The Edmonton Oilers are close to hiring their next coach, no later than the end of the month, the Edmonton Journal reported Thursday.
Reports suggest it will be Todd McLellan, who left the San Jose Sharks after coaching them for the past seven seasons. McLellan is in Prague coaching Canada in the IIHF World Championship, which ends Sunday.
McLellan reportedly met with Oilers general manager Peter Chiarelli during the tournament.
"I think the [hiring] process is moving forward," Oilers vice president of communications Tim Shipton told the newspaper. "I don’t get the sense that they want it to be a long, drawn-out effort. The process continues. I don't think things are signed, sealed and delivered with any coach at the moment."
No decision is expected before Monday.
McLellan and the Sharks mutually parted April 20. He was 311-163-66, coached them into the Stanley Cup Playoffs in his first six seasons, and reached the Western Conference Final in 2010 and 2011. This season, the Sharks finished with 89 points, 10 points behind the Winnipeg Jets for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the West.
"I've been impressed," Oilers forward Jordan Eberle, playing for Canada, told the Edmonton Sun from the tournament. "In a short-term event like this, sometimes the coaches can be a little lighthearted, but so far McLellan has been on track and on the ball every step of the way.
"... I have nothing but positive things to say so far. ... Hopefully he's one of the candidates. I look forward to see what's going to happen there."
The Oilers were 24-44-14 this season, coached by Dallas Eakins, who was fired Dec. 15, and Todd Nelson. Chiarelli was hired as GM on April 24.