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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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



  • Oilfan69

    When Chia chose not to buy out Nikitin and Purcell last summer he signalled that he was looking toward next year. I think there will be some major moves in the upcoming off season. In season moves of significance re rare.

    • bradleypi

      So by your logic Chiarelli sat on his hands this summer because he could see into the future and has a whole bunch of trades that are all magically gonna happen because you say so? I’m with madjam on this one. Chiarelli did nothing this summer but hope McDavid would fix this mess and trade our best defensive center for magic beans. What are some of these major moves you see in the future that couldn’t have happened last summer or in season?

        • bradleypi

          I’m not. You blatantly stated that Chiarelli was “looking towards next year”. Those are your words not mine. What did you mean by that? We all know how contracts work. They expire. You made it sound like there’s some master plan and he knows exactly what moves he’s gonna make.

    • 24% body fat

      How are we to get reasonable value in a trade with our club firmly in the basement all year ? We are not going to get it , and values will only get worse staying as we are over course of year .

    • bradleypi

      Ya…. cause ference sitting in the press box is the problem that ails the oilers. Yeesh! Give it a rest already. Chiarelli had his chance to buy him out in the summer so complaining about him being here is no one’s fault but the gms.

  • Cain

    The goal is to make us a better team now , not next year ! Chia had ample time to fascilitate trades and rid the team of some bad contracts . He did none of that ! We are still in sight of playoffs in Pacific division if he was faster at doing something to help make team better . He has done nothing ! Why wait till next year , for another first overall draft pick ? Then the team has decided to tank already , and that attitude makes one sick to even contemplate . Patience it seems is just an excuse for incompetence and tardiness.

      • Cain

        If the Oilers win the next 9 games in a row they will be at 0.500 (17 wins and 17 losses). Even then they’re not going to make the playoffs playing .500 hockey. Need to get about 94 points which is over .500. Currently on pace for 59 points. Looks like they’ll miss by about 17 wins.

    • Hemmercules

      The goal for any GM is to make their team better. Dont think Chia is just sitting there in his office every day not doing anything, trades are hard to make in the NHL, this isn’t trading hockey cards in the school yard at recess.

      Chia basically said himself when he was hired that it would be a process that wouldn’t just flip into a playoff team instantly. Like it or not this is Chia’s time to evaluate the players he was given. Its easy to say “buy them out, they suck” but you have to look at the bigger picture.

      Anyone with half a brain should have known the oilers weren’t going to be storming into the playoff this season so why buy out Nikitin and Ference and handcuff the team with wasted cap space for a couple years?? There was also the possibility that Ference and Nikintin would be decent enough to be depth defensemen or bottom pairing guys.

      I think by now Chia probably has a good idea of what he has with most of the guys in the system and he will start making calculated decisions on each and every one of them. Nikitin will be off the books or traded by seasons end, Ference will likely be bought out or traded be seasons end. Oilers fans hate to hear it, but it takes time. Chia has had about 5 months which really isn’t very long.

      As awesome as it was to hire guys with winning experience like Chia and Tmac, it also signalled somewhat of a new rebuild was coming and thats exactly what we are getting. Changing coaches, Gms and half the team every year isn’t a recipe for success. I want to see most of this team, coaches and GM stay together for a decent period of time for once, even if it means losing of a bit longer. Sucks but life isn’t fair.

      • The Future Never Comes

        Sounds like I could make a lot of money selling you stuff! Sucker born every minute…

        How many moves has Chia made so far? How many have worked out???

        • Hemmercules

          I thought signing Sekera and getting Talbot were good moves. There were other teams gunning for those guys so its not like he took bottom of the barrel players there. Missed out on Hamiton but not for lack of trying, hard to make a big deal with a team that just canned you. I think he tried for Hamonic but settled on Reinhart, not looking like the best move yet but maybe that one pans out down the road. As for the other guys he picked up, not so great but sometimes you take what you can get I guess. The 29 other teams in the NHL aren’t dying to send their best payers to the Oilers for draft picks and depth payers so I’m not feeling too shocked about his moves so far. I do think evaluation time is over and moves will start being made before the deadline.

          As for the Oilers selling me stuff, I haven’t payed a single dime to the oilers via merchandise or game tickets since the very second Mact returned as GM and canned Krueger for Eakins. That was it for me. I have donated only my time since then.

    • When they opted to absorb Nikitin’s cap hit entirely this year it signaled that this isn’t the year to win. It sucks, but rather than buy out him and our other bad contracts and penalise our cap hit for years PC opted to take our medicine now and just get over all of those bad contracts “quickly” so we can have money to keep our good players.

      It never was about winning now. That’s why all this McJesus talk was a bad idea. McDavid is a great player but he ain’t saving us, even when healthy. The first step to our salvation is removing the bad contracts and management’s, and it is a painful procedure. But… No more old boys club, and soon we will shed the bad contracts. Then we can finally have a level playing field again rather than having over 11% of our cap in Ference and Nikitin.

      And props to Andrew Ference getting that NMC. That was a savvy, savvy move.

  • Cain

    TRUE STORY:

    My boss just gave me tickets to tonight’s game…….I truly cannot determine if it is a reward for hard work or punishment and I may be getting fired soon.

  • Anton CP

    Eberle has 3 points in 12 games, Chiarelli’s not gonna get anything for him now. May as well wait until the trade deadline, put him on Connor MD’s line and pump up his stats then trade him for soemone larger and who has some grit. Eberle is the “softest” player in the NHL. Offensively skilled but WAY too soft. I’d keep Yak, at least he knows how to take the body. IMO

      • 24% body fat

        Eberle has never been a winner. His clutch performances in two games on a stacked Canadian team as an overager was so long ago. What has he done since. He will gt destroyed in the playoffs. But we win never know because as long as he is on the team we will not make the playoffs.

        Look at all his years in junior and as a pro. His teams sucks. Losing culture starts with him now that the 08 roster has been turned over.

      • Delete

        Where was Mr. Clutch when the Oilers needed a goal against Toronto the other night?

        Didn’t want to use up his goal quota in case those goals are needed come playoff time?

        Does he continue to let everyone else to the heavy work to get him into post-season play so he can unleash the awesome?

      • Cain

        Based on junior performances, really?

        That was 6 (six) years ago,against junior skill level players.

        Eberle gets 6 (six) million dollars a year.

        He is a good complimentary player if he has someone to do the dirty work for him.He has great hands, and can finish the play after the heavy work has been done.

        He is NOT a driver and would do well on a larger, more aggressive team. On this small team, he is only part of the problem.

    • smith

      Ebs is returning from injury, and probably not 100%. He has proven to be a consistent performer over the years. I think he still has more points than Hall, since they both came into the league. You don’t flush a player when he has a bad 10 games, especially when he is coming off an injury. Hall has gone through the same thing, playing sub par when coming off an injury. I think patience is the key right now, and based on Chiarelli’s interview, I think he agrees.

      This year is not the year we are going to win the cup, so lets give this team a full year to develop, and see where we are at the end of the year, when hopefully everyone is healthy. Then we can assess where we are and what we need going forward. Personally, at this point, I think getting some good 3rd line players would help this team more then anything at this point.

      For defense, Buy out Ference, so we can get Reinhart up full time. We will also need to replace Purcell ( or resign him at 1/2 of what he is making now)

      Hall-RNH-Draisaitl
      Pouliot-Mcdavid-Ebs

      Is good for top 6.
      Bottom 6 is a bit of a mess.
      3rd line
      Hendricks-???-???
      Lander-Letestu-Pak/Klink

      Defense.. We are so weak on the right side it is silly. I don’t really like any of our RD’s. Sekera, Nurse and Klefbom are good enough for me, but I would trade any of the rest of them to bring in some better RD’s. Davidson(love him but we need some better righty’s), Schultz, Gryba, Fayne, Ference(lol), Nikitin, Reinhart. I would package them up (together and with picks) and trade them away to bring in some better RD’s. Reinhart + 1st round pick for Seth Jones? Maybe try shopping Yak + Schultz too.

      Sekera-???
      Nurse-???
      Klefbom-???

  • A-Mc

    Totally crazy article.

    The ONLY goal of a professional sports team is to win the next game. If the management is not committed to that, stop going to the games there is LOTS of entertaining hockey played in local arenas all around Alberta.

    If we have a culture of not doing everything possible to win the next game, what good pro hockey player will give up his one chance at free agency to come here without an overpayment?

    If we have a culture of not doing everything possible to win the next game, what good pro would waive their no move clause to come here?

    Why would our best players ride out their prime hockey years in this culture?

    • cpetruk

      The goal isn’t to win the next game—the goal is to win the Stanley Cup. THAT is the only goal, for the players, coaches and management.

      To do that you need to build a team. Chiarelli has been handcuffed with terrible contracts from the previous management team but a lot of that dead weight is gone next summer. Cap space will open up. Roster spots will open up. Many of the overpays of MacT/Lowe will be gone.

      While it’s important to win “the next game” that is a shortsighted view.

      • Danglishish

        Wanna know how you win the Stanley cup?? By winning the next game!! If you win the next game enough, eventually you win the cup. It’s called learning how to win

      • Cain

        PC made lots of free will choices this off-season, and the league rules allow him many options to free the team of bad contracts.

        I agree the goal is to win the Stanley Cup… I would like to point out the evidential Stanley Cup winner are the last team “to win the next game”

    • JDP

      Exactly…..its so much fun to lose. This article duplicates the past and hopefully not current management style. Lets just sleep on it…..no frigging thank you.

  • TKB2677

    I am as big of an Oilers fan as there is. I have been one of the fans that has been patient and has preached patience. I love Hall, Eberle, Nuge and it would kill me to see any of them go. BUT how much longer do you keep the same guys and watch them do the same thing year after year?

    They got rid of the President. They got rid of 2 GM’s (Tambo and Mac T). They are on their 6th coach in what 6 years? (Quinn, Renney, Kruger, Eakins, Nelson, McLellan). They seem to swap out the majority of their bottom 6 every year. When do you start looking at the guys that actually play the most minutes? There is noting left to change. I’m saying go scorched earth but don’t you have to look at getting rid of at least one of Hall, Nuge, Eberle to not only change up the look, feel and make up of the team but to bring in a piece or pieces to improve your team?

    They aren’t getting rid of McDavid. Getting rid of Draisaitl given their extreme lack of necessary skilled size would be insane. They already are hurting for defense so getting rid of Nurse or Klefbomb, the only 2 young, seemingly locks as top 4 guys they have makes zero sense. So who’s left to actually get you something of value? Yak’s worth nothing. Schultz is worth nothing. All the 3rd and 4th liners won’t get you anything. All that’s left is Hall, Nuge, Eberle.

    • Mike Krushelnyski

      Not to mention next season being a lost season too, or at best a “development” season, because we’ve seen time and time again that you can’t take a last place roster and turn them into a playoff team in one summer.

      Does Katz really want to open up the new rink with a team that maybe has an outside chance of cracking the top-20 in the league? This fan base has proved pretty patient, but there has to be a breaking point.

  • JuicyKillerWhale

    I agree that we shouldn’t make any rash moves but jeez is it embarrassing to be an oiler fan right now. I would start shopping our first round pick this year, yes I know what that pick could turn into but we need to get back on track ASAP. Also moving that pick would send a message saying that were done with this losing atmosphere.

  • Danglishish

    So what you are saying is that the first re-build that was replaced with the second re-build should now be replaced with another re-build?

    What are we playing lego here? Just move out the soft players, the non-drivers and get some players that will compliment the core………the core being MacDavid, Hall, RNH, LD, Nurse, Klefblom.

    • 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.

  • vetinari

    Let’s be realistic for a second and not treat the real NHL like a video game: a new GM always wants time to evaluate his current roster and farm team before making any “bold” moves.

    Chiarelli’s only fault with player contracts, in my opinion, is that he didn’t rid himself of one or both of Ference and Nikitin in the offseason by any means necessary. If he can somehow trade one or both of them this season, even if it is only for a 7th rounder or another like valued expiring contract expiring at the end of the year, would be a bonus.

    Bringing in Talbot and Nilsson were reasonable gambles with Scrivens battling them both.

    He’ll likely do what you would expect over the next few months:

    1. stay the course and let McLellan get his systems set up with the current core group of players;

    2. dump contracts at the deadline (Purcell, Schultz and any other expiring UFAs and RFAs) for picks;

    3. collect our likely top 5 pick for the draft;

    4. go shopping at the draft and on July 1st for trades and UFA that make sense.

    By September 2016, I expect 3-4 new faces in the forward ranks; 1-2 new faces on defence; and at least one new goalie.

    I also expect two out of Schultz, Eberle, RNH or Yakupov to be moved for help at defence and for physical forwards. Sorry if it is your favorite that gets traded but if Gretzky and Messier can be traded, then damn near anyone can be on the block.

  • 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.

    • 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

      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.

  • CMG30

    Depressing but logical argument. PC made the decision last summer to clear away dead wood to enable big moves in 2016. We said in the summer that there was no way he could get it all done in one season. Still, I didn’t think we’d see the Oil in last place again.

    In no way do I feel that the Oil should tank this season. The rest of this year needs to be used to get experience to the young D, and to get McLellans style embedded throughout the lineup. Besides, as Drisitle shows, there’s plenty of talent in the bottom 5-10. No need to finish last. Grow a culture of winning!

    • JDP

      This organization has no balls…..they can only pick #1 overall in the draft but can’t pull the trigger on a decent trade. So many comments about the teams losing culture but yet you want the bacterial waste just to progress for another long year!

      • JDP

        My point here(which was obviously missed by you when taking your pills) is that the appropriate people are to make decisions. Not armchair GMS like we have been used to.

  • Axiv

    Potential trade proposals:

    1. RNH + Schultz + 3rd Round Pick to COL for Duchene + Barrie (taking on 0.7 million in salary)

    2. RNH to CBJ for Johansen (CBJ will be taking on 2 million in salary, will need to make another move or include a player for draft pick to even up salary)

    For the record, I would only entertain trading RNH if an established center is coming back. I like our new-found center depth, and don’t want to get rid of it. However, I believe our core needs a shake-up. Colorado and Columbus probably wouldn’t be opposed to an equal-value shake-up either.

    Personally, I would prefer to trade Eberle long before RNH, but neither of these deals would happen from the other side’s perspective if Eberle is swapped in for RNH.

    Bring on dem trashes!

  • Mike Krushelnyski

    When will this cycle stop? Every Summer the team makes some small moves and everyone raises expectations that “they will be better”.

    December comes and the team still blows but articles such as these come out suggesting “focus on next year”. Over and over and over again its been the same thing.

    It’s time to focus on this year, not next. Stop thinking of Auston Matthews, make a trade to improve this season so the team has something to build on for next year.

  • What a bunch of crap. The goal should be to get better NOW not wait another summer. Plus…. There’s only a limited number of moves you can do in the summer and then you will be saying “Rome was not built in a day” and so on, welcome to the infinite rebuild.
    On the same logics, because we are out of the play offs then let’s not get McDavid back, send him to the minors.
    On the same breathe let the players not play, not show up…. Why would they even want to play under this silly logic that winning isn’t important now?

    No! That’s losing culture! That’s a “leave it for tomorrow ” mediocre attitude that only mediocre people settle for.

    Change whatever needs to be changed and do it NOW, no one is untouchable. Maybe we can win 40 games if the right chemistry is achieved and paired with courage, ambition , perseverance…. And if not, we will still be proud that our team tried hard, until the last game.

    What a sucky article (there I said it)…. So why go to work Willis? You are not going to win the Pulitzer this year, so why show up?

  • TKB2677

    It blows me away how big the “untouchables” list is on a 30th place team that’s been near the bottom of the league for as long as the Oilers have been.
    In my opinion, there should be 5 guys on the “untouchables” list. 2 centers, 1 winger and 2 dmen. When making that list, you should be asking yourself “can I replace what he does.” My list is:

    McDavid – you can’t replace the future best player in the world.
    Draisaitl – The Oilers have been dying for a big, skilled top 6 center since they traded Arnott. They traded Arnott in 1997.
    Nurse – The Oilers have been searching for a big, strong, mean, puck moving, good skating top pairing guy since Pronger. He’s young but he looks like he might be that. They have nothing else like him and have been trying to get top Dmen for almost 10 years.
    Klefbomb – The Oilers have lacked good, top 4 dmen since 2006. He’s big, strong, moves the puck well and can skate. They have nothing else like him and have been trying to get top Dmen for almost 10 years.

    Hall. He’s been their best player since they got him. He’s one of the best Left Wingers in the game. He’s a driver and has been their best player by a lot this season.

    Those are my 5.

  • Chaz

    Something tells me Six rings and Mac have to much say in this team.Many people are tuning out this team .Daryl should be hiding his head in the sand like an ostrich.Tying the league record for playoff futility completely unacceptable. Slats had balls to trade.Two months in and were talking next season already Really?
    Bobby Orr group better do AN INTERVENTION ONCE AGAIN.Orr has Hall and Mcdavid in his stable I am 100 % positive he doesnt like what he sees.The only reason we had changes was April 18 and Mr Orr.Daryl wakey wakey .The Eskimos made us proud time for the Oilers to follow suit.

  • 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!

  • TKB2677

    I wasn’t foolish enough to think the Oilers were going to make the playoffs this year. What I hoped for the team was for them to climb the ladder and be “in the hunt”. Being in the hunt means having enough points where there is a chance, even if it’s a small chance to make it so games after Christmas mean something. Not the situation they have been in for years and seemingly falling into that that same situation this year where it will literally take an act of God for them to even get in the race.

    So it boggles my mind when seemingly smart hockey people that cover the team continuously put out articles that say “They shouldn’t do anything this year to improve the team”. How the hell can they say that and have ANY credibility? I am not calling for the Oilers to try and “go for it” but they should be looking to improve the team. WHY? If they continue how they are going and end up 20 or 30 points out of the playoffs, there is no way they can make up that many points in one season. They should be taking steps towards it. So this year they improve by 10-15 points so when next season comes around it’s actually realistic for them to maybe make the jump. Plus after every season, the Oilers go into an offseason having 5 or 6 holes to fill before they get competitive. It’s physically impossible for any GM to fill that many holes in one offseason. So does it not make sense if you can do it to try and strike a couple of those needs if you can do it off the list?

    I just don’t get how media people can sit there and pick apart the roster, pick apart the GM’s moves, point out the glaring holes, complain about the teams performance in one breath, then in the next breath say “well now’s not the time to improve the team, you can’t trade this player or that player, you can’t trade this player because he’s value is too low, the Oilers can’t make a trade because they are in a position of weakness” etc.

    Here is a question that I would love answered. The Oilers shouldn’t trade players when their value is low or when the team is at a position of weakness. Valid points. BUT how does a team increase their players value and get out of trading from a position of weakness if they lack enough good players to get better? Is it not an endless circle? Either you have to bite the bullet and make a trade for better players and probably “pay too much” to improve your team or you continue to wait and hope that miraculously the bad players on your team suddenly get better. If the decision is to wait, the you can’t really complain about anything can you?

  • The Future Never Comes

    All I wanna know is why the FU(k is Lowe, MacT and Howson still cashing oiler cheques??? There is simply no logical explanation to explain the fact that the people who steered us into this mess are still employed by this franchise!! It’s nepotism at its finest. Wanna know why we have such a losing culture? Start there!

    It’s down right inexcusable! The fans pay the bills. The fans don’t wanna pay for those losers anymore. Havn’t wanted to for years. This franchise is a pathetic joke! Makes me sad that people support them

    • bradleypi

      Let it go man. It’s Chiarellis team. Yeesh. Do you honestly think that Mact and klowe are sitting in the Dr. Evil pose and saying “boy are we screwing over those oilersnation commenters!” Look at how much hair klowe has lost since he took this job. I bet it’s eating them up inside trying to figure this mess out. I’m sure it’s not easy running an nhl franchise or wouldn’t you be doing it?

      • BobbyCanuck

        I don’t care if it’s eating them up inside! I don’t care if they have any influence in the team anymore or not.

        All I care about is the fact that they failed miserably at running this franchise, and somehow got promoted! It’s not reality! It’s not how the world works! When you suck at your job, you get fired and replaced. This is just nepotism, and we’re paying for it all

    • Spiel

      Agreed. It brings to question what role do MacT, Howson and Lowe still serve on this last place team? Especially after the previous tire fire seasons. What is the culture and structure of the management?

      And there are those that will say, yes, but they don’t play the games. Ah yes, but who is in charge of putting those players on the ice to play the games? How does the culture and structure of the management trickle down to all other arms of the organization and the players? Where do those guys fit into the decision making? How much influence do they still have?

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Big Cap

    WARNING for Ebs & Nuge:

    Pick up your game and turn your soft play around or else we’ll be forced to teach you a lesson by trading you to New York, LA, or Montreal. Then tell me how much you’ll enjoy your 6 million dollar salary playing on a winning franchise with the playoffs already in sight.

    PLUS, it’s now December and you’ll totally miss all of our 6 months of winter! Get back to work before the beaches of Southern California and a chance to win a Cup become your reality and we ship you outta here!!!

  • 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!

  • Big Cap

    Hey Jonathan Willis

    The summer you are refering to never seems to happen with this joke of an organizatioin! I am sure everyone but you apparently would agree that every gm the Oilers have had in the past 10 years never seems to want to trade anyone of value so of coarse they won’t get anything decent in return. The time to make changes is now so they will be prepared for next season when it comes and they can further evaluate the remaining players during the rest of the season to see if they are worth bringing back.