Edmonton Oilers Firing Ralph Krueger Was the Right Choice

James Onusko@@jonuskoContributor IIIJune 9, 2013

Former head coach Ralph Krueger
Former head coach Ralph KruegerRon Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

The Edmonton Oilers have fired former Swiss National team head coach, Ralph Krueger, according to NHL.com.

His replacement will be named in the coming days. Current Toronto Marlies coach, Dallas Eakins, was reported to be that person on last night's CBC Hotstove during the Chicago Blackhawks' victory over the Los Angeles Kings.

Eakins has a reputation of communicating extremely well with young players and has had a lot of success in his tenure with the Toronto Maple Leafs organization.

Krueger leaves after one disappointing season, where the Oilers were expected by many to be ready to make that jump into playoff contention yet finished with a 19-22-7 regular-season record.

Unquestionably, it can be argued that he deserved another year to prove himself. New general manager Craig MacTavish needs the team to earn a playoff berth to justify this head coaching change and future moves he has promised.

This change qualifies as both bold and surprising, but the Oilers now need some stability at the head coaching position. This is something they have not had since MacTavish's eight seasons at the helm.

The Oilers never seemed to fire on all cylinders this season. While gaping holes remained on the roster, the team never embraced Krueger's defensive system.

There were many nights where the Oilers gave up early goals and were effectively out of the game in the first intermission.

The club's late-season swoon was also troubling on a few levels, and while this cannot be pinned wholly on Krueger, motivating his team is the first priority of any NHL head coach.

This coaching change was needed, and this relatively young Oilers team should be excited about the 2013-14 season with a new coaching direction.

Krueger is an intelligent and articulate individual with many interests outside hockey. Oiler fans can be confident that he will enjoy success in his future efforts.