Peter Chiarelli Isn’t Afraid to Deal Young Players

Kid Line-1

In two years as Edmonton Oilers general manager, Craig MacTavish consistently made it clear that he had no desire to move the team’s core players. The definition of the core moved a little over time, but it was clear at all points along the way that as far as the G.M. was concerned the team’s best young players would provide the best value right where they were.

On his first day as general manager, Peter Chiarelli sang a very different tune.

The Old Song

Craig MacTavish

  • MacTavish, April 2013: “If you’re referring to [trading] the young core that we paid such an exceptionally high price to acquire, we would part with those assets very begrudgingly.”
  • MacTavish, April 2014: “We’re building our team around this group. You have to have pieces in that locker room that you view as guys that are going to develop into winners, guys that are going to develop into superstars, and I feel strongly that we have a number of those pieces in there and those are the guys that we’re going to build that team around. I want them to feel the ownership, I want them to feel the loyalty, from myself and the coaching staff that we have the confidence in them to drive this team forward. When you talk to those players, Jordan Eberle, Nugent-Hopkins, certainly Taylor Hall, Justin Schultz, those guys have to feel that they’re the Edmonton Oilers and they have the responsibility to drive this core for many years.”
  • MacTavish, April 2015: “Growing with the players that we’ve committed to and we want to support these players; that’s what we want to be all about as an organization. We want to bring players in, we want a relationship with our players that’s deeper than a mercenary relationship, we want the players to feel the support of the organization. I think that’s still exactly what I want to do moving forward.”

The New Guy

Peter Chiarelli

Chiarelli famously traded Tyler Seguin, originally taken No. 2 in the 2010 Draft, to Dallas in a massive blockbuster deal. It’s worth noting too that the Bruins only had the Seguin pick because earlier on Chiarelli had moved a 22-year-old Phil Kessel to Toronto for draft selections.

TSN’s Ryan Rishaug asked Chiarelli about the Seguin trade and framed it against the Oilers’ group of young forwards, and the answer he got was very different from the sort of things MacTavish has said:

I’ve actually made a few trades of good young forwards so that’s something I won’t shy away from. That was a trade that had underlying reasons that I won’t get into, but he is a terrific player, he was our leading scorer and that’s what I’ll say about that one. In this business you can’t be afraid to make trades. The way that the parity is developing, the way that the cap is closing in, the margins are really small, so those are ways to improve your team. I’m not afraid of doing it; it has to be the right moment. There are some very good young players on this team; doesn’t mean that I’m going to trade any of them. But those are deals you can’t be afraid to make. They have to be well-measured, you have to be well-informed. That deal was – obviously he’s a very good player and there were reasons for doing it.

There are many who would consider the Seguin deal to be a significant loss for the Bruins in terms of on-ice impact. I’m one of them, and if Chiarelli were to trade Taylor Hall tomorrow for the equivalent of Reilly Smith, Loui Eriksson and futures he would be rightfully condemned.

But in the big picture, there does need to be a willingness on management’s part to consider any move that would improve their team. There can be no sacred cows on a team as perpetually inept as the Oilers have been.

Twice Chiarelli commented that a general manager can’t be afraid of making trades, and he’s right. Every move is a gamble and some of them aren’t going to work out; a G.M. guards against mistakes by being well-informed and carefully weighing his actions and over time the good ones have more wins than losses. The knowledge that a loss is possible can’t prevent a G.M. from taking a good risk, even if the stakes are high.

Chiarelli enters the job with fresh eyes and beholden to nobody. He may choose to keep the core together, but on Day 1 he made it extremely clear that all options are open.

RECENTLY BY JONATHAN WILLIS

  • Kevwan

    I dont want to be the nay sayer here but this all seems to be to rushed and not thought out very carefully as far as how it all came down . There was no need to make all these changes and dismissals in 24 hours. I realize that changes had to be made but when you start shooting up the room with a machine gun you are going to make mistakes. You mean Bob you had to do it so fast that you haven’t even had time to talk to Patrick or Mac T face to face ??? That is very insensitive and unprofessional . It tells me something about your management skills which could be of concern going forward .

    • hitchikerforajax

      How do you know he hasn’t thought it out well in the 9 months he’s been here? It’s pretty apparent that’s what he was hired to do all along?
      We’d all be naive to think the upper echelon of NHL executives don’t know what’s going on in the league, and you can’t tell me Chiarelli didn’t know he was going to get canned before the announcement was made public. That’s probably why things are done so quickly, and hockey minds like Chiarelli don’t go unemployed for long, especially with so many teams looking for a new GM this year. I would argue this has been the plan all along, but new news to you and the general public perhaps.
      I would suspect conversations have been had with MacT also, perhaps why he was so elusive with his state of the team address not so long ago. With technology the way it is, there could well have been multiple “face-to-face” exchanges before this decision was made. You don’t get to be a top hockey guy for a hockey mad country by conducting yourself in the way you are judging Nicholson has done.
      I support the moves and it’s about time after 9 years of futility and lack of direction. For the first time, nobody is selling hope yet we all feel it!!!! Let the proper rebuild begin! I applaud Chiarelli for declaring everyone traceable assets, instead of guaranteeing someone’s job no matter how they perform, especially in a performance driven industry. That’s what got us in this mess. The first place with upper management.
      MacT, I hope you are taking notes for your next post.

  • MontanaMan

    I hope he starts with seeing how what the Oilers have now play under an experienced. NHL coach.

    Most pressing needs are 2 Dmen + goal. Picks + prospects should be all it takes for the 1/2 dozen or so CAP strapped teams.

    In a deep draft, oilers have (not incl #1 overall) extra 1st rnd + 2 2nd rnd + 2 (maybe 3) 2ND rnd picks. That’s 5-6 picks of 1st 90 picks in a deep draft.

    • OtOil

      I’m over picks. Show me some quality battle of ab, and maybe at least one small push for 8th.

      Whose motorcycle is this?
      It’s a chopper baby.
      Whose chopper is this?
      It’s Zed’s.
      Who’s Zed?
      Zed’s dead baby,
      Zed’s dead.

  • MontanaMan

    If a GM ever read these posts, I would worry he’d lose his sense of judgement. Some terrible, terrible ideas on here. I’m immediately going to get thumbs down for this, but I had a good feeling regarding MacTavish’s upcoming summer. If he is somehow reading, I really do hope he does agree to work under Chiarelli for a year or so. He does know the value of the players better than anyone in the organization, at this moment. I fear Chiarelli may make a move or two based on information other than instinct and feel.

    We the fans paid such a price for the assets we have and my only concern is the long term affects of the trades we make. I honestly do not know Chiarelli, as he is a foreign entity at the moment. I refrain from any judgement, and am honestly not really excited, or upset. I’m simply concerned and slightly uneasy about all this. I really hope it all works out, and I’m eager to see what we can do this off-season.

    McDavid does mask some recurring issues, and this does remind me -though not entirely the same – of the newly minted GM of ’13, MacT hiring Eakins. Results have to come first before I’m excited. I can say that I think the new faces are respected, and make this city more desirable to some large names.

    Lastly, it’s a little upsetting that Nelson will likely be pushed aside. Reminds me, somewhat, of the Kreuger firing. The team responded to his style, so removing him for a big name is a little dangerous.

    Best of luck Oilers!

  • Petrolero

    The Oilers made some administrative changes on April 24. Many ON seem thrilled. Peter C. hasn’t even moved yet. The Oiler record for at least the next week will probably not show any wins. These changes guarantee very little. December/2014 and January/2016 may be the time to have “cautious” excitement. (Oxymoron)

    Vote on the 5th., it may be more exiting!

  • Serious Gord

    I am just so damn happy to finally see these long overdue changes. Watching Lowe and MacTurdish run this team Into ground was heartbreaking. There complete ineptness was slowly turning me sour against this organization. Even with McDavid I don’t know if I could have lasted much longer.

    Today I got my team back. One can now feel good about putting on an Oiler jersey again. I know my long walk out of Rexall will no longer be filled with frustration, anger and regret.

    Now I can finally say “it was worth it”.

    • Petrolero

      Exactly! When I heard the news and got home I put my Oilers jersey on and watched the Habs get humiliated by the Senators. Wore it like Id wear it if we were in the playoffs. Didn’t care we’re not because this week in Oilersland has been the best week since the Oilers made the finals in 2006! This is a win for Edmonton fans finally. The bus finally crashed.

  • reaperfunkss

    Would love to see yak and mcj if they have chemistry it would be fast and deadly thus easing pressure for Nuge Hall Eberle to face softer competition allow them to figure out their game better maybe…

    Dunno just happy to be thinking hockey for a change instead of management issues.

  • Natejax30

    Anyone who thinks the first overall is even remotely traceable, you are out of your ever living mind….

    Do you have any idea how much that player will bring to the organization…there is no pricetag…he will be on billboards in sporting stores across the world in less than 2 years…its not even about on ice hockey…the marketing on this kid is endless. I can’t wait to see him play!!

    Connor mcdavid will be an oiler. I hope that the “core” gets the chance to grow with him…time will tell but I would live to see the current group add a few dmen and a starting goalie and kick some a$$

    • otter2233

      Winning would also go along with this organization.

      I’m as excited as anyone over McDavid but the Oilers owe it to themselves to keep their options open. If you don’t you need to hope for another lottery win next year or overpay free agents or trade some of your core. Swapping picks to still get Eikel isn’t a huge let down. Am i doing it for an extra 2nd round pick? Hell no. But like @copper outlined if Buffalo was so hell bent on McDavid they were willing to do something stupid…why wouldn’t you leave that door open?

      Leave it open and let them approach you with something stupid you can’t turn down.

      I’ll end with this – MacT ends his reign living up to his last promise. He swore he’d never trade McDavid and has lived up to that promise.

    • Spoils

      Winning would also go along with this organization.

      I’m as excited as anyone over McDavid but the Oilers owe it to themselves to keep their options open. If you don’t you need to hope for another lottery win next year or overpay free agents or trade some of your core. Swapping picks to still get Eikel isn’t a huge let down. Am i doing it for an extra 2nd round pick? Hell no. But like @copper outlined if Buffalo was so hell bent on McDavid they were willing to do something stupid…why wouldn’t you leave that door open?

      Leave it open and let them approach you with something stupid you can’t turn down.

      I’ll end with this – MacT ends his reign living up to his last promise. He swore he’d never trade McDavid and has lived up to that promise.

    • Critical Eye

      Winning would also go along with this organization.

      I’m as excited as anyone over McDavid but the Oilers owe it to themselves to keep their options open. If you don’t you need to hope for another lottery win next year or overpay free agents or trade some of your core. Swapping picks to still get Eikel isn’t a huge let down. Am i doing it for an extra 2nd round pick? Hell no. But like @copper outlined if Buffalo was so hell bent on McDavid they were willing to do something stupid…why wouldn’t you leave that door open?

      Leave it open and let them approach you with something stupid you can’t turn down.

      I’ll end with this – MacT ends his reign living up to his last promise. He swore he’d never trade McDavid and has lived up to that promise.

    • Serious Gord

      Winning would also go along with this organization.

      I’m as excited as anyone over McDavid but the Oilers owe it to themselves to keep their options open. If you don’t you need to hope for another lottery win next year or overpay free agents or trade some of your core. Swapping picks to still get Eikel isn’t a huge let down. Am i doing it for an extra 2nd round pick? Hell no. But like @copper outlined if Buffalo was so hell bent on McDavid they were willing to do something stupid…why wouldn’t you leave that door open?

      Leave it open and let them approach you with something stupid you can’t turn down.

      I’ll end with this – MacT ends his reign living up to his last promise. He swore he’d never trade McDavid and has lived up to that promise.

    • Spoils

      Winning would also go along with this organization.

      I’m as excited as anyone over McDavid but the Oilers owe it to themselves to keep their options open. If you don’t you need to hope for another lottery win next year or overpay free agents or trade some of your core. Swapping picks to still get Eikel isn’t a huge let down. Am i doing it for an extra 2nd round pick? Hell no. But like @copper outlined if Buffalo was so hell bent on McDavid they were willing to do something stupid…why wouldn’t you leave that door open?

      Leave it open and let them approach you with something stupid you can’t turn down.

      I’ll end with this – MacT ends his reign living up to his last promise. He swore he’d never trade McDavid and has lived up to that promise.

      • Natejax30

        Andrew…there is no such deal.

        Connor McD is worth more in jersey and bobble head sales alone than anything coming back our way in a trade. Strictly business speaking, he is a licence to print money.

        Put that aside, he will be the best player on the planet and a show piece for the new arena…

        There just isn’t any reason to trade that…for anything…and we, as fans, get to watch it!!! Seriously…how cool is this!!!!!

        If it were anyone else…I am totally in agreement with you, but not this kid….he is special.

  • Spoils

    I want to see two things:

    a clear strategy to avoid the cap issues Chiarelli left behind in Boston so we can build a team that we can keep for McDavid’s career.

    a bona fide #1 D. A pronger, a young chara, a young Weber…

    I firmly believe we can sacrifice the 2016 top draft pick, any player not named McDavid (and as much as I would absolutely hate to see him go, that includes the glorious Taylor Hall)

    obviously we need G, some additional wingers etc. etc. but the near impossible piece to get will be a #1D.

    luckily we have assets to offer and a GM with the balls to make that move (remember when he yanked Tuka out of TO)…

    • positivebrontefan

      Apparently it wasn’t working off your phone. Lol!

      This whole Chiarelli thing has me nervously excited. It’s like going to grade 2 for the first day, you’re not quite sure what you have in front of you and you still have some of your good friends around, but you have a bunch of new teachers and you heard the one is a bit of a hardass who will send you to a whole nother school entirely if you don’t toe the line. I know it sounds silly because we have horribly sucked the last bunch of years, but I want to see these kids grow and have a chance with a real GM with some real coaching and a few good pieces added in.

      I’ll tell you this, I am going to be a little pissed if we don’t get to see Hall and McDavid flying up the ice together. Finally we have someone that can make plays at Halls speed. Hall is a north south player and Nuge and Ebs are both a lot more east west.

      I hope he doesn’t take away from the “core” till we see them play under a better coach.

  • Spoils

    If anyone on here is proposing a YAKUPOV trade scenario. They should be banned for LIFE from Oilernation.

    Yakupov is the next Ovechkin. I got chills thinking about

    LINE 1 : Nuge – Hall – Ebs
    LINE 2 : McDavid – Yakupov – Pouliot
    LINE 3 : Draisatll – Fraser – Purcell
    LINE 4 : Gordon – Hendricks – Klinkhammer

    D Pairings

    LINE 1: Schultz – Klefbomb
    LINE 2: Nikitin – Fayne
    LINE 3: Ference – Nurse

    Coach
    MIKE BABCOCK.

    2016 NHL FINALS

    EDMONTON OILERS VS TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING

  • Spoils

    new Gm hopefully doesn’t mean that… Our core players are on the trading block.. Because it isn’t his players he drafted and need to make his presence known… Just saying 🙂

  • Spoils

    new Gm hopefully doesn’t mean that… Our core players are on the trading block.. Because it isn’t his players he drafted and need to make his presence known… Just saying 🙂

  • Mr. Sharpe

    How is Bob Nicholoson qualified? What exactly did he do atop Team Canada? Is it really that difficult to pick some G.Ms to sit in a room and decide Team Canada’s roster? I’d be willing to bet team canada would have had the exact roster had Chiarelli not been there. Chiarelli is Bob’s buddy. How is this not more nepotism, replacing one guys buddy with your buddy. Once again no search process conducted.
    Hiring of Chiarelli scares me. Mactavish preached patience and loyalty with his players, by building relationships that were more than just “mercenary” . Relationships like that will surely be needed in this era if the team has any hope of keeping a very talented roster together and having LONG TERM success. I think Chiarelli’s mistakes in Boston warranted his firing,( you can’t trade a player like Seguin- ever- especially for off ice issues with a TEENAGER) and from his No Fear attitude it sounds like he is too willing to make those mistakes again.

  • positivebrontefan

    The biggest reason to trade Hall is his health. He gets injured every year. Again, I would package Hall in with some draft pick and possibly SHultz and go after Ekblad, or less going that way for Seth Jones.

    Losing Hall would be less of a loss for 50 games a season then the benefit of getting a young extremely talented defensemen.

    Moving forward with Ekblad, Nurse, Klefbom and Fayne, I would feel pretty confident moving forward. And I think Hall’s absence could be covered easily enough. Maybe even by Draisaitl, if not this year, but in years to come.

    Pouliot-RNH-Eberle
    Draisaitl-McDavid-Yak
    Purcell-Lander-Pitlick
    +Wagon line.

    This still has me feeling pretty good about our forward lines. Maybe we would still be a year out of the playoffs, but I bet we would be competitive, which is really all I expect for this year.

  • Spoils

    I agree with that dude or chick that mentioned that Bob Nicholson did what atop Team Canada.

    Man I could have chose Greyzky and Yzerman or Lemieux or whomever to pick Canada Ice hockey Team.

    They should allow Canada to have a Canada A and a Canada B team. They would be in finals for Gold and Silver.

    Bobby Nichs hasn’t proven anything to me yet. But finally some Transparency.

    Some what???? TRANSPARENCY!!!! Yeah TRANSPARENCY!!!!!!

    Paying Fans that put food on your tables and money in your pockets want to know the goods. For years everything was hush hush.

    • O.C.

      Dude. Your last three opinions are so far off, I have to ask… Are you doing this just to get people riled? I.E. Trolling?

      If not, please ponder items a bit more.

      A lot more.

  • paul wodehouse

    …Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is an excellent talent with a gifted creative hockey mind…he has done well in his young career with this franchise and has proved himself a worthy opponent to opposing teams. He has been the number one centre of this club and it now could be argued as to whether that title will stay in place moving forward into his very optimistic future. I have great confidence in his ability as a centre and his on ice play with power forwards is well documented…it says a lot about his value as a piece of a puzzle that makes up a single part of a team.

  • R U Kidding Me!

    I find it interesting that this is the focus.

    What I noticed from looking into Chiarelli was that he identified a core group of players and built around them. Krejchi, Bergeron, Marchand, Lucic, Chara, Boychuk, Seidenberg, and Thomas/Rask were his core. Maybe add Savard, Ference, and Horton as the extended core. Chiarelli did a pretty good job of keeping his core together.

    A lot of that core was pretty young when they won the cup (look it up, it’s interesting). Kessel and Seguin do not appear to have been part of the core, although I am sure he would have liked Seguin to be.

    If he follows history, he will target one or two key free agents to round out whatever he believes is the core in Edmonton. And then I think he will keep that core together and build around it.

    The million dollar question becomes, who does Chiarelli decide is “core”?

  • Petrolero

    I for one don’t think I had it in me to listen to another one of his pressers full of “noise-shaped air” and “suck it up oilers fans” lectures.

    Godspeed Craig MacTavish and Kevin Lowe. You were great players and probably great human beings but you “sucked the hind banana” as hockey execs. May we never see you again in consequential Oilers management. You can go to the Leafs though, I’m cool with that.

  • Armchair_Gm

    I actually think its possible jack eichel will be just as good as Mcdavid, his stats in the NCAA were absurd. His style looks like it would match the nhl well.

    I dont see how oiler fans would be disappointed to get him, besides you would be adding defense in the process.

  • paul wodehouse

    Good Morning…Three Putt points out >>>

    nj you wrote that ‘F’ word and it’s so last decade > you’ll get trashed to no end for it …

    ~I’m told Brownlee has a bench in his glass shop at the back where he finds people who use that word and eviscerates them ~

    …and you spelled McDavid wrong as well

    Thanks and have a great day

  • MontanaMan

    Kessel and Seguin are similar trades. Both due for a hefty raise but questions as to whether you can win with these guys. I’d say he made a great call with Kessel but made the wrong call with Seguin.

    • hitchikerforajax

      MaTavish didn’t want to trade the “core” players, but then trades Dubnyk to Arizona, for who, I don’t know & ended up paying half the salary. So, what did the Oilers get? A duo of goalies, who are not good enough to play in the AHL, never mind the big show. MacTavish, was as good as Lowe & Tambellini, which tells you, why the Oilers were close to last place. The management over the last 9 yrs., have been awful(refraining from adding some adjectives) & those bums, were getting a pay cheque?? Lowe, if he was not buddies with Katz, is lucky to have a job, because he doesn’t deserve it. With a different mind set, the Oilers might stand a chance.

      • El Pindo

        MacT traded Dubnyk to Nashville, for Hendricks

        Then Nashville traded him to Mtl

        Then he signed with AZ

        Who then traded him to Min in order to tank

        Please fact check

        Thanks.