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BLOG: McLellan welcoming fresh opinion from new coaching staff

"I haven't shared my thoughts on a lot of players to the coaching staff yet. I want them to formulate opinions."

by Jamie Umbach /

EDMONTON, AB - Instead of imposing his thoughts and approach on new assistant coaches Glen Gulutzan, Trent Yawney, and Manny Viveiros this off-season, Oilers head coach Todd McLellan is doing the opposite.

"I haven't shared my thoughts on a lot of players to the coaching staff yet," McLellan said.

"I want them to formulate opinions."

Speaking to the media from the Mark Spector Golf Classic at The Quarry Golf Club on Wednesday during his first availability of the summer, McLellan specified the need for fresh eyes on the group to help them rebound from a disappointing season in 2017-18.

Video: RAW | Todd McLellan

"The off-season's not necessarily about acquiring new players, it's about getting more out of what we have," McLellan added.

"What tends to happen is that players get a fresh set of eyes on them - a new opportunity to form a new opinion. Obviously if the coaches ask questions I'll answer them, but they're all experienced individuals who'll create their own set of relationships with the players and hopefully that will help us get more out of the group."

An internal audit of his team and small, impactful changes will help the Oilers regain their footing after taking a step back last year.

"There isn't a single individual who's happy with the way last year went, and it's almost been a year to the date exactly when we were standing here talking about having a chance to move the needle forward and deal with success from a year prior," McLellan said. "We tried to fill holes and find personalities we thought would blend together."

The new coaching staff has had plenty time to meet and plan this summer, including time at the draft and in Kelowna, BC during a four-day hockey summit to iron out details for the upcoming season.

Gulutzan and Yawney provided extra insight as opposing coaches having faced the Oilers multiple times in past years with the Pacific Division's Calgary Flames and Anaheim Ducks.

"We're working diligently on our roles, where we see the team, where the game is going, and what we can do as a team differently to improve our play," McLellan said. "I thought it was very interesting to hear the opinions of rival coaches on what our team may have done well or didn't do well.

"As the players are working over the summer to improve their game, so are the coaches."


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