Woodcroft, Oilers ready to build the ultimate look for the conference

Jay Woodcroft said the Edmonton Oilers are simply not satisfied with reaching the Western Conference final this season.

“For us, we are driven to take the next step, to ask ourselves tough questions, to be open to looking for answers to try and move us forward,” the Oilers coach said on Wednesday.

Woodcroft’s contract as Edmonton coach has been extended During the 2024-25 season Tuesday. The 45-year-old, who took over after Dave Tibbett was sent off on February 10, went 26-9-3 to help the Oilers go from six points off the Stanley Cup berth to second in the Pacific Division (49). -27-6).

But the message on Wednesday was that more work had to be done, and it had to start now.

“For me, that starts with being disciplined with summer time, making sure we do the work necessary to feel good heading into bootcamp, and being ready to lay the groundwork in bootcamp that will lay the groundwork for us to achieve success over an 82-game schedule,” Woodcroft said. Lee, I’m excited to roll up my sleeves and get to work in September because I really believe that’s where a lot of the gains can be made.

“We try to get better every day, not by accident but on purpose.”

The Oilers defeated the Los Angeles Kings in seven games in the first round and eliminated the Calgary Flames in five games in the second round before being swept away by the Colorado Avalanche in the Conference Final. This was the furthest Edmonton has gone in the postseason since 2006, when they lost the Stanley Cup Final to the Carolina Hurricanes in seven games.

“No Ken [Holland, Oilers general manager] “I’ve had some really good exit meetings, and good feedback from our players,” Woodcroft said. The folks at our organization, this year’s edition, have tasted playing deep in the playoffs, playing hockey in the month of June. But I don’t think anyone is satisfied with just that. We understand that a lot of work will be required to get the season we want next year.”

Woodcroft said he will speak in the coming days with his assistants Dave Manson, Glenn Golotzan and Brian Wiseman about the contract extension.

Woodcroft was promoted to his first NHL job from Bakersfield from the American Hockey League, where he was coach of the Oilers top development team from 2018-22.

Having taken over at Edmonton, the Oilers had 0.724 percentage points from February 11 through the end of the regular season, and tied with the Flames for second in the NHL in that period, behind the Florida Panthers (.757). Edmonton also improved on goal difference under Woodcroft, going from 3.18 goals per game (12th in the NHL) and 3.32 goals allowed per game (23rd tied) before coming to 3.82 goals per game (5th) and 2.76 goals allowed by him in every match (restricted fifth).

Holland said the task was simple when Woodcroft was brought in: get the Oilers into the playoffs.

“No. 1, Jay ladder,” Holland said. “He came and made the required decisions and the team responded and played at a high level. In talking to the players in exit meetings, they all believe in his direction. They all believe in his leadership and believe in his communication.”

Holland said he began his one-on-one dialogue with Woodcroft regarding the contract extension on June 14 before reaching an agreement on Tuesday.

“It’s a great day for the Oilers,” he said. “Jay did a great job once he took over our squad to the playoffs and…we played at a high level in the latter half of the season and obviously made it to the quarter-finals. I’m glad we were able to find a solution to bring in Jay and we look forward to working with Jay during The next three years to build on what we have accomplished.

“Jay has a lot of energy and a lot of passion.”

Woodcroft said Holland’s message upon arrival was a huge help.

“For me at the time… it felt like this was really liberating because it just allowed decisions to be made with that direction in mind and I think the team performed well,” he said. “I mentioned at the time how humbled and privileged I feel to be the coach of such a proud organization and that is certainly how I feel today. I would like to thank the organization for believing in me.”