Oilers continue summer of change, fire veteran coaches Acton, Ramsay

The Edmonton Oilers continued their off-season of sweeping change, firing associate coach Keith Acton and assistant coach Craig Ramsay. With new bench boss Todd McLellan coming onto the scene, it makes sense the franchise is giving him a clean slate with which to build a new staff.

With a complete management makeover, the Edmonton Oilers have been one of the NHL’s busiest teams this off-season – and they haven’t made a single (official, anyway) new addition to the roster. And the off-ice changes continued Thursday night with the team’s announcement associate coach Keith Acton and assistant coach Craig Ramsay were relieved of their duties.

The 57-year-old Acton had finished his second season in Edmonton after spending the previous eight years as an assistant in Toronto. The Stouffville, Ont., native had also served in an assistant coaching capacity with the Rangers and Flyers after an NHL playing career that included 1,023 regular-season games and a Stanley Cup with the Oilers in 1987-88.

Ramsay leaves the organization after one year. The Weston, Ont., native also played more than 1,000 NHL regular-season games – 1,070, to be exact, and all for the Buffalo Sabres – before moving behind the bench as an assistant coach with the Sabres in 1986. From there, the 64-year-old served as an assistant in Ottawa, Boston, Tampa Bay (with who he won a Stanley Cup in 2004) and received short stints as a head coach in Philadelphia and Atlanta, where he became the final head coach in that franchise’s history before it relocated to Winnipeg in 2011.

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The Oilers hired former San Jose Sharks bench boss Todd McLellan two weeks back and it makes sense he would want to start anew, and the move by new Edmonton GM Peter Chiarelli to dismiss Acton and Ramsay give both an opportunity to compete for assistant coach openings in a number of markets.