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?

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.

 Recently by Jason Gregor:   

  • freelancer

    Big changes happening in E-Town. Obviously other NHL teams do not look at what we’ve done kindly. Bringing in respected guys from around the league should go a long way.

  • Good news. Consistantly bad signings, trades, and drafting(outside the first round) have to stop.

    A few good signings(Pouliot, Fayne), and a good trade (MPS for Perron) are not enough to make up for the countless mistakes.

  • Positives of current management:
    Pouliot, Fayne, Gordon, development of Nurse, trading MPS for Perron, firing Eakins, trading one pick for four..

    Negatives: Dubnyk gone, Petry gone, Nikitin, Ference, Usage of Schultz, Perron gone, keeping draisaitl in the NHL too long, hiring Eakins, Moroz, Ewanyk, Kaira, starting a season with two NHL centers, Scrivens, Fasth, overselling everyone and everything, unearned arrogance, grebeshkov…

    Neutral: Purcell, Belov, trading Perron for first round pick

    • oilerjed

      Dubnyk was not doing well here and there was very little hope he would turn it around and Petry would have signed here if he had any inkling to.
      Ference I was ok with until they duck taped the C on him as soon as he showed up. The rest are pretty hard to argue though.

      I wonder about the real story with Drai though. He was up for a taste and it didn’t work out. May be a chance that Drai himself requested to not be sent pack to his original junior team. They sure sent him down quick enough after he was traded to Kelowna. I don’t believe it was a coincidence.

      • Serious Gord

        In the latest Print version of the hockey news ken Campbell has a full article on how Dubnyk transformed his game LAST summer – long after he had been traded away by EDM. If anything he should have been traded away sooner.

      • ComeAtMeDog


        MacTavish is a close personal friend of Bruce Hamilton, owner of the Kelowna Rockets. MacTavish has a summer home in Kelowna. Bruce Hamilton is the father of Curtis Hamilton, who played for the Barons and Oilers this season.

        MacTavish bragged about manipulating the trade of Draisaitl to Kelowna. He said he refused to let Draisaitl play in junior unless “the situation” was right. As a result Draisatl WASTED half a season in the NHL learning nothing under Eakins.

        This is how it works for the Oilers organization. It has nothing to do with sound business decisions. It’s all about connections, friendships, nepotism, “hunches”, old friends being rewarded, snap decisions, etc., etc., etc.

          • CDNinATL


            Do you think that an NFL franchise, or a SUCCESSFUL NHL franchise, would allow it to this degree? Other examples:

            Robert Nilsson, acquired when his father was an Oilers European scout.

            David Musil, drafted (a huge overreach) when his father was an Oilers scout.

            Will Acton, playing in the NHL only because his father was an assistant coach.

            Kelly Buchberger and Steve Smith, allowed to continue as assistant coaches for years only because they were ex-Oilers and “good guys”.

            And the cherry on the desert…Craig MacTavish, hired as GM with virtually zero qualifications or relevant experience.

          • Serious Gord

            You’ve never worked for a truly large organization have you?

            Nepotism/favoritism sometimes but it’s rare and difficult to do – especially in publically traded companies filling executive and near executive roles.

  • Ohhelloder

    i agree that k lowe hasn’t had very much decision in hockey ops as people think, and I don’t se mactavish getting fired .
    Mactavish has made a few mistakes but he’s been ok in his rookie GM years . He’ll no doubt be a lot better at his job with Chairelli helping him.

    Chairelli had a lot of contacts and is well respected. I won’t be suprised to see some current Boston players heading this way.

    • Paq Twinn

      As long as it isn’t the ones about the fall off a cliff ala Wile E. Coyote. Chara would be my biggest worry. Pretty sure Lucic will never be as effective as he was 2-3 yrs ago as well but might be a nice guy to have riding shotgun with McDavid, undecided on him.

  • The GREAT Walter White

    Judging from his time in Boston; Chiarelli will finally bring some BOLD moves to the McOilers…………

    If Boychuck and Seguin (irony…) can get shipped out, surely Hall and Yak are in play….it will probably take either of them to land Lucic…


      • The GREAT Walter White

        I have the feeling there are 28 other teams asking Boston about Lucic………….

        Now that Chiarelli is gone from Boston, so are the stupid trades me thinks…….

        Yak for Lucic?…


        • Joe Mamma

          Your team is in the playoffs, with a stranglehold on the hated Canucks. Articles and discussion abound. And you still have nothing better to do than troll this forum?

          What a sad and spiteful little man you are. Truly pathetic.

          • The GREAT Walter White

            A few good articles about Johnny hockey nominated for the Calder on FN…..4th round pick, big fella!

            That series with the rotten Canucks is far from over; lots of hockey left to play.


          • Joe Mamma

            I wouldn’t know, as I have better things to do with my time than trolling another team’s board in some sorry attempt to make me feel better about myself by getting a rise out of their fans. This is literally the mentality of a seven year old in the playground.

            Judging by your brilliant trade suggestions, this should come as a surprise to no one.

          • The GREAT Walter White

            Even though it’s lots of fun to come up with trade suggestions that are really lopsided for your team; the reality of Lucic becoming a McOiler for some spare parts is not likely.

            Can we at least agree that BOLD moves are coming? Or should we revert back to personal attacks and name calling?


          • Joe Mamma

            Lucic is a diminishing asset with one year left on a deal at 6 million. Playing on a team that is up against the cap. You think they’re going to trade Hall or Eberle for him. I rest my case.

            Calling a spade a spade is not name calling. It is a statement of fact. You’re a troll. I know it. You know it. Everyone knows it.

        • Craig1981

          Im guessing BM won’t reply because the force from th 2nd facepalm surely ust of knocked him out……

          …..are you sure you want to talk about people that want to make stupid trades?

      • Joe Mamma

        Even if he had 4 years left on his contract, I wouldn’t give up any more than Gordon and a second round pick.

        The Oilers are about to enter cap hell in 2-3 years. They don’t need an overpaid 2nd/3rd line winger, no matter how physical he is. Once Lucic’s shooting percentage dropped from the stratosphere (18%!!!), he’s down to .5ppg.

  • Overwatchedandunderpaid

    I dont get how management screwed up with dubnyk. he was horrendous when he was here and 99% of people were calling for his head. Good for him for turning it around. Do I think this would have happened of managment kept him here, absolutely not.

  • Chris_Cruise

    Gregor wrote “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, or possibly not being involved at all”

    You certainly have and it’s been met with much skepticism… What exactly was your reason for purporting this going back to Tambelllini’s time? Even when KLowe came on air with you last spring and admitted he was involved in hockey decisions…Why just this winter him and MacT were scouting Junior games together while the team was on their big Eastern swing, yet if we were left to believe the trusted Edmonton reporting we’d be mocked for even mentioning Lowe had anything to do with hockey decision. Didn’t MacT’s unveiling GM pressed give you some clue that he was involved. Did you not hear the rage and self defence emanating from him as he defended his record with his 6 rings talk?? WTF dude?
    It’s like you and the rest of the MSM in this town have some form of mental illness that prevents you from asking the difficult questions, admitting that Lowe is involved, and admitting that he has been an abject failure. It’s beyond baffling. Seriously

  • Quicksilver ballet

    What goes around, comes around.

    Kind of ironic MacTavish (like Krueger) is getting the shaft before he feels he had a fair shot. It’s great to finally see some accountability making its way into the organization.

    Lowe and MacTavish paying for that Eakins hiring with their jobs. It’s about time.

    • Serious Gord

      I think chiarelli takes klowes spot and keeps mact on at Katz’ insistence for at least one season. After that chiarelli can replace him. And he will.

      Katz’ is crying into his cinzano rose.

  • Overwatchedandunderpaid

    Let it be true! I agree that Lowe has only been the problem in recent years in his hiring choices of GMs and his unwillingness to get rid of Tambellini when it was clear he was incompetent. But having a seasoned and successful President of Hockey Operations like Chiarelli, who will monitor MacTavish more closely, should make a big difference. It appears MacT will get another year, but if he continues to make major mistakes, like the hiring and tardy firing of Eakins, and the loss of Petry, I have no doubt he will be replaced. We can only hope that he has learned from his mistakes as the moves made this summer are crucially important. I also expect significant changes in the scouting operations, particularly pro scouting.

  • Serious Gord


    Burke/treliving is not a partnership as I understand a partnership to be.

    The way Burke described to a meeting I attended (about 100 people) shortly after he was hired was that treliving would do all of the legwork and preliminary deal talks and that those deals would then be brought to Burke to sign off on. And Burke would be involved in negotiations (offer/counter offer) as he saw fit. Treliving also had the day to gm work to do.

    This is also the kind of arrangement shanahan had with nolin before he fired him. And it is also roughly how klowe and mact operated IMO (that would explain klowe going on scouting trips with mact).

  • WTF2

    A half-assed approach to change won’t cut it.

    MacT and Kim Jong Lowe must be deleted.

    To retain the 3 stooges who now control the of the team in any role is a non-starter.

  • vetinari

    Chiarelli’s title could be “Dude in Charge of Asking MacT are You Sure You Want to do That?” For all I care. He’s a veteran, proven decision maker with a Cup this century and the balls to tell guys that they are wrong. We need that. And he knows all the eastern teams inside and out for potential trade partners. Sign the man and bump whoever you need to.

  • Serious Gord

    We all know that Craig MacTavish loves those rose coloured glasses, so how long do you think Peter Chiarelli will put up with that? I wonder if Katz is considering sending another text message. We remember “Craigs not going anywhere.” We know how that turned out. Bob has those sleeves rolled up.

  • B_Oliver

    Also, I think the Oilers should be looking at picking up a d-man or two. Lucic is not a bad option on wing though. I would love to see Lucic working down low in the defensive zone and on the boards for McDavid, but then again the thought of Hall and McDavid on the same line gives me shivers of excitement. THE POSSIBILITYS ARE ENDLESS….atleast for forwards *sigh*

  • B_Oliver

    2015 Summer Shopping list: 2 top 4 defense. A goalie along the lines of Niemi/Neuvirth/Lehner/Anderson/Miller/Matt O’Connor[?] And a gritty winger/center who can really dig and fill a multitude of positions. With those boxes checked off the Oilers will be in contention with out a doubt.

    • B_Oliver

      Agreed. I change my mind. Screw Lucic. And looking back at the draft list I had done up, I kind of really want to see who the Oilers can draft with the Pittsburgh pick. Maybe a gem gets passed over in the early picks and we hit a double jackpot. We need a 2-way center if we are adding a forward. Roy is alright in the offensive zone but he is hardly a complete 2-way player. A top-pair defense asset is a must this summer, along with a goalie. The defense/goal tending should take priority over the forward lines.

  • B_Oliver

    I understand Chiarelli being hired, but Nicholson curiously pointed at the playoffs possibly stalling more announcements. Is it possible he already has a GM or coach in mind that currently is part of an organization in the playoffs? I am very curious to watch things unfold.

  • Joe Mamma

    I like Chiarelli but what a load of crap this is.

    Get rid of the old boys club or this is just more BS window dressing like an ‘offer to take a sabbatical’.

    • Zarny

      How do you know there was no search?

      Not to mention who do you think would be a better candidate? Chiarelli is one of three unemployed GMs who has won a Stanley Cup over the last 11 years.

      You’d rather go with some mythical assistant somewhere who has never won a Stanley Cup as a GM?

      • Serious Gord

        A search – which would involve interviews – can’t be done in season because of tampering rules.

        We don’t know the full list of candidates yet – some candidates are still managing teams in the playoffs.

        • Wax Man Riley

          I see what you are saying, and I have to agree to some degree. We don’t yet know what position he will hold (prob POHO, but who knows), and it is known what Chiarelli has done, and has a proven history. He is an outside hire as well and not part of the old boys’ club. It isn’t like the knee-jerk Eakins fiasco.

          If the Oilers wait to hire him, they risk losing him, and if they sit on their hands to let this very good hockey mind walk to another team next week, in sure you would criticize that.

          Find good people. Hire good people.

          • Serious Gord

            He’s and outsider from the Lowe perspective but not from the nicholson perspective apparently (I’m basing that on what I have heard on Calgary AND Toronto radio).

            I think it possible that this might be a “meet the new – Same as the old boss”.

          • Wax Man Riley

            Of course he has worked with Nicholson. Nicholson has probably worked with the majority of executives in the NHL and internationally. You cannot deny that if you had worked with a star in a previous organization, and you hear that star is available, you wouldn’t hire them? You would go through the stack of resumes on your desk and interview them when there is this known quantity, with a proven record, and you know them intimately, you are going to go through the entire process?

          • Serious Gord

            While it is true that Nicholson has dealt with practically every GM in the league – the Toronto radio guys – TSN AND mcown both said chiarelli and Nicholson were close.

          • Wax Man Riley

            It almost makes you wonder then, how long this has been in the works. Did Neely know Chiarelli wanted to walk? Maybe it was mutual.

            You could claim tampering, but if they’re buddies, who knows what happens to be said over a few drinks.

          • Zarny

            By all accounts, Chiarelli didn’t want to “walk” from Boston.

            He was fired by Cam Neely, who is the President and taking advantage of the first opportunity he’s really had to hire his own people. Word is the Bruins will do an “exhaustive search” and then name former Bruin and current assistant GM Don Sweeney as GM…who will then fire Claude Julien as Neely wanted to do last fall.

            Gord’s lamenting about “the process” is nothing but unadulterated drivel.

            In general, it’s poor form to base hirings strictly on an interview process. Actions speak louder than words. Past performance is a far better indicator than a good answer to the question “we all have areas that need improvement, what are some of your weaknesses and what have you done to strengthen them?”.

            There is no magic bullet…for anything. There is no one person that is going to come in with all of the answers and fix everything. Not Peter Chiarelli, Doug Armstrong, Doug Wilson, Mike Babcock or Todd McLellan.

            It’s cliche, but it’s a team effort. Chiarelli succeeded in Boston because he surrounded himself with exceptional performers like Jim Benning. That’s really what being POHO is all about. Knowing the pecking order throughout the hockey world for pro scouts, amateur scouts, coaches, executives etc and assembling the best team possible with exceptional performers overseeing all aspects of the organization.

            That is the key to success for any organization and where Kevin Lowe failed.

            There are certainly other good candidates to oversee hockey operations, but none could be claim to be tangibly better than Chiarelli. Merely different.

            Which should give every Oiler fan a feeling of joy. The work doesn’t end with Peter Chiarelli; it begins as he looks for exceptional performers to oversee every facet of the Oilers’ organization.

          • Ready to Win

            Serious Gord would piss in your Corn Flakes if given half a chance.Process is for people who enjoy self importance and think parading 20 people in to a room one by one will give them a better choice of candidates. All it does is waste time. IF BN says PC is the guy for the job based on his past work with him then that is good enough for me.

            MACT and Oilers reaching out to Todd McLellan same freaking thing. You want the guy you tell him.No frakin around interviewing a dozen other guys. What for? So you can get opinions?Opinions are like butt holes.Everyone has one. IF Todd McLellan is the guy make him an offer he can’t refuse.

          • Joe Mamma

            Oh well, if Bob “Center of the Universe” Mcown said it, it must be gospel.

            Besides Gord, you still have not explained how Bob Nicholson having connections and capital with Canadian hockey elite is a bad thing. SO WHAT!?! What is your point!?!? The man knows the man he is hiring and trusts his hockey acumen. The horror!!! Jesus Gord, are you even listening to yourself?

            Really Gord, even though I rarely agree with you, I can usually at least give you credit for providing a good defense for your position. But this entire line of discussion is just making you look stupid and irrational. Bordering on a conspiracy theory wackjob.

        • Zarny

          Ray Shero was free to talk. So is Gretzky.

          Otherwise, which candidates are still busy managing teams in the playoffs exactly? Do you see a GM or POHO for a current playoff team getting fired?

          Or are you talking about some assistant GM? Would you really suggest hiring someone whose only been an assistant GM as President of Hockey Operations.

          • Serious Gord

            Way too early to count out Doug Wilson, Doug Armstrong, maybe Babcock wants some kind of hybrid postition, don Maloney, who knows what the situations are at some teams?

          • Zarny

            Sharks owner confirmed Wilson is going nowhere. Doug Armstrong would be a good hire too, but he won’t be let go by StL.

            Maybe Babcock does want some sort of hybrid role. Coach/assistant GM. Hiring Chiarelli as POHO doesn’t effect that. In fact, Chiarelli could assume a hybrid POHO/GM position that would work well with Babcock’s hybrid position. Great idea Gord.

            As for Don Maloney…sure let’s go with the guy who has won nothing and is in charge of the team who finished 29th instead of the guy who built a Stanley Cup winner. Sure.

    • Ohhelloder

      Let’s use this example you have a new Porsche 911 turbo and a used gremlin and a Ford tempo and they are all the same price are you going to test drive the gremlin and the tempo just to make sure the 911 is the one you want.

      Cmon man there is nobody that will match what he will bring to the table.

        • Ohhelloder

          That’s not the question, none of those GM’s are available. You have to remember that if you don’t jump the gun sometimes when you have someone available with his resume that someone else will.

          Us or them.

          I prefer us and so does everyone else not named Gord.

          • Serious Gord

            Not available YET. The playoffs aren’t over. Chiarelli wouldn’t be available if Boston hadn’t missed the playoffs. Many teams have yet to make decisions – they are waiting for the season to end.

          • Kevwan

            Toronto and Boston (and probably San Jose soon) are looking for GM/Hockey Execs as well. It’s not like the Oilers can dally along for weeks and months before making a decision. There is competition for talent.

            The only guy that I could see maybe becoming available from a playoff team is Jim Rutherford. I’d pass on him.

          • Ohhelloder

            And how do you know that they will be? Is your real name Cleo? Do you have a crystal ball? I have a idea lets just wait to see what happen and if nothing does then we can stay in the same situation that we are currently in.

            Good idea

        • CDNinATL

          You asked earlier about getting the car you want. I actually did that once. Loved the car because it the car I really wanted!! I was looking for specific convertible and found exactly what I was looking for. Test drove it and bought it!! Never regretted that.

          As for waiting for other teams to see what they had, some times you have to strike while you have the chance. Do you deny that Chiarelli is a major upgrade from what we have?? If not, then SHUT THE HELL UP!!!

    • Seriously....Gord?

      Why do you assume there was no process. It’s common to pick up the phone and have a few discussions with the stake holders and potential candidates before hand. Once the employer is keen to seal the deal, fly in the final candidate for that last push.

      I’ve recruited 100s of people, screened 1000s and only anounced the final candidate. Never making public knoweledge of who did not get the job.

      So, ask about the process, but don’t pretend that its mismanagement to not let you know that Shero was not suitable or some other candidate was not interviewed.

      Do the math, CEO announce monday, Pete and family on the plane and in Edmonton on Wed? That takes a little planning on the wife’s part. All part of the plan….



  • Anton CP

    Lowe’s direct involvement with Oilers decision making is not the issue here. Most of us do understand that MacT is the one who is making the most of decisions involving Oilers for last couple of years. However the reputation about Lowe around the league is the major issue more than his involvement of “decision making”. Not many are willing to work under Lowe, he is not well liked by other GMs, his behind the scene stunt during Tambellini era was disgusting. However that as Lowe has nothing to do with Oilers period then he can be anything else that Katz desire him to be.

    But have to say, this is the most exciting week of events happening at Oil Country, I can’t stop visiting ON on daily bases just because there were so much going on!

  • 916oiler

    “…the Oilers are very much in a transition phase for the franchise and it is has renewed the faith of many Oilers fans.”

    Dam straight it has!! Let’s go boys!!

  • smith

    Glad to see the Oilers are still being the oilers. Bringing in extra management while still keeping incompetent ones. Maybe eventually they will figure things out and realize that the reason they have had horrendous drafting, trading, development and results for 10 years is due to bad management.

    As the media keeps saying. We just need to be patient.

  • The poster formerly known as Koolaid drinker #33

    Lucic will never again be as good as he was. Not even close. He’s lack of speed is going to become more and more evident. Stay away please.