According to the Canadian Press on Thursday, former Calgary Flame enforcer Rocky Thompson has been named the assistant coach of the Edmonton Oilers. Thompson played from 1997-1999 with the Flames.
A third round draft pick by the Calgary Flames in the 1995 National Hockey Draft, Thompson was drafted the same year the Dallas Stars selected Flames' superstar Jarome Iginla. In 15 career games with the Flames, Thompson had zero points and 86 penalty minutes.
Thompson was then traded by the Flames to the Florida Panthers for defenseman Filip Kuba on March 16, 2000. In 10 games with the Panthers, Thompson registered 31 penalty minutes. Kuba meanwhile never played for the Flames because he was claimed by the Minnesota Wild in the 2000 NHL Expansion Draft according to www.hockey-reference.com.
Thompson will join former Buffalo Sabres veteran Craig Ramsay as the two new assistant coaches in Edmonton. Ramsay and Thompson are replacing Steve Smith and Kelly Buchberger on head coach Dallas Eakins' staff. (Eakins is also a former Calgary Flame). Ramsay has National Hockey League head coaching experience with the Sabres, Philadelphia Flyers and Atlanta Thrashers. Thompson, who is also a native of Calgary, has spent the last four years as an assistant coach with Oklahoma City.
With the Barons of the American Hockey League (the top Edmonton Oilers' minor league affiliate), Oklahoma City has had a winning record each season. It was interesting that Thompson was named an assistant coach however over the Barons' head coach Todd Nelson. In what capacity Thompson will be used with the Oilers main club remains to be seen.
The Oilers have been one of the National Hockey League's most struggling franchises in recent years. They have missed the Stanley Cup playoffs the last eight years since reaching the Stanley Cup Final in 2006.