The Edmonton Oilers have hired Hartford Wolf Pack head coach Kris Knoblauch as their new head coach, the team announced on Sunday.
Knoblauch, 45, was in his fifth season with the Wolf Pack. He guided the team to a record of 119-90-18-14 (.560) in 241 games, including a 7-3-1-0 mark so far in 2023-24. Last season, Hartford qualified for the Calder Cup Playoffs for the first time since 2015 and recorded series victories over Springfield and Providence before falling to Hershey in the Atlantic Division finals.
In 2020, Knoblauch earned the honor of coaching the Atlantic Division team at the AHL All-Star Classic in Ontario, Calif.
Assistant coach Steve Smith has been named interim head coach of the Wolf Pack, and will run the bench when Hartford visits the Providence Bruins this afternoon. Smith, 60, is in his third season with the Wolf Pack, and previously filled in as head coach for two games in 2021-22 while Knoblauch was called up to the Rangers due to COVID-19 protocols.
Prior to joining the Rangers organization, Smith served as an assistant coach with the NHL’s Calgary Flames (1997-98), Edmonton Oilers (2010-14), Carolina Hurricanes (2014-18) and Buffalo Sabres (2018-21). He also played 804 games in the NHL and won three Stanley Cups with the Oilers.