Oilers can McLellan, hope Ken Hitchcock can lead them out of darkness

The Edmonton Oilers have replaced Todd McLellan with veteran bench boss Ken Hitchcock. (Getty).

The Edmonton Oilers have made their coaching change. Todd McLellan’s replacement, though, may come as a surprise.

Ken Hitchcock — yes, the veteran bench boss that has indicated at the end of the last two seasons that he’s through with coaching — has been tabbed to lead the Oilers out of the darkness — ending another brief stint in retirement.

An Edmonton native (which you would imagine played into his decision), Hitchcock owns the third-most wins in NHL history and won the Stanley Cup with the Dallas Stars in 1999.

He’ll be on the bench Tuesday night in San Jose.

McLellan’s dismissal comes in his fourth season at the helm. He had jumped at the chance to coach Connor McDavid back in 2015 when the Oilers won another lottery and handed hockey operations to Peter Chiarelli.

Failing to build a competent roster around McDavid, firing McLellan could prove to be Chiarell’s last bullet — but this was a change that needed to be made. After 9-10-1 start, a third season was beginning to slip away in the four years since the greatest player in the world was drafted by the Oilers.

McLellan joins Mike Yeo, Joel Quenneville and Jon Stevens on the list of fired coaches over a span of 18 days after not a single bench boss was fired in-season last year.

Edmonton has now had eight coaches since its last appearance in the Stanley Cup Final 13 years ago.

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