Friday, May 16, 2008

Coaching Carousel

Seeing as Kevin Lowe has come out and said Rob Daum won't be back with the Oilers in his assistant coaching position, I figured I would throw my 2 cents on the situation.

It seems pretty obvious to me (and likely many others as well) that the Oilers will bring Kelly Buchberger up to the big club as an assistant coach next season. I think this was decided before last season. Rob Daum's one year contract tells me that, and so have some other people in the last couple of weeks.

Where that leaves Rob Daum is the million dollar question. I have heard from more than one person that with Buchberger leaving Springfield, the job was going to Jeff Truitt, an assistant coach in Springfield this year. That is until Daum threw his hat in the ring. Daum should likely get the job if he wants it, which I'm told he does. Truitt is a good young up and coming coach. He spent 5 years as an assistant coach in the WHL before getting the head coaching job in Kelowna and guiding the Rockets to a Memorial Cup berth in 2005. His time will come, but it might not be now if Daum is in the running.

Rob Daum has coached at the WHL level and has excelled at the CIS level. He also won 50 games as the bench boss for the Houston Aeros. But all of these credentials makes me think he won't be coaching in Springfield. I think Rob Daum might get scooped up by an NHL team. After all, it happened to Geoff Ward last summer (joining the Boston Bruins as an assistant coach) and he only has one more year of head coaching experience at the AHL level than Daum. I know it's all about connections, but I find it hard to believe that Rob Daum doesn't know enough people in the league to atleast warrant a few phone calls or an interview.

What puzzles me is how the Oilers did this. On August 1st, 2007, Geoff Ward joined the Bruins, saying goodbye to his job as head coach in Springfield. 2 Days later the Oilers handed Ward's old job to Buchberger. Then on August 13th, they hired Daum as an assistant coach. If their plan all along was to bring Buchy up to the big club, why not do it then, offer Daum the minor league position and you don't have to make an awkward switch this year?

In a sense, Daum was a lame duck coach this year, possibly knowing when he was hired that he wouldn't be back next year and that this was Craig Mactavish's plan all along. MacTavish is the head coach, and he should get to choose his staff, but it still seems odd that he would bring a guy knowing he wouldn't be around the next season.

In the bigger picture, I think Rob Daum will be the best thing for the Oilers prospects on the farm, if he makes it there. If not, then Truitt will likely get the gig and probably to a great job, but the Oilers will lose a brilliant mind in Rob Daum should another NHL team snap him up.

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