Peter Chiarelli shouldn’t worry much about improving the Oilers for this season

Peter Chiarelli4

This is not the time for the Edmonton Oilers to be looking for a big, season-saving trade. Instead, it’s almost certainly time for Peter Chiarelli to grit the teeth and once more look to next year, as his predecessors in the big general manager’s chair have done before him.

Edmonton currently sits at 8-15-2 on the season. To match the pace of last year’s Calgary Flames—the final qualifier for a playoff spot in the West in 2014-15—the Oilers would need to go 37-15-5 the rest of the way. Even with McDavid, goaltending and a Justin Schultz-for-Travis Hamonic trade, that doesn’t seem a particular plausible.

That’s not to say that Chiarelli should turn his nose up at a good deal if one comes his way, but the short-term ramifications should be secondary. The real goal here is to make Edmonton a better team for next season, and the window for big moves which accomplish that is more likely to come in the summer than at the trade deadline.

For now, it’s all about preparation, clearing away salary and securing whatever assets are available.

Forwards

93-RNH-9

Jordan Eberle, Taylor Hall and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins are all on pricey multi-year contracts. We can debate the wisdom of dealing any of that trio, but if one or more is dealt it will be in the summer. There isn’t a trade out there that’s going to make sense for Connor McDavid, and Leon Draisaitl is also close to a non-starter.

Benoit Pouliot doesn’t quite make his way into that quintet because his $4.0 million cap hit might be digestible at the deadline, but given his five-on-five scoring ability (like Eberle he’s scored 1.94 points/hour at evens over the least three-plus seasons) and the way his size and aggressive play fit with the team it’s my view that the Oilers would be nuts to deal him.

Players on shorter deals fall into a few different categories. Nail Yakupov would likely have some value, but if dealt again probably makes more sense in the summer rather than as a sell-for-futures move. Matt Hendricks might have value, too, though the Oilers might rather keep him around given what he brings to the table. Mark Letestu isn’t exactly having a banner season and Lauri Korpikoski has been an unmitigated disaster.

16-Purcell-1

Of the rest, the only player who really stands out is Teddy Purcell. He’s on an expiring deal and he’s playing well, but he’s also likely replaceable via free agency. I’ve argued that the team should cash-in on him and feel the same now. Unless fellow UFA Rob Klinkhammer comes back soon and makes some noise, that might be the only deal up front that makes sense for Edmonton at the deadline.

The Back End

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I’d be very surprised if the Oilers had any interest in moving Darnell Nurse or Oscar Klefbom at all, and certainly not at the trade deadline. Andrej Sekera is another pricey multi-year contract and certainly won’t be in play until the summer and probably should not and will not be then either. It makes little sense to trade Brandon Davidson given the likely return, and Griffin Reinhart isn’t the kind of guy buyers are looking for at the deadline (if it even makes sense to trade him).

Of the veterans, most lack real value. Andrew Ference isn’t going anywhere, and if Nikita Nikitin does there won’t be much of a return. I’m skeptical that Mark Fayne’s moveable in-season; he has two years left on his deal after this one at a pretty decent price-point and I’d wager his value as part of the team is considerably higher than his value in trade.

That leaves two names on defence. Eric Gryba is a tough-as-nails veteran depth piece; that always has value at the deadline and given the number of entry-level defencemen currently in the system it makes no sense for Edmonton to keep him.

19-Schultz-9

Justin Schultz is the most interesting name on the list to me. He’s going to cost almost $4.0 million to qualify. He’s an offensive defenceman and a potential No. 4 in the here-and-now, and he’s on an expiring deal, all of which means he’ll have value at the trade deadline. A trade is an opportunity for the Oilers to both rid themselves of a summer salary cap headache, add to their assets in the here-and-now and open up a roster spot for a much-needed legitimate top-four right-shooting defenceman.

In net, we’ll just have to see what happens. Cam Talbot and Anders Nilsson are both on expiring deals, with the former unrestricted and the latter restricted; we’ll need to see more games from both to have a good idea of what an optimal Oilers summer strategy looks like.

Trades involving Purcell, Schultz, Gryba and possibly one or two others should stock up the Oilers’ cupboard of picks, allowing them the flexibility to move multiple selections at the summer draft. The loss of those salaries and others will open up cap space for Edmonton to be aggressive in pursuit of both trade targets and free agents, and potentially to take on salary in a bigger deal involving one of the team’s biggest names.

The remainder of this season from a management perspective is all about preparation. The real work of improving the team will be done in the summer.

RECENTLY BY JONATHAN WILLIS

  • Just to clear something up here: You don’t fold as a team. There’s no dive for the first overall pick from the coaches or the players. Everybody actually planning and playing the games has to be trying to win.

    As a general manager, though, I would expect Peter Chiarelli to be realistic. This team isn’t making the playoffs. They’re too far back.

    Most teams are still in the playoff race and thus don’t want futures, so you can’t deal those. Your own players’ values are at an all-time low (with a few exceptions) as the club battles its way through a bad slump, so if you want to move Eberle you’re trading him for 50 cents on the dollar. On top of that, every team in the league seems to be within a hair of the salary cap, so there’s no room to maneuver the way there is in the summer.

    If there’s a deal to be made with another team in a similar position, that might alter the dynamics and by all means make it. But don’t make a trade that makes the team worse just for the sake of making a trade.

    • A-Mc

      Well, why didn’t you just say that?!? Haha

      Logic and reason, but we’re all still gonna moan and groan. Infact, I wouldn’t be shocked to see jerseys hit the ice at rexall again if they put in any performances at home like they did in Toronto. The patience is gone in this city.

    • Spiel

      But we were told that McDavid, Hall, Nuge were all “part of the plan”.

      The problem for the Oilers over the past seasons has been they have played it almost too safe.

      Let me explain.
      Exhibit A – The Cory Schneider situation. The Canucks traded Cory Schneider to the Devils for the 9th overall pick. News leaks out that the Canucks had asked for the Oilers 7th overall pick plus a 2nd rounder (56th overall), and a young player (reported as Marincin). Oilers balked at the price. MSM agreed and said the price was too high. They missed out on one of the best goalies in the league. Instead they have been through Dubnyk, Bryzgalov, etc, etc to try and plug that hole. Schneider would have cost Nurse, Marco Roy, and Marincin from the Oilers assets. In order to try and fix that goaltending position they have traded away:
      3rd round pick for Scrivens
      3rd round and 5th round pick for Fasth
      Prospect for Nillsson
      2nd, 3rd and 7th round pick for Talbot
      Marincin ended up being traded for 4th.
      Marco Roy is barely a prospect anymore.

      So, the Oilers could have had Cory Schneider and essentially lost just Darnell Nurse and a 4th round in 2015 (Marincin). Would the Oilers have been better the last 3 seasons with Schneider? You bet. By my count they would also have kept at least 6 draft picks in the process. Not that those would have panned out, but who knows?

      Instead of making a gutsy move to get a top player at his position the Oilers were content to play it safe and not open themselves up for any criticism or overpay even though they were loaded with young future assets. Meanwhile the tires spin while the Oilers try to address the problem (goaltending) on the relative cheap.

      It is like buying made in China crap instead of paying a bit more for quality. Sure, the made in China crap can get you by in the short term, but it inevitably breaks down and you need to keep replacing it. If you just paid more for quality in the first place you would be better off in the long term.

      Moral of the story. To get a quality defenceman, you need to pay for it. Whether it is in development time and spending on a first round pick, or spending high valued assets in a trade for a more known commodity. They might (gasp!) even have to overpay to get the player they need.

      • Hemmercules

        I’m not really sure how the moves of an incompetent GM from a couple years ago has anything to do with Chiarelli right now but ok.

        I can’t fathom how anyone expects Chiarelli to make the Oilers a playoff team in such a short period but according to a lot of people here its quite easy and he just sucks at being a GM.

        Seriously though, 1-2 defensemen grow on trees. There are like 20 teams right now trying to offload them for small skilled forwards. Chia should have been able to land like 4 of them by now since the beginning of the season. They should fire him now and look for the next guy before its too late.

        • Spiel

          Well that incompetent GM is Chia’s right hand man at this point, so there is that….

          It is the mantra being spouted by Willis of wait until you can get better perceived value. At some point you actually need to fill the obvious holes in your organization with good players. And it might mean that you trade away good players at redundant positions to do so.

          Fans are not asking for 4 good defensemen, how about one?

          • hagar

            The oilers don’t trade when players have good value. When they suck, they don’t trade them because their value is too low, and when they are good, they don’t trade them because they think they are a key to future success.

            It’s all quite the thing. This team is scared of doing anything that isn’t Luke warm.

          • Hemmercules

            I think comment #168 sums up the whole thing pretty well.

            Should chia have done more this summer?…..probably

            Did he try and nothing worked out other than what he ended up with?…very possible

            I do have a pretty good feeling Mact and Howsen were advising Chia this summer to some degree. How could they not, they build this disaster and he knew next to nothing about the team coming in from the east. I don’t like Mact and Howsen being involved but at least they arent the top of the food chain in their positions. Who knows, maybe Chia cans them this summer.

            If they make a trade now, they probably don’t make the playoffs anyway this season and winning that trade is likely very difficult to do as JW stated. If they wait until the deadline and summer they have more teams to dance with. Maybe there is trade out there that works for them right now and won’t cost them the world but i don’t see it happening until at least later into january.

            I not happy with where the team is in the standings either. Obviously they need some new personelle in some areas. I’m just not ready to give up on Chia yet. Too much turnover on this team from top to bottom to throw in the towel.

    • Chaz

      Agree with what you’re saying here, but it’s worth mentioning the risk of not making any major moves: the team keeps losing and inaction by management communicates that losing is acceptable. I think the whole “we aren’t making the playoffs anyways, let’s deal with this mess in the summer” mentality is responsible for the pathetic losing culture that infects this team.

      Not saying make a bad trade for the hell of it, but until winning now becomes a focus for this team they will continue to be the worst franchise in the NHL.

    • XL Lebowski

      Not necessarily disagreeing with you that the time to make a move is not right now, but I am hesitant everytime I hear that trading *insert slumping playing here* is trading him for 50 cents on the dollar. To be fair, if said player(s) were not slumping the Oilers would not be 30th place right now. As it stands, said player will most likely turn the corner by the end of the season convincing everyone that the Oilers are ready for the ever elusive next step. They will not trade said player, and we will be having this conversation of said player 365 days from now. Individual straight up trades the Oilers will most definitely lose when it comes to trading their skill players, but that mentality has cost the Oilers years of rebuilding (see bold moves). The fact is this team is not balanced, the goal of this rebuild was to win a cup not make the playoffs. Good luck going through 4 rounds (3 through the west) with this forward core of 60 plus hits a game. Again, I am not advocating a move merely to shake things up, but until that core forward group is re-examined this group is not going anywhere. Eberle is 26 his window with this group is closing, is he the best candidate value-wise. What return would he garner in-season or in the off-season.

  • A-Mc

    Whatever. I realize I need to stop complaining about this pathetic franchise and just stop watching this garbage. Cuz if you don’t care, it won’t bother you!

  • The Last Of Barrett's Privateers

    The fan base needs to step back and rationally look at the situation; this team was dumpster fire under MacTavish and if it’s all possible made it even worse than Tambellini ever did.

    If Chiarelli trades certain players he also runs the risk of dividing his team, we al;so have to remember that this is Chiarelli’s first year.

    Did anyone honestly think the Oilers where a playoff team?

    If you did, I praise your optimistic view but for the majority of fans we knew this would be a year in which (paraphrasing) a year in which McLellan said there will be some very difficult times.

    Well, he we are and MSM have got a lot of fans in a frenzy with stupid trade speculation to further their own agendas and being fans of 9 years out of playoffs some of us (including myself) took the bait.

    If you knew the Oilers were going to be out of the playoffs for another year, then what difference does it matter where they sit in the standings as long as we see growth?

    We are seeing marginal growth, but the Oilers have also had injuries to key players and the flu that wiped out most of the team.

    Clearly, the team has assets, but trading from a position of weakness is death.

    In the summer, Chiarelli has draft picks, Wingers, combined with RFA’s and UFA’s and dealing from a position of strength.

    This summer is when the fans should get a real sense of where the team will be going.

    just my opinion.

    • A-Mc

      Don’t ask me to be patient and tell me it’s because Mactavish made this team a tire fire.

      Don’t ask me to be patient and tell me we have a new gm now and it’s gonna take time

      Don’t ask me to be patient when the guy your blaming it on is still collecting paycheques to advise the new guy

    • A-Mc

      But its always “this summer is when…”. When does the team do something that actually starts to pay off?

      If you go back to press conferences during the season when Tom Renney was coach, You’ll hear the exact same verbiage regarding consistency, personnel, learning, etc. If you go back to the blogs from that time, you’ll read the exact same text regarding “Smart times to make a trade”.

      The messaging surrounding the team has been a literal groundhog day for years now. So when is it time to break the mold? When do results finally start to swing upwards instead of just the Hopes and Wishes of the fans?

      Timing means a lot and i understand all that but at what point does the team decide to act in the here and now instead of waiting for futures?

      PS: Im responding more to the end of your post. You have lots of info in there and i agree with many parts; im speaking to the last part specifically.

  • BobbyCanuck

    I am sure there are GM’s out there that given the current success of our latest players deemed not good enough for the Oilers (Dubby, Petry), feel that they will be able to get said player turned around into NHL quality.

    You may think that Ebs, Yak, RNH have zero trade value, but if they played on a team with the correct mix of player whom could augment them…they could become very good, dependable players…

    Maybe, whatever, hardly matters now, another season 10 games away from being a total flush

    • A-Mc

      The only comment i’ll make regarding this is that i dont think anyone seriously believes that we’d be trading any of those 3 because they suck. The trolls will claim that they have 0 value, but that’s just ignorance speaking.

      I think the sentiment is that you need to give up value to get value and what we need is a valuable top end defender. In order to get that, we need to give up top end talent, which Ebs/RNH are. Yak is still TBD.

      The reason Ebs/RNH are being named is not because of a state of declined play, but its because the team has some depth to replace them (to some degree) if we were to move them.

      If Ebs gets moved, he will be replaced by draisaitl when McDavid comes back.

      If RNH gets moved, Draisaitl/McDavid become the top 2 Centermen.

      A lot of the speculation hinges on the notion that Draisaitl can make one of either Ebs or RNH expendable. If you agree with that or not, is another story. Personally i am leery about trading an experienced centerman, so i’d lean towards dangling Ebs (pun intended).

  • Here we are, yet again, clearly out of the playoffs by November (albeit not mathematically yet). The more things change, the more they stay the same. I believe that in order to improve in areas they need to (namely the blue line) some more drastic changes are needed, but I’d agree with JW that it isn’t going to happen probably until the summer.

    Also, I’d be amazed if the Islanders swap Hamonic for Schultz, but I’d do that in a heart beat at any point that they are willing to do that.

    Failing that, I’d have to think that the back-end heavy Predators could work something out with the front-end heavy Oilers somehow.

    There are few untouchables on this team at this point, but since all the “don’t trade Baby Nuge!” folks are getting their shorts in a bunch, it should be said that the only reason to trade a guy of that caliber is if you get a top end defenseman in return. If you can’t get that, you don’t move Nuge. Center depth is definitely a very nice thing to have, but there are very few opportunities to add a high end defenseman, and if Nuge manages to get that done, then so be it.

    When people talk about making Nuge available, they aren’t chasing him out of town. Most sane Oilers fans that are OK with moving him aren’t down on him either, we just realize that in order to get quality in return you have to typically give quality. The fact is, this team has needed a high end defenseman for years… arguably since Pronger left town. The moment you can solve that problem, you should jump on it, as long as it doesn’t completely crumble your team. Moving Nuge wouldn’t do that, in my opinion, because both McDavid and Draisaitl look like they’ll be great at C. Ideally you keep all of Nuge, Drai and McDavid AND somehow get a top pair D-man, but that seems to be pretty unlikely to happen. It’s unlikely we get a top pair D-man even with Nuge available, but it is at least an option Chia should be considering.

  • Spaceman Spiff

    Sigh.

    “Next” deadline. “Next” summer. “Next” season.

    Next, next, next…

    I’m 43 years old and I’ve been an Oilers fan since I was 11. I’ll always be an Oilers fan. But even I’m getting tired of “next.” How about …“now?”
    How about some sense of urgency … mid-season? How about an attempt to right the ship while we’re still Christmas-shopping? How about some good-old-fashioned panic?

    I’m getting tired of waiting for trade deadlines, draft lotteries, entry drafts and free-agent-frenzy days to make moves. I’m tired of my patience being taken for granted, year-after-year-after year … next-after-next-after-next.

    Yes, I know. We need to beware of rash decisions. Of bad trades. Of the possibility that a player we trade away turns into, say, Miro Satan or Kirk Maltby or Devan Dubnyk. I get that.

    But right now, it feels like this franchise is living its own version of Groundhog Day. Hopeful summer, followed by promising training camp, followed by slow start, followed by disastrous CFR road trip, followed by December doldrums, followed by the January blues, followed by discussions on whom is untouchable, followed by who the top prospects are for the June draft. Wash, rinse, repeat.

    The Oilers are too small in too many of the wrong places in their forward lines. They don’t have enough vocal leadership in the dressing room. Their best defencemen are three guys under the age of 23. They haven’t developed a decent goalie since Grant Fuhr (Dubnyk was rescued from the Oilers; not developed by it) and haven’t traded for a decent one since Dwayne Roloson. They’ve swapped out GMs, coaches, assistants, scouts … hell, even the training staff got taken behind the barn a few years ago.

    Twenty-six years ago last month, Glen Sather traded Jimmy Carson (who scored 49 goals the year before in Edmonton) for three Detroit Red Wings of questionable value. The Oilers were four or five games under .500 at the time. Seven months later, they won the Stanley Cup, thanks, in no small part, to that trade and those three Detroit castoffs.

    Time to get serious, in-season. Chiarelli once traded away Joe Thornton in December. A few years later, he won the Cup. Time to get creative. To get brave. Time to kill the groundhog.

  • Spaceman Spiff

    Sigh.

    “Next” deadline. “Next” summer. “Next” season.

    Next, next, next…

    I’m 43 years old and I’ve been an Oilers fan since I was 11. I’ll always be an Oilers fan. But even I’m getting tired of “next.” How about …“now?”
    How about some sense of urgency … mid-season? How about an attempt to right the ship while we’re still Christmas-shopping? How about some good-old-fashioned panic?

    I’m getting tired of waiting for trade deadlines, draft lotteries, entry drafts and free-agent-frenzy days to make moves. I’m tired of my patience being taken for granted, year-after-year-after year … next-after-next-after-next.

    Yes, I know. We need to beware of rash decisions. Of bad trades. Of the possibility that a player we trade away turns into, say, Miro Satan or Kirk Maltby or Devan Dubnyk. I get that.

    But right now, it feels like this franchise is living its own version of Groundhog Day. Hopeful summer, followed by promising training camp, followed by slow start, followed by disastrous CFR road trip, followed by December doldrums, followed by the January blues, followed by discussions on whom is untouchable, followed by who the top prospects are for the June draft. Wash, rinse, repeat.

    The Oilers are too small in too many of the wrong places in their forward lines. They don’t have enough vocal leadership in the dressing room. Their best defencemen are three guys under the age of 23. They haven’t developed a decent goalie since Grant Fuhr (Dubnyk was rescued from the Oilers; not developed by it) and haven’t traded for a decent one since Dwayne Roloson. They’ve swapped out GMs, coaches, assistants, scouts … hell, even the training staff got taken behind the barn a few years ago.

    Twenty-six years ago last month, Glen Sather traded Jimmy Carson (who scored 49 goals the year before in Edmonton) for three Detroit Red Wings of questionable value. The Oilers were four or five games under .500 at the time. Seven months later, they won the Stanley Cup, thanks, in no small part, to that trade and those three Detroit castoffs.

    Time to get serious, in-season. Chiarelli once traded away Joe Thornton in December. A few years later, he won the Cup. Time to get creative. To get brave. Time to kill the groundhog.

  • SmythsMullet

    Funny how Buffalo improved. Funny how Arizona improved. Sad how in a decade of losing that without McDavid we are still bottom feeders. We have the Aces and Kings but they are young. The fact we have no veteran D or effective 3rd and 4th lines speak of the incompetence of prior managers. I agree with Willis. Lets eat more humble pie, actually choke it down, it would be foolish to make a bad trade at this point.

    • ubermiguel

      arizona also has a wealth of talented prospects on the way.
      They stuck with a slumping goaltender who voodooed his way back to top form.
      Wile we panicked and traded ours away for pennies on the dollar.

      Hope management has learned their lesson about trading away slumping talented players.

  • Zarny

    Good article for what it’s worth; but really it’s common sense. You can’t force a trade. Most teams are not looking to make major moves 20 something games into the season. And most won’t be interested in sacrificing a top D at the deadline.

    Last week Brad Treliving commented you need to be patient, which in no way means being content. Like it or lump it, there are no quick fixes.

    In general, many need to get a grip. The criticism for listless performances is spot on but overall the Oilers performance is better this year. They’ve shown themselves capable of competing against most teams. The chicken little attitude is as pathetic as the Oiler’s effort in Toronto.

  • Big red ginger snap

    before trading anyone yet which i think is very hard to do anyways why not try a night our two in the press box for some of these so called wonder kids. it could bring them down a notch or two and we could see play improve.

  • XL Lebowski

    One thing I like about Chiarelli is he’s giving us some info but not too much. Unfortunately McTavish would show his hand through the media and he never had any leverage with other GMs. Chiarelli may make a deal this month. He may make one at the trade deadline. Or yes, at the draft next year. He’s waiting for someone else to blink.

    I can understand why people are impatient. I am too. But I also lived through the WHA days when the team sucked and there was never any hope until Gretzky came from Indy. Don’t be too hasty to get rid of Yak. When paired with McDavid, he’s strong. Just like Kurri with Gretzky.
    If Kurri played his first year with Brett Callighen as his centreman, he may not have made the hall of fame. Great players like Gretzky and McDavid bring greatness out in others.

  • hagar

    So…. we are waiting around another year?

    Next year will be the year hopefully things start going in the right direction? Maybe the year after that?

    Hell, it’s only time!! Let’s give it another ten years to sort itself out before thinking about shaking things up!!

    This traffic hunting article makes me want to puke.

  • Soiled Trousers

    After reading this “article” and listening to the radio this morning I can see Katz had sent out his annual quiet down the fans marching orders. Preach patience and remind the ignoramuses about future prospects blah blah blah. Willis this propaganda piece puts you in the same category as Bob Stauffer. Just drink that in for a minute. You flirting with same league as the most disrespected shill man in the industry.

    If you want to do Katz’s bidding then get a job with the Chorus Radio Network, but don’t try to pass the party line off as journalism. It’s a slap in the face to those who actually practice the craft.

    • AJ88

      Every observer I’ve read or listened to has said the Oilers wouldn’t be in the playoffs this year. With as bad as the team has been, and with the constraints of the salary cap, I’d have a hard time seeing Ken Holland, Scotty Bowman and the ghost of Sam Pollock making this team a playoff team after last season.

      I mean, they could make a trade to make a trade. All summer, this site had dozens of posts urging Chiarelli to trade Draisatl for immediate help. We can say now that would have been a mistake, especially since the return they would have received for him after his 37 game, 7 point run would have been less than stellar.

      It’s a long-term project to improve this team, but they do have a quality player coming off the IR at some point. I think McDavid would have found a way to score against the Leafs.

  • Soiled Trousers

    Willis, WTF!! How can you accept this year after year thinking next year is going to come. There is no next year. That’s what I want to hear. You saying that there is not a decent trade for one of our albeit soft, but skilled talented forwards during the season? We are not talking about freshly picked #1 overalls here where you don’t dare trade them because the sample size is so small odds are great you can make a big mistake. This is insanity. Here we have a #1 dman, who is young, who is playing top minutes on a good team, can tutor a couple young up & coming kids we have. Do a deal. You telling me Snow wouldn’t look at a Nuge for Hamonic scenario? Yes we will need something added to the deal but it’s time to kill the groundhog already!

    • Zarny

      As a fan of the team currently tied for 29th with the worst goal differential in the league, you must be disappointed that Treliving is waiting and preaching patience lol.

      • smith

        There is a big difference. Treliving showed this summer that he will make big moves, and that he saw what the problems where with the flames (i.e aweful possession). The Oiler GM’s showed this summer and every other summer that they are bad at trades, do not recognize what the problems are, and are not able to find acceptable free agents. How many years have the Oiler management done nothing (successful) to fix the defence?

        After three years of living here I am really starting to feel invested in the oilers (shudder). One day my kids may even ask for an Oiler jersey! I do not know how all you lovely fans handle this. It is soooooooooooooo frustrating.

        • Hemmercules

          I’m not so sure Trelivings moves were any bigger than Chiarellis? They both signed a free agent for big dollars in an area of need, they both offered the same package on a player and lost out because Boston didn’t want to hand Hamilton to the Oilers. Chia also added a couple goalies, an area of need (Not great goalies but an upgrade for sure if that says anything). Chia also took a chance on Reinhart, gamble fore sure but the book is still out on him. I would almost say Chiarelli made and tried to do bigger moves than Treliving but they are blowing up in his face somewhat.

          Did I miss something that the Flames did other than get some guys return off injuries?

          • smith

            You might be right. I do feel Hamilton is a future top pairing defence man and that Frolik is a very good possession forward. The Oilers did do more for goaltending (but who knew the flames needed it)

            I at the time felt the Oilers did nothing to fix d, since I am not a big fan of Reinhart and do not feel that Sekara is an upgrade on Petry.

            I do think you are selling Nelson short in goaltending. I think he could be something.

            How many years have the Oilers made little tinkering moves and never successfully done a larger move. They did not get Bogosian, Hamilton, Myers, Suter, Burns, Yandle, Johnson, Shattenkirk etc. Defence have moved teams in the last 5 years (not a lot of true top pairing guys ) and the Oilers who are in desperate need for defence got none of them.

            Do Something!

          • Hemmercules

            Most of those Dmen you mention were before Chiarellis time with the Oilers, some of them have been with their current team for years.

            I do wish he would have did something more in the summer with regards to the defence but I dont think it was for lack of trying. Probably a tough position when teams are asking for Nurse or Drai or Ebs in a trade and you still aren’t sure if you should be keeping them or not.

            Hopefully Chia has seen all he needs to make some adjustments later during the season and into the summer but I dont think the time is right in regards to available players, cap space and fair dealings.

            Hamonic would be a great step in the right direction but giving up Klef or Nurse for him doesn’t really fill a void. The Oil just dont have what NY probably wants in that trade and thats an established Dman, most teams obviously dont have what they want or he would have been dealt 2 weeks ago.

  • For Pete's Sake!

    The unfortunate part of all this trade talk is that most of the players on the Oiler’s roster right now are playing so damn lousy that their trade value is virtually nil.

    If Chia starts talking trade with other GMs, there are only four names on the Oilers roster that will make their eyes light up. They are McDavid, Hall, Draisaitl and Nurse.

    So, if you really want to make a trade where you have a smidgeon of a chance of getting fair value back, it’s going to have to be one of those guys.

    The only one there that Chiarelli can even think of trading is Hall. He’d have to be very careful making that deal.

    It could work if we could get back a player or players who would make this team harder to play against.

    Please don’t get me wrong, I’m not a Hall hater. Far from it, I love the guy and think he’s one of the few bright spots on the team. But he’s the only one with any current trade value that I think Chia could trade without weakening the team and losing on the deal.

  • hagar

    Time is running out for this guy. Last year I said if things don’t turn around for the oilers this year, I am done with them.

    Might as well cut my losses at some point. If this team decides it is sitting pat with what it has this year, and that there is no point trying to improve until the next, then screw it all.

    Katz has run this team into the ground, and I don’t see a lot of spare money floating around these days. Going to be interesting to see how ticket sales are in the new building in the middle of an economic recession, and with absolutely ZERO indication of an oilers team that will ever compete again.

  • smith

    We win against Toronto and the headlines had already been written, .500 on a tough road trip. We would all be happy as pigs right now. But instead we got a stinker game and now we are trading two of our best forwards and have written off this season. Boy do they even need a win tonight…

    Come-on Chia, use a third team to get Hamonic. Our 1st rounder next year is at an all time high value. USE IT! There must be a bottom dwelling team like Phoenix who would love that pick. To Pho. our 1st, to Edm. Hamonic, to NYI: Gormley, + more from Phoenix plus Schultz and Ethan Bear or something like that. Don’t trade an asset when its at a low point, I trust Chia knows this…

  • smith

    Awesome.

    I have been saying for years that one of the largest problem with the Oilers is the lack of trying to win. The management gives the expectation that it is okay to lose. Then at the start of the year the players are suppose to magically develop a compete level. When this somehow does not happen then they all can go back to their happy little losing. You want a winning team? Commit to winning all the time. Make it unacceptable to lose!

  • AJ88

    Season not over , and lots can be done to help alleviate the team beyond just getting McDavid back . Players are already looking like they have given up by the looks of it again , and see even their so called best efforts not getting positive results . So they go thru the usual motions until near the end of year and then try to pick it up again . Same thing every season . Hard for players to alleviate their games when rest of team not doing much either other than going thru the motions . Make a big trade now , and that scenario will be broken and rest of team will alleviate their play pronto . Might even make us competitive now and down the line . Kick ass move on the so called core should spark them back to a higher level .

  • smith

    As a flame fan the best part about articles like this is year after year my comment (see above) will receive far more trashes than props and the losing will continue.

    The worst part, is that I live close to Edmonton and would love to go see some competitive NHL hockey or even better playoffs. I am even willing to cheer (a little ) for the Oilers if it means I will have a chance to see some good hockey.

    • For Pete's Sake!

      Worry about your own team Flamer. Them being second last in the league, they’re not exactly trending in the right direction.

      You can’t get any lower than the Oilers but your Flames are only “2” big points ahead of us.

      Worry about that.

      • smith

        The flames look worse than the oilers right now, but their is a big difference in organizational attitude. One says it is okay to lose the other that losing is never acceptable. This makes me feel quite confidant that the flames even if they have an awe full year (or two) that they will bounce back.

        I really would love to see a better Oiler team one day sooner rather than later.

        • For Pete's Sake!

          And you guys said Oilers fans were sipping the Koolaid last summer.

          Burky must be serving up some mighty strong stuff down in Calgary.

          Or they’re handing out rose colored glasses at the Saddledome.

        • AJ88

          Did you watch the Flames game against Dallas last night? Ouch. What I feared…the return of the Flames from last season. The Oil have yet to show us a game like that where they dig in and fight.

          • smith

            Yeah I watched. Not sure what it means in the long term. Do the flames play like that and miss out on the playoffs by 3 points? Do they make the playoffs? (seems unlikely) Does the goalie crap the bed (again) and they sink below the Oilers? Did you see the goals Dallas scored? Wow Ramo and Hiller are bad this year.

  • Comment 102. Comment 109.

    102: The Oilers are in this situation again because not enough was done over the summer. That’s on Peter Chiarelli, and it’s also on Craig MacTavish because Chiarelli’s hands were tied to some extent by poor contracts (many of which will be off the books this year).

    109: This isn’t a situation where the team or coaches should stop trying to win games. It’s a situation where it’s hard to make a good trade and really, really easy to make a bad one. If a good one is possible, great! I doubt it is.

    None of this is about letting Chiarelli off the hook for a poor summer performance. It’s about not compounding those errors with a poor and short-sighted in-season performance.

    • smith

      Does anyone know what role MacT still plays with the organization? I would think in pretty much any other situation with any other team in the league, the old GM is fired and shown the door. Not kept around.

  • Axiv

    Oilers were 5-7 with McDavid. You can make the argument that they went 4-4 after he got comfortable.

    Either way, that’s what people who actually know stuff about hockey were projecting for the season. The Oilers are doing worse now because… Connor McDavid is not playing hockey.

    Not because Chiarelli is an idiot. Not because MacTavish and Lowe are using the force to control hockey ops. Not because McLellan is actually a bad coach.

    If Leon plays a great season, absolutely move some combination of RNH, Ebs, ’16/’17 first, spare dman to land a quality top pairing guy.

    Hall, Drai, McD, Nurse are a great core. Pou is a great complimentary player, Yak is cheap and great with McD.

    We need a top line Pou type right winger, and a top pairing defenseman. We have the pieces to make that happen. Relax.

    • Spiel

      So without the generational talent that the Oilers were gifted in a lottery, the team is as bad as ever.
      The moves that the GM actually had to make decisions on have been neutral to negative for the health of the franchise.

    • Spiel

      Right. A few more first overalls and this will all be fixed for the Oilers. Oilers are building through the first round, but not the rest of the draft. That’s the problem.

      FYI, The last team to have 3 first overall picks in consecutive drafts was the Quebec Nordiques:
      1989 – Mats Sundin
      1990 – Owen Nolan
      1991 – Eric Lindros

      The team won a cup in 1996 as the Colorado Avalanche. NONE of those first overall picks were on the cup winning team. All of them were traded for key pieces (or for pieces that were moved for key pieces) of the cup winning roster.

  • smith

    This is the season where Chiarelli gets to know the team better and discovers just how soft and one dimensional some of the players are. I have nothing against keeping Hall, Eberle, Nuge or Yak as individual players and could even tolerate having Schultz as a 6-7 D man, but collectively there is still not enough grit and character on this team.

    Added to that, these guys are already making about $6/6/6/4/4 million in respective cap hits. You can’t keep all that and expect to also extend McDavid, Drasaitl plus sign a first pairing defenceman (or a high level goalie who can bail this team out every other night). There won’t be enough cap space for all these guys.

    I actually think this team would be better off if they unloaded one of Eberle or Nuge for two quality middle six forwards, with one being a solid checking center that can win faceoffs and take all the def zone starts against top opposition and the other being a big, gritty winger. (I wonder if the Flyers are still interested in Eberle?) The other one of the two could be packaged with Yak and draft picks for more help on defence.

    By the way, most GM’s won’t qualify Schultz at $4M and I’m guessing Schultz won’t extend at a lower salary unless it’s with a Canadian team and he gets an NMC, so to a large extent you can consider him a pending UFA. His trade value to most teams is very low at the moment.

  • Spiel

    Good article Mr. Wilis. I can agree with everything you say.

    For you bridge jumpers, this doesn’t mean they don’t keep trying to improve the team. They just don’t make trades just for sake of making trades.

    As JW pointed out, you don’t turn your nose up at a good trade but consideration must be given to the future, not the right-now-today.

    There is a lot more to fixing this team than just moving players in and out.

    And to everyone that still thinks KLowe, MacT, Nikitin and Ferrence are a huge part of the problem, please check with Bagged Milk. He has a solution.

  • oilerjed

    I couldn’t disagree with you more Jonathan, it is way past time that this team starts to learn how to win. If we wait until next year to get the ball rolling which will cost us yet another year!
    It is time to do the number two or get off the pot!