Peter Chiarelli

There have been multiple reports in the last hour that former Boston Bruins’ GM Peter Chiarelli is in town and meeting with the Edmonton Oilers today. So, what are they talking about?

Whether Chiarelli is in town to talk about taking over from GM Craig MacTavish or president of hockey operations Kevin Lowe or is simply being added to the existing management team, it’s obvious Bob Nicholson isn’t wasting time getting to work.


Nicholson, Bob

To understate, it’s been a noteworthy week for the Oilers. They won the NHL draft lottery and the right to claim Connor McDavid. We’ve seen reports, notably from Elliotte Friedman of HNIC, that the Oilers have “reached out” to former San Jose Sharks coach Todd McLellan.

On Monday, Nicholson, named CEO of the Oilers, talked about changes being contemplated in hockey-ops. Now, word the Oilers are talking with Chiarelli, who has ties to Nicholson and Lowe through Hockey Canada – he was the assistant GM of the 2014 Canadian team in Sochi.

“The timeline for hockey ops . . . I would like to do it right away, but I won’t commit to that,” Nicholson said Monday. “I will do it when the timing is right. There are a lot of playoff games going on, so we won’t rush any decisions.”

While Nicholson won’t rush any decisions, it’s obvious he’s not wasting any time getting started on the due diligence and the groundwork that’ll lead to changes with team management and hockey-ops in coming weeks. The Oilers haven’t “reached out” to McLellan to inquire about tee times. They don’t have Chiarelli in town to tour the new downtown rink site.


Craig MacTavish6

I was contacted by a source I trust Monday – not a member of the Oilers organization — and was told that the Oilers were interested in Chiarelli and that he could be in the plans. Where in the plans, exactly, isn’t known. No firm timetable was mentioned. I checked around and couldn’t uncover much, aside from speculation. Today, Chiarelli is in Edmonton.

My best guess, and that’s all it is at this point, is this: I don’t see Nicholson or owner Daryl Katz relieving MacTavish of his duties as GM in favor of Chiarelli. MacTavish is just entering his third year on the job.

I also don’t think somebody as high-profile as Chiarelli is going to take what I’d call an “in-between” position with the Oilers – being put in an advisory-type role created for him, unless it carries significant sway in the decision-making process. I doubt a role as the assistant GM, even if current assistant Scott Howson is on the way out, would be meaty enough.

Lowe, Kevin2

All of which leads me to Lowe and the POHO position. Lowe, GM from 2000-2008, has been a target of constant criticism by fans. He’s been at or near the top of the decision-making chain for 15 years, most in which the team has struggled mightily. He already offered to step away from the team once, as reported by Friedman, but the offer was rebuffed by Katz.

Might Lowe be ready to step away now or at some point this off-season? It’s a reasonable question. There’s absolutely no doubt Chiarelli has the resume to take over as POHO as part of the revamped management team and that he has the trust of Nicholson, the new big boss.

Lowe out. Chiarelli in. It could very well go that way.

Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TSN 1260.

  • Just curious why everyone wants McClellan as a coach when the sharks have never won a thing. Also, he’s a hard ass and our players have not reacted well to that type in the past.

    As for Babcock, he was never and is still never coming here so forget it. You keep complaining that you don’t want a rookie gm but you want to make Babcock gm when he’s never been one…that’s insane. He’s a great coach and that’s all he should be here.

  • Kevwan

    If we’re talking changes can we get rid of this POHO/GM who made what decision nonsense?

    1 boss. 1 final decision on all things hockey related. 1 guy accountable. I don’t care what you name him.

    Chiarelli? I don’t mind that.

  • lavdaddy

    I think Chiarelli is going to become the POHO, MacTavish will stay at GM, Mclellan at head coach, and hopefully nelson at associate coach. Babcock is a pipe dream in my opinion but never say never. Although MacT has made many questionable at best decisions (ie. Nikitin) he has made some promising moves like both Perron trades, and the Brossoit trade, and I think its too early to completely give up on him. The only reason everyone has such animosity towards him is because he’s apart of the old boys club, he probably should not have been hired in the first place, however I think under the right guidance (Chiarelli) and a given a short leash he could be successful. One thing they should really try hard to do is hang on to Nelson as an associate coach, he knows most of the players from OKC and knows how to use players like Lander more effectively. It would benefit him as a coach as well, learning from Mclellan similar to how Mclellan learned under Babcock.

    • Kevwan

      I was OK with MacT until the Petry trade. Inexcusable for Petry to bring in less than Kimmo Timonen in a trade. MacT knew for months that Petry was going and got a horrible return. If you can’t get value at the trade deadline when 2/3 of the league is in the playoff hunt and there is no pressure to improve your team you’re not a NHL GM.

      Going into tonights games Petry averaged 23:27 TOI in the playoffs. Timonen is at 11:13 (including a triple OT Game). Ridiculous.

  • lavdaddy

    Hey if you hire Chiarelli maybe he can trade Hall for Seguin!

    He actually would probably need to sweeten the pot to get Seguin as I doubt the Stars would do a one for one trade…

  • Paq Twinn

    Oh haha, how droll. But seriously, we don’t really have room for Seguin, don’t need him either. Nuge, McDavid, Drai, Lander, Gordon, plus kids like Yakimov and Platzer on the way. Center depth is looking like the hot girl, just fine.

  • OtOil


    Find tall dominate D.

    Get older playoff calibre Goalie

    Take team to cup.

    poor roster decisions get team out of Playoffs

    Good Thing we are Getting Chirelli:

    Find tall dominate D.

    Get older playoff calibre Goalie

    Take team to cup.

    poor roster decisions get team out of Playoffs