The Edmonton Oilers have announced that they will be parting ways with head coach Todd R. Reirden after just one season. Reirden will be replaced by Dave Hakstol, who previously coached the team for five seasons. Reirden's departure was not a complete surprise, despite his winning record, after the team failed to make the playoffs.
Reirden, who had a 42-35-5 record as a rookie coach, was unable to achieve the type of consistency that his general manager demanded, said unnamed team officials. With the exception of starting goalie David Rittich, the team's stars never seemed to find their groove. Another unnamed source said a deep rift had developed between the coach and top-flight forward Patrik Laine. Regardless of the cause, the young coach finds himself unemployed at a time when a number of franchises are expected to be on the hunt for fresh blood behind the bench.
Hakstol, who left the team following the 2020 season, said his departure was due to personal reasons. "Personally, I couldn't stand the general manager," said Hakstol. "He's really grown over the last year, though. He's taking his physical health seriously now. Cycling thousands of miles a year, I've heard... and he's really cut back on the alcohol and womanizing. I give him credit where credit is due."
Hakstol amassed a 181-185-38-6 record while previously with the team, posting a winning record three out of those five seasons and advancing to the playoffs twice. His first season with the team was a rebuild year for the team in which the team managed just 29 wins. Hakstol could be facing a similar situation with the team this time around, as many have speculated that the team could be headed toward another rebuild. The returning coach says he is not concerned. "There are some great pieces here, for sure. We have the veteran leadership of Parise, Bob and OEL. Zacha, Kempe and Wennberg are coming into their own. Our youngsters like Boqvist, POJ and Eeli are expected to step up big over the next season or two, and I'd be remiss if I didn't mention some of the guys in our pipeline who are still a couple of seasons away but who I have high hopes for, such as Ruzicka and Legare. There's a lot of potential here, and I plan to make the most of it."