Chiarelli to Oilers.. Update…Move moves

Peter Chiarelli

Peter Chiarelli has been in Edmonton for the past few days talking with Bob Nicholson, and a source told me it looks like the Oilers will announce Chiarelli is joining the organization, possibly as early as tomorrow.

What does this mean for the existing management group?

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I’ve said and written for many years that Kevin Lowe has not been involved in hockey operations nearly as much as people think, but he has been involved in business aspects for the Oilers Entertainment Group, which includes their other pro teams and the Oil Kings. I could see Lowe moving into another role within the organization that would be more business focused, or possibly not being involved at all.

That doesn’t mean he is free of criticism of course. He did hire both Steve Tambellini and Craig MacTavish and neither was able to improve the Oilers, but he was not the puppet master people claimed him to be, which is why Chiarelli’s arrival will impact MacTavish more than Lowe. MacTavish was calling the shots, wile Lowe was more of a consultant.

Craig MacTavish’s role and future is the most intriguing to me.

Peter Chiarelli will want to be a main decision maker. I’m not sure he is ready to be like Brian Burke in Calgary, and be more of a mentor and consultant to Brad Treliving. Burke is involved, but it is more of a partnership.

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Could MacTavish and Chiarelli work like that here? It is a good question.

I could not confirm the title that Chiarelli would have, but I’m assuming he will be the final decision maker in Hockey Operations. MacTavish has essentially been that guy the past few years in Edmonton. Will they work together, and will MacTavish be okay with less autonomy?

We will find the answers soon enough, but it is clear that Nicholson is changing the personnel within hockey Ops. I heard a few weeks ago we should expect many changes in departments from management to scouting, and it looks like we will see exactly that in the coming days, weeks or months. I’m also hearing the changes will impact the business side of the organization as well. This could be a major shake up of the entire organization.

Aaron Ward just reported that the Oilers personnel will get a staffing update tomorrow morning. I should also point out that MacTavish is in Edmonton. He arrived back in town this week.

With Chiarelli about to enter the organization, and Connor McDavid a few months away, the Oilers are very much in a transition phase for the franchise and it is has renewed the faith of many Oilers fans.


The changes will also impact the business side. I can confirm that President and COO of the Oilers Entertainment Group, Patrick Laforge will be moving on. No word on how his replacement will be.

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  • toprightcorner

    My guess is Lowe gets hid in the Entertainment Group side and not have any connection with the on ice product but not do any public speaking like LaForge did.

    Chairelli, will probably get to decide if there is a GM change and if so, MacT will probably be offered a different position as he is an intelligent hockey guy, just not GM material. Howson will also be gone regardless.

    The new GM/MacT would then work with Chairelli to select a new coach which will happen quickly before more teams knocked out of the playoffs make a decision on a coaching change.

    If these changes take place it will happen quickly, likely before the draft.

    I am pleased that people with extensive experience will be put in these positions. Lowe was a rookie GM and a Rookie POHO, MacT was a rookie GM. Just like the coach, the GM and POHO should have past experience in these positions.

  • Ready to Win

    Considering that Chiarelli’s problems in Boston boiled down to his boss meddling too much in his affairs, I think the situation he likely wanted (and probably got considering how fast this has turned around) is one where he is both the president and the GM reporting to Nicholson who will be hands off.

    • bradleypi

      This is what I see happening also. There’s no way he keeps Mact around after the blunders he made. If klowe was poho yet still making player personnel decisions as people are saying, I don’t see any reason why Pete can’t also handle both jobs.

  • camdog

    Chiarelli did some of his best work in Ottawa. As the teams assistant GM he may not have been with the organisation in 2006-07, however he did help to build them into a Stanley Cup Finalist.

    In Boston he was the benefit of good timing. He might help the Oilers move to the next level or he might not, he’s definitely an upgrade on what the Oilers have in the system.

  • Zarny


    Agreed, there will be pros and cons for any new hire. And I agree it’s good to be cautiously optimistic. Chiarelli doesn’t guarantee anything and there is lots of work to be done. The holes in the roster and throughout the organization won’t disappear with one new hire.

    If an ability to assess D is a priority (and with Edm it certainly should be) then you should like Chiarelli. He completely assembled the Bruins blueline. Of course, landing Chara goes a long way.

      • Chris_Cruise

        I haven’t seen the part where he was relieved either. This little part about MacT in Spector’s latest article on Sportsnet is interesting though:

        Former president of hockey operations Kevin Lowe will step away from the day-to-day operations of the hockey department, while retaining a business role in the OEG under owner Daryl Katz. Current general manager Craig MacTavish’s status is unclear. He may be invited to stay with the organization to work under Chiarelli, but will no longer have traditional GM powers.

  • Andy7190

    Edmonton Oilers ‏@EdmontonOilers 2m2 minutes ago

    Peter Chiarelli has been appointed #Oilers President of Hockey Operations and General Manager effective immediately.