The first management move of the Ken Holland era has been completed. Craig MacTavish is out in Edmonton and has taken a heading coaching job in the KHL. As per Igor Eronko, MacT is off to Lokomotiv on a two-year contract.
Craig MacTavish signed a 2-year deal with Lokomotiv of the KHL. Another option for the head coach position was Kari Jalonen— Igor Eronko (@IgorEronko) May 16, 2019
MacTavish has served as the Senior Vice President of Hockey Operations since April of 2015, when he was replaced as General Manager of the club by Peter Chiarelli. He’s spent the last six seasons in a prominent front office job, four as Senior VP and two as GM of the club.
MacTavish, of course, is best known as being a member of the Old Boys Club, who played for Edmonton in the 1980’s and 1990’s and won multiple Stanley Cups as a player. He served as head coach of the organization from 2000-2009 before stepping back behind the bench briefly for five games during the 2014-15 season.
I like MacT more than most in Edmonton, but I think it was time that he and the organization went their separate ways. Edmonton has to clean out the OBC and today was a step in that direction. I’ve always thought MacT was a better coach than manager, and I wouldn’t be shocked if this was part of a plan to get back behind an NHL bench in a few years time.
He always got the most out of his players when he was coaching, and I respect how all of his guys bought into his system. He was willing to work with players and teach, and that is such an important skill. He’s a good coach.
I wish MacTavish the best, but I think this is the right move for both he and the Oilers. From a PR standpoint, this is a win for the Oilers. They move out a core member of the OBC without having to fire him. That has to please Bob Nicholson from an optics standpoint.
I don’t think MacTavish will be the last one to go this summer, and I’d be focusing on Duane Sutter and Bill Scott next.