The Edmonton Oilers haven’t been good enough this season and there will be changes. That isn’t Captain Obvious or Joe Fan speaking, that was Oiler GM Peter Chiarelli this morning at Rexall Place.

With the NHL trade deadline approaching, Chiarelli laid as many cards on the table as anybody could reasonably expect, without actually naming names. Included in some meaty bones to chew on, Chiarelli said changes in player personnel are on the way and some of those changes could involve players who have under-achieved. The Oilers, it goes without saying, will be sellers at the deadline.

Not once did Chiarelli utter any names – Teddy Purcell, Justin Schultz and Matt Hendricks come to mind – as to who might be on the way out by the deadline and he didn’t name any of the big fish he might have targeted for the off-season, but it’s obvious he doesn’t intend to dither about or stand pat.



Of course, fans have heard that kind of gum-flapping around here a time or two before with not nearly enough action to back it up, so talk is extremely cheap in this town. That’s not Chiarelli’s fault, but with a fan base that’s been waiting a decade for a return to the playoffs, it’s his problem. Here’s what he had to say today.

On making a significant player trade by the deadline:

“Anything is possible, but, for me, major deals are less likely at this time. I think what happens is that there’s more global planning that takes place post-season, prior to the draft. Then, of course, you have the proximity of the draft picks that are alluring to teams. There’s just more activity that way, but anything is possible. I can tell you I’m not really looking at that type of deal now but that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t be looking at that for the spring and summer.”

On the possibility of dipping into his core players this off-season:

“With the larger contracts, it takes a little more effort and conversation to get a deal done. That means they are more likely to be taken care of in the off-season. Shipping off big contracts to contending teams at the deadline is difficult. What I can tell you, though, is that the contending teams are usually the cap teams, so in that regard if they’re going to take a larger contract there’s a little more manoeuvring as far as moving money around.” 

On the under-achievers:

“We’ve got some contracts that, yes, are too high and they’re not performing. That’s not news, but when it comes to moving them and when you’re talking to a contending team that is capped out, you have to get a little creative.

“I’ll look at a lot of different things. We’ve got some players that have under-achieved. We’ve got some players who may need a new venue. Those are the determinations we will make between now and the trade deadline, and if certain players are still around, it’s because the deal wasn’t right or we felt there was a future for them with us, but then you’ll revisit some stuff in the summer.”



I have my own list of under-achievers. So do you. I wonder what Chiarelli’s list looks like. Is Nail Yakupov on it? I look at a couple of players and wonder if they might “need a new venue” and if they might be moved along for a significant piece on the back end, like Travis Hamonic, this off-season. Who fits that description? 

It’s highly unlikely, of course, that we’ll get the answers to the most important questions in the days between now and the deadline. That’s off-season stuff, so the time between now and deadline day is about house-keeping – getting something for Schultz and Purcell, maybe a pick back for Hendricks from a team looking to bolster its veteran content for a push.

Those expecting something different, a big move by the deadline, will likely be disappointed. I get that because you can’t call a fan base impatient after this many years of watching the Oilers run in circles. I don’t have any doubt Chiarelli will significantly re-shape this roster – I won’t be calling BS when deadline day comes and goes – but that bit of business will happen months from now, not days from now.

Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TSN 1260.


  • .

    Chia’s freaking me out a bit with that ‘stache and glasses look he’s got goin’ on.

    He’s a dead ringer for the Joey Pants character in Memento, where Guy Pearce plays the guy who can’t remember all the bad things that have happened to him and Joey Pants is there to remind him but not fix anything . . . and things only get worse from there.

    Hits too close to home for an Oiler fan.

    • Spydyr

      Makes me crazy how people fetishize Hendricks. He’s fine. There are literally dozens like him on AHL rosters right this moment. He’s reasonably big, can skate a little, can kill penalties and makes no appreciable difference between winning and losing. All this for just $1.8 million.

      Every time someone here writes an article about the bottom 6 people moan and whine about why bother and who cares but somehow a 4th line winger is irreplaceable. Makes me crazy.

      • toprightcorner

        Hendricks is just as, if not more important to the team off the ice than he is on the ice. That is not something that is plentiful in the NHL.

        If the AHL is full of players like him then nobody would trade for him. He wasn’t captain for the USA in the World Championships because he is easily replaceable.

  • toprightcorner

    To me, Schultz is the biggest under achiever. He actually looked good in camp, playing tougher on the body and focusing on defense, but he quickly went back to his own ways. It is almost like when he is in a game, he can’t think, he just does.

    After that I would the order of under achievers has been:


    – Korpokoski

    – Yakapov

    – Eberle (before being put with McDavid)

    – Fayne (though he has played better thae last 10-15 games)

    We need more players to outperform their contracts.

  • toprightcorner

    We do NOT need another undersized teenage top draft pick.

    I am tired of watching these teenagers get drafted, watch them become men in years but still play like teenagers. With the exception of McDavid, Klefbom and Davidson, I think everyone should be on trade alert. Try playing so dismally for another team – it wont work. Wake up time guys.

    As for the Oilers drafting them and developing them, we all know how that’s turned out, more misses than hits. How about we pick up some players that OTHERS teams have developed, can’t do any harm.

    The losing stops NOW. PLEASE.

    • Seanaconda

      I would always keep my first rounders unless you are cup contending or getting a key player back. We can move other players and we don’t exactly have the most depth on the farm.

  • toprightcorner

    TRADE THE MALL!! Chia Pete has finally lost it. Bonkers. Off his rocker. An insane person. I can’t wait to see a big deal. Look forward to the day this summer.

  • Seanaconda

    Here is a scouting report on ebs it’s pretty accurate. Mike Remmerde: Strengths: Great sniper’s touch. Knows how to find scoring chances. Quick hands. Will take a hit to make a play. Weaknesses: Casual player – effort level is never there. Tends to stick to the perimeter. One of the best natural goal scorers in the draft. I’d like him a lot more if he ever broke a sweat. Skating seems alright, but almost never uses what speed he has. I’ll say one thing for him, he’s not scared. I’d rather have a lazy player than a scared one. Summary: Light a fire under him and you might have a 1st/2nd line scorer.

    . A motivated Eberle tends to produce from what I’ve seen.

  • Seanaconda

    If substantial trades moves aren’t made this summer and this team isn’t ready to compete in October I wouldn’t blame the fanbase if they collectively lay a steaming dump in the concourse of Rogers Place.

  • Seanaconda

    Those who are claiming that RNH has underachieved or that he should be traded are off the mark in my opinion.

    In the fall he was sick for almost three weeks which impacted his game and his totals. He then broke his hand. Somehow this does not translate into under achieving. Furthermore, the Oilers finally have 3 world class centres (McDavid, Draisaitl and RNH). Trading one of them at this juncture would be total folly. Many teams in the NHL have been searching for years just to get one of these types of players.

    The Oilers best bargaining chip is Taylor Hall. He is putting up good to great numbers on a lousy team. He also does not appear to be a committed team player. He is a poor passer who, in year 6 in the NHL still makes blunders that Lindy Ruff benched him for oh so many years ago.

    This is now McDavid’s team and this probably won’t sit well with Hall. Trade him and get good value for him. For once, sell high

  • Seanaconda

    So let’s again say thanks to Katz who agreed with what took place then got his multi million building. 10 years for that and know disassemble what you got all due to McD and yet another management group . With luck ten years from know we can start again . I’m pissed with how this team is being run .