe, the team’s president of hockey operations? An extra set of eyes and ears, a sounding board for evaluations? A smart hockey man. Even after leaving the Oilers in 2009, and before he got a coaching gig with the Chicago Wolves last summer, MacTavish was quietly doing some behind the scenes scouting for the Oilers.
It would make sense for GM Steve Tambellini to have “an extra set of eyes and ears” heading into a crucially important offseason. The Oilers hold the first overall pick at the NHL Entry Draft for an unprecedented third straight year and have big free agent decisions to make (most notably, Sam Gagner and Ryan Smyth.)
The Oilers also need to take a step forward, standings-wise, after three successive seasons of 75 points or fewer.
So a potential MacTavish hire makes sense…but maybe not for MacTavish. He might want to remain active in the coaching ranks, stick with Chicago and hope an NHL gig opens up (like last season, when seven did.)