The possibility of Jeff Jackson being new Edmonton Oilers GM

Despite the denials, CEO Jeff Jackson owes it to the Edmonton Oilers to seriously consider taking over as their next general manager permanently.
2024 Upper Deck NHL Draft - First Round
2024 Upper Deck NHL Draft - First Round / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages

There was plenty of scepticism and criticism, when the Edmonton Oilers hired Jeff Jackson to take over as the CEO of Hockey Operations and Alternate Governor in August last year. The main reason for these sentiments stemmed from his relationship with Connor McDavid.

As everyone was well aware, Jackson had been McDavid's agent since 2012, when the then 15-year-old prospect first played for the OHL's Erie Otters. With the Oilers superstar set to become an unrestricted free agent after the 2025-26 season, the thinking was the organisation wanted to position themselves favourably to entice him to sign another long-term extension to remain in Edmonton.

What didn't quite hit the mark as much with the scepticism and criticism, was pointing out that Jackson had no prior experience in the position the Oilers were hiring him for. However, it's not like he's the first person in professional sports -- or indeed any profession -- to take on a role that they've not had before; besides, he had more than enough relevant experience to take on such a position.

The 59-year-old has built up quite a resume during his time in the hockey world. This dates all the way back to when he was a player, who was selected by the Toronto Maple Leafs 28th overall in the 1983 entry draft and went on to play eight season in the NHL.

Away from the ice Jackson has achieved plenty, including graduating from law school, being hired as director of hockey admin and then hockey operations for the Leafs and, as already mentioned, working as a sports agent. Most relevant for the purposes of this article though, he has also been an assistant general manager for the Leafs and the main general manager for their AHL affiliate, the Marlies.

Jackson needs to become Oilers general manager permanently

Pure and simple, it is our opinion that the Chatham-Kent, Ontario native should become the Oilers' full-time replacement for Ken Holland as general manager. We appreciate that he has stated he has no interest in the position, but he owes it to the organisation to seriously think about this.

The mountain of evidence to support this is compelling. Look no further than how free agency has gone so far for the Oilers.

Without Holland, Jackson took on the reigns as general manager on an interim period, to help the Oilers navigate their way through a hectic start to the offseason. And to say he's smashed it out of the ballpark, would be considered a significant understatement.

The Oilers have managed to re-sign the majority of their free agents, while also adding some compelling new components. As a result, the Oilers roster for next season is arguably even better than the one which just came within a whisker of winning the Stanley Cup.

Significant advantage with Jackson's background

Most impressive of all, and alluding to Jackson's experience as an agent and his relationship with hockey players, he was able to get a lot of the signings -- returning and new alike -- to agree to team-friendly deals. This was of vital importance given the Oilers' precarious salary cap position for next season, and he managed it.

Yes, as per Cap Friendly, the Oilers have a projected cap space of -$2,454,167 at the time of writing, for the 2024-25 campaign. However, to even be in this position following the plethora of pending free agents and lack of available money is remarkable, and it's all thanks to Jackson.

We appreciate that Jackson has a lot on his plate in general, but there are ways around this. Consider that during the draft and beginning of free agency, he's been able to get help from assistant general managers, Keith Gretzky, Bill Scott and Brad Holland.

If the former winger takes on the role of permanent general manger, he can continue to utilise Gretzky, Scott and Holland as necessary. And in time, this should put one of them in position to take over as the main general manger.

Next. Oilers updated depth chart and 2 blue-liners they should target. Oilers updated depth chart and 2 blue-liners they should target. dark

However, for now, as things stand, Jackson is the best choice to be the Oilers' new general manager. Certainly, this would be one occasion where someone going back on their word would not be held against them, at least not in Edmonton.

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