The next step of the Edmonton Oilers' rebuild will feature a different face behind the bench.
The Oilers cut ties with coach Tom Renney on Thursday after two seasons that saw an upgrade in the team's talent base but not in its on-ice performance. Edmonton went 57-85-22 under Renney, finishing last in the Northwest Division both times. The Oilers were 32-40-10 this season, 29th in the 30-team League, after going a league-worst 25-45-12 in 2010-11, Renney's first season with the team.
"Tom's done some great things for our hockey club," said GM Steve Tambellini, who told Renney of the decision not to renew his contract earlier in the day, "but we felt it was the right decision to make a change."
Tambellini did not announce a replacement.
"There are a few people we have interest in," he said. "I would hope to have something in place prior to the draft." He also said the new coach will be consulted regarding the status of the current assistant and associate coaches.
Whoever replaces Renney will be the fourth coach for the Oilers since Tambellini became GM in July 2008. Craig MacTavish, the last coach to get the Oilers into the playoffs when he led them to the 2006 Stanley Cup Final, was let go at the end of the 2008-09 season and replaced by Pat Quinn. But Quinn, who had Renney on his staff as an assistant, worked only one season behind the bench before Renney got the job.
"I want to stop talking re: rebuild, but we've got to develop, get better." -
Renney is considered one of the best teachers in the game -- a trait regarded as a key for an Oilers team that has emerging young talent such as back-to-back No. 1 picks Taylor Hall and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and first-rounders Jordan Eberle and Sam Gagner. But the team struggled on defense in both of Renney's seasons and received inconsistent goaltending.
The 57-year-old had coached previously with the Vancouver Canucks and New York Rangers before coming to Edmonton.