Edmonton Oilers: Ralph Krueger, a New but Familiar Face Behind the Bench

Adam BowenContributor IIINovember 30, 2012

Ralph Krueger has a wealth of experience and is now tasked with getting the Oilers over the hump.
Ralph Krueger has a wealth of experience and is now tasked with getting the Oilers over the hump.Harry How/Getty Images

Ralph Krueger wasn’t the sexiest choice for the head coach position for the Edmonton Oilers following Tom Renney’s departure, but he may in fact have been the best choice.

Krueger is an experienced coach. Though most of this experience stems from leagues other than the NHL, he has experienced success as a bench boss before.

Having helmed VEU Feldkirch in Austria, Krueger led the team to five consecutive Austrian league championships and a European Hockey League championship.

From Austria, Krueger went on to coach the Swiss national team and helped the team to a respectable eighth place finish in the 2010 Olympics.

Along with his European experience, Krueger was also on staff for the Carolina Hurricanes when they won the Stanley Cup in 2006, serving as a European scout for the team.

This wealth of experience led Krueger to the Oilers in 2010 where he has served as an associate coach up until his recent promotion.

His contributions with the Oilers can’t be overlooked, and are perhaps the reason he landed the top job in Edmonton. It appears that Krueger is ready for the new challenge. 

Under his guidance, the Oilers turned around a dreadful power play, capitalizing on the young talent and a fresh approach to a struggling system.

It is perhaps this familiarity with the emerging young stars on the Oilers that helped Krueger capture the coaching position with the Oilers.

The Oilers haven’t been a competitive team for years, and even with established NHL head coaches such as Pat Quinn and Tom Renney the team struggled.

A new voice and a new vision could be exactly what the Oilers need to finally take that next step and become competitive once again in the NHL’s tough Western division.