Oilers remove interim tag, sign head coach Jay Woodcroft to three-year extension

The Edmonton Oilers removed the interim tag and named Jay Woodcroft head coach of the club Tuesday.

Woodcroft’s contract will run through the 2024-25 season. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

A member of the organization since 2015 when he was first hired as an assistant coach, Woodcroft was promoted to interim head coach on Feb. 10 when the struggling Oilers fired Dave Tippett. While they sat five points out of the playoffs when the move was made, the Oilers surged under Woodcroft.

Between his promotion and the end of the season, the Oilers posted the third-best record in the league, going 26-9-3 and securing points in 72.4 percent of their games. It landed the Oilers second in the NHL’s Pacific Division and earned them a first-round matchup with the L.A. Kings. Down 3-2 after five games, the Oilers were forced into L.A. for Game 6 — a game they won — before returning home to close out the series in Game 7.

While the world picked the Calgary Flames to topple the Oilers in a second-round matchup, Edmonton roared back after dropping Game 1 9-6 to win in five. The powerhouse Colorado Avalanche dispatched the Oilers in four games, but many have looked at the season in Edmonton as a success.

“We’re happy with how far we got in the 2022 playoffs,” said Woodcroft in a season-ending press conference. “When I say happy, we’re pleased with how we took a step here, but we’re not satisfied. Our bellies aren’t full.”

Prior to his promotion to the big club, Woodcroft spent three years as head coach of the AHL’s Bakersfield Condors, the Oilers’ affiliate. There, he posted a 105-71-12-9 record, winning the 2018-19 Pacific Division title, as well as the Pacific Division playoff championship in a COVID-shortened 2020-21 campaign.

Woodcroft and Oilers general manager Ken Holland are expected to speak to the media in Edmonton Wednesday.

Zach Laing is the Nation Network’s news director and senior columnist. He can be followed on Twitter at @zjlaing, or reached by email at [email protected]

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