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

77-Klefbom-1

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



  • workashardasSmyth

    no knee jerk reactions like trading hopkins. #14 maby or davidson (he seems to have value now) but think it through P.C. dealing from a point of weakness is fine but don’t be retarded about it

  • 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.

  • 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.

      • 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.

      • 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?

    • 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-???

  • Hemmercules

    I defy any Chirelli/Nicholson supporter to show me a good, not even great, trade or signing he has made since Chirelli was hired. That’s what I thought. SILENCE! He has made more bad moves in a shorter time than any past GM

  • Big Cap

    Hall is a b!tch. The opposition will key in on Leon tonight, therefore Hall will do nothing and be held pointless again.

    Hall is a good and will only go as the line mate that carries him-yet his groupies call him elite.

    Referring to Hall as elite is not a show of Hall’s skill, it more shows the IQ of the groupie.

  • 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.

  • Danglishish

    Agree 100% with this post.

    As depressing as it is to acknowledge that the rest of the year is basically a waste, at least this year we’ll be able to watch #97 come back in January and produce jaw-dropping performances on the regular. That’s more than we’ve had here in a long, long time.

    Looking forward to summer…. again.

  • Chet.

    I’m very concerned over everyone’s panic. Yes we are sucking yet again, but we have competent management that don’t even have a full season yet with the roster. Not to mention, the team has been playing much better than the previous seasons, we just aren’t getting the breaks that we are overdue on, and yes, this can be discussed further.

    What people need to do is sit back, understand we are dealing with injuries, understand we aren’t going to just magically become a powerful force that will punish all other teams and understand that making any stupid and rash decisions (trading our key players for minimal return) is the worst thing to do for this club.

    We are finally seeing the pieces come together. Why can’t we just give the team time to all be healthy and all get it figured out. Yes, they were terrible against the Leafs (still in shock, but mad respect for the retro style gear Sparks is rocking), but our key players, while not producing offense (what other team had that problem, Philly?) Hall and Nuge are playing two-way hockey, especially the Nuge. Why are people rushing to trade him? Draisaitl and McDavid are inexperienced!

    Right now, I think the time is to hold them, not fold them. Lets not look at the draft, lets analyze the team performance and understand this is not a quick fix, but we have the management in place that is capable to win. PC has done it recently and TMac had a fantastic record in San Jose.

    /rant

  • 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.

  • bradleypi

    Hey JW. Im with you that it’s time to look to next year as well. What are your thoughts on if the oilers trade nuge that the plan would be to replace him with Austin Mathews? I mean I know it’s voodoo to talk about another 1st overall pick around here but doesn’t it make sense that IF you can fill one hole by trading nuge, you could fill the hold left by nuge with a guy on an entry level contract for 3 years? And I hear that Mathews kid is supposed to be pretty good with size. Kind of Chiarellis type? Or no? I mean I know thd last thing the oilers organization and fans don’t want to pick 1st overall again but really this would be Chiarellis 1st true 1st overall that he earned….

    • AJ88

      I am actually to the point of dealing next years #1 pick even though it could easily be #1 overall. It should land you a top Dman from somebody like Nashville and it may save some face when the league institutes an “Oiler” rule on number of #1 overall picks a team can have. I truly believe the Oilers are going to trade it when teams realize they have a good shot at Mathews.

      • bradleypi

        Is it honestly possible for the league to make such a rule tho? I agree that trading the pick would be ideal but can’t nuge also be packaged for that dman? Would definitely save the oilers some cash in the here and now (meaning next year) to add to the bottom 6…

        • AJ88

          Yep, I think the league would have to implement some sort of rule if the Oilers were again lottery winners. They need the marquee players in the big markets to ensure growth. You have jumped on the trade RNH bandwagon, based only on this last road trip? Do you honestly think Drai is a better keeper than RNH based on less than 20 games in 2015? Huge, huge gamble….Maybe Drai fetches you more on the trade market.

          • AJ88

            Never ever want to trade Nuge. I believe RNH would be one of the most respected players within his peers, those are not the guys you get rid of. Nuge would be the guy I would be asking what the hell is going on if I were GM. There is obviously something much deeper in that dressing room that needs rectifying. And that includes Tmc as well. Can you imagine having the number of coaches they have had, different styles, different systems, different linemates,etc. I can see why players may have trouble buying in, it is going to take some more time to get the ship in order after years of mass confusion.

  • Big Cap

    Chiarelli has been a big disappointment.

    2 easy situations he could have dealt with, Ference and Nik

    The rest of us knew the team was soft, he should have known. He is acting like a rookie GM.

    • A-Mc

      Yes if only we had bailed Nikitin and Ference, we’d be able to afford those 2 top end defensemen that are itching to sign with us! IF ONLY! WHAT IS PC THINKING!?

      /sarcasm

      Money and contracts are not a problem for us right now. Are those guys wasted cap space? yes, but if there were other options I’m sure Chiarelli would find a way to offload them.

      The problem is finding the right player that’s on a team willing to dance with us.

    • The Soup Fascist

      Please fill me in on “the easy solution” for dealing with the Ference and Nikitin contracts.

      As well please attach your contact information along with your simple plan as I vow to personally lobby Katz, Nicholson and whoever else I need to, in order to get you brought in as GM.

      Because for the life of me, try as I might, i couldn’t think of an “easy” solution that Chiarelli had at his disposal to move those two sleds out of town, without having to deal with cap implications down the road.

      Thanks very much. I will be over here on the edge of my seat awaiting your response.

      • JDP

        Ference and Nik should of been bought out.

        Veteran GM’s acquire good pieces for their team like NYI did (Boychuck and Leddy and Washington (Oshi and Williams).

        These GMs make things happen but I guess you are so blinded but the Oiler hype that you cant see potential moves or opportunities.

        Bad GM’s like PC sit on their hands.

        • The Soup Fascist

          So you are aware that there are still cap implications that affect the team for years down the road, right? In Ference’s case the team would have been impacted about $1.1 million in lost cap space for 4 years.

          This would include the crucial 18-19 season when the team needs to re-up Connor McDavid to what is likely to be a very large number. Not to mention Darnell Nurse coming off his ELC. This is one year after we need to sign Drai.

          Everyone throws out “buyout” like it is this magic elixir. But buyouts handcuff teams down the road. To me it was much more prudent to let Nikki come off the books completely at year end and then buyout Ference next year when his cap hit is off the books 2 years earlier than if you bought him out this year.

          What good would those two being bought out done for you this year? What Free agent D man were you going to sign that was going to put this team over the top? Arguably, they got one of the “best” free agent defensemen that moved in Sekera.

          IMO, buying out Nikitin and Ference out this year would have been idiotic.

        • smith

          Get your head out of your azzhat! And the long and short term results of buying out Nikitinin and Ference handcuff the teams ability and cap space to sign deals for Mcdavid, nurse, drai and that unnamed #1 defence man we so badly need . Props to Chia for parking those unproductive but Expiring contracts in the ahl . At the end of this year it frees up 100% of those salaries in cap space to use.

          • Spiel

            Ference is not in the AHL and still has a year to go on his contract.

            His last game he played he was on for 2 of the 3 goals against. I wish he would be in the AHL.

            You must get your information from someone’s AZZ.

  • 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.

  • 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 .

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • Spiel

    This article makes the most sense and is the most realistic article I have read in three weeks. All this nonsense talk and rumors of trading Hopkins or other players with contracts like his, is exactly what it is nonsense and rumors. And I use Rnh as the most ludicrous example cause of his position being center. Unless it’s a straight up Rnh forToews or Getzlaf deal then there’s no reason to and that is unrealistic in itself anyways. Anybody and everybody can get traded, but for this yr, the situation the team is in standings and contracts wise there is no reason to jump the gun and make drastic moves. Be realistic people and by people I mean the media. Your the ones that put “stupid”into people’s heads by posting articles. Everyone can’t forget what Chia said two months after being hired as gm and that this yr will be a developmental yr!!! Like it or not it is what it is. It takes time for new management to sort out mess left behind. Contracts can take yr’s, not months, but yr’s to straighten out and coaching staff might take most of this yr to work with what he has been given roster wise. I don’t feel this team should be last nor deserves to be but regardless of that, wether last or 20th, big trades are not happening during the season!

    • Spiel

      RNH’s name keeps coming up because he is one of the few players that is decent. Making a trade now while his value is low does make little sense. But lets face it. The Oilers are not going to get much better (playoff level) with what they have today. There is going to have to be a piece of the “core” that will need to be moved. You have to give something of value to get something of value. How good of a GM Chia really is will be determined by his ability to make this team significantly better and swing the “tough” deals, filling in the holes in the process.

      Begrudgingly I agree that it makes little sense to make a deal now when the value of guys like RNH, Eberle, Yak are in the toilet. Eberle and Yak are inconsistent and a tad overrated. A good GM will be able to trick another GM into taking the overrated and/or redundant duds.

      Also – having the losers MacT and Howson floating around doesn’t help and the only reason I see them still being here is Katz.

  • Cain

    Time to talk draft seeing as we are throwing away season . I would like the two towers of power at 6 ft .4in. on RW and LW . That being the Finns P.Laine and Pujujaarvi . I see we have no second rounder again for next season due to changes .

  • 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.

  • 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?

  • Axiv

    This piece is so utterly defeatist that it is almost unbearable to read.
    No doing nothing in the short term is an insult to the Oiler fan base, one that has been abused by incompetence for a decade.
    Your position, Eillis, is an endless rebuild.
    All this while Eberle and RNH willfully under-perform.
    At this point, if the Oilers can’t get OEL, at least try for Stempniak, more consistent and honest than those two have ever been.
    Do something Chiarelli.
    Deconstruct is the bedt.
    Watch the debacle tonight.

  • smith

    I’m so, so tired of hearing that the Oilers will/should fix their problems at a later date (ie. the summer)…and then summertime comes and deadening silence follows because the latest iteration of management has fallen in love with their hot young talent.

    JW, not saying you are wrong…just saying its the same movie over and over.

    Anyway, enough bellyaching from me. My question: I’m curious to get your thoughts on the comparison between Davidson and Schultz. To me, they represent similar players. If the choice is to move the one with more upside (but as we see on a nightly basis, less “heart”), or the relatively unknown (who seems full to the brim on “character”), the choice is obvious.

    Am I wrong in seeing the two as similar players (size, skill set, position in the depth chart)?

    • bradleypi

      You clearly don’t see them as “similar players” tho. Why would anyone want the heartless,cowardly jultz as you pegged him when they could have the full of character Davidson? Seems like a pretty easy choice to me….why is it even a decision for the oilers who to keep if Schultz is such a waste of roster space? Yeesh. Classic oilersnation.

      • bradleypi

        I do, in fact, see them as similar players. My post is pretty obvious in that regard.

        I was curious if Willis viewed them as similar, since I would consider his knowledge of hockey as superior to mine.

        You’ve also misinterpreted my post as claiming Schultz is worthless (“why would anyone want the heartless, cowardly jultz”)…which, again, is a misread on your part.

        I am, however, saying that the two players are similar and given a choice, I would move the one with potentially more name name recognition.

        Try not to make mountains out of molehills.

        • bradleypi

          Lol. I’m not the one making a mountain. You did by claiming that Schultz has no heart and Davidson is full of character. Do you know these guys personally to make such claims against them? Just getting tired at people taking personal shots at players on here and making accusations just to get cheers. Pretty classless.

  • 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.

  • A-Mc

    People keep saying Chirelli has only been GM for a short time. That is true, but he is creating a bigger mess in a shorter time than past management. He needs to be held accountable. Look what he has done in his short time as GM:

    Sekera- gross overpay with terrible term for an average 2nd pairing defenceman

    Reinhart- brutal trade for a future average 3rd pairing defenceman. He gave up too much for a player that he said would make this team right away, but has underwhelmed at best

    Talbot- he overvalued an average career backup and left the goaltending situation almost the same as last year

    Korpikoski- another disappointing trade for another underwhelming player

    Gryba- Big body, but an average bottom pairing defenceman who has more ice time than he should

    Chirelli needs to be held accountable. Nicholson over rated him as a GM, which leads to the question: why isn’t Nicholson held accountable for his moves

  • 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.