Edmonton Oilers fire head coach Jay Woodcroft
(Photo Credit: @EdmontonOilers/ Twitter)

The Edmonton Oilers have fired head coach Jay Woodcroft and assistant coach Dave Manson after getting off to an ugly 3-9-1 start to the 2023-24 season.

Woodcroft had been the Oilers’ head coach since February 2022 when he took over for the fired Dave Tippett.

In a surprising move, the Oilers announced Woodcroft’s firing on Sunday, just hours after the team picked up a 4-1 road win against the Seattle Kraken.

The victory snapped a four-game losing streak for the Oilers. However, it was not enough to save Woodcroft’s job as the team has lost 10 of its first 13 games this season.

The Oilers, considered a top Stanley Cup contender entering this season, currently sit second-last in the Western Conference ahead of only the San Jose Sharks.

A major factor in the team’s struggles has been disastrous goaltending, with the Oilers ranking dead last in the NHL in team save percentage at .864.

Replacing Woodcroft will be Kris Knoblauch, who was most recently the head coach of the AHL’s Hartford Wolf Pack. Knoblauch previously coached Oilers superstar Connor McDavid during his junior hockey days with the Erie Otters of the OHL from 2012-2015.

Knoblauch will be tasked with turning around an Oilers team that is underperforming despite having two of the league’s top scorers in McDavid and Leon Draisaitl. McDavid, the reigning Hart Trophy winner, has just 10 points in 11 games so far this season.

The Oilers were hoping Woodcroft could build on last season’s trip to the Western Conference Final. But the team’s porous defense and league-worst goaltending led to their ugly start, ultimately costing Woodcroft his job.

Edmonton GM Ken Holland said the team couldn’t wait any longer to make a change after the embarrassing 3-2 loss to the last-place Sharks earlier in the week.

The Oilers will look to start fresh under Knoblauch, who becomes the organization’s 10th coach in the last 15 seasons.

The Oilers will need to quickly improve under their new coach if they hope to get back in the playoff hunt in the tough Western Conference.

Edmonton faces a crucial stretch of games coming up as the team tries to save its season after this coaching shakeup.