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?
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.
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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