After One Quarter: Has Chiarelli Blown This Season?

The Oilers have played a quarter of their games this season and the results have been disastrous. The team finds themselves in 29th place and ahead of only the Arizona Coyotes in the Western Conference. This team needs a fundamental change of results in order to challenge for a playoff spot.

While some are finding ways to blame Connor McDavid (?!) for the woes of the team, I think it’s plain as day who the real culprit has been. Edmonton finds themselves in a rather untenable position today because of the job General Disappointment Peter Chiarelli has done. I’m not blaming the best player the club has had since Gretzky. I’m not blaming the man that the club got in return for Jordan Eberle. I’m not even blaming Kris Russell. This is on Chiarelli.

The Oiler GM made this team worse on and off the ice between the end of Game 7 against the Ducks and opening night of this season. Instead of taking advantage of McDavid’s final season at less than $4 million in annual average after max bonuses, the team hoarded cap space and traded or bought out veterans without replacing their skill levels on the roster.

From day one in the offseason, it was known to both management and the public that the Oilers would be without their second best defenseman for at least the first two full months of the next season. Even as teams moved blueliners ahead of the expansion draft (for which the Oilers were well positioned) the team stood pat.

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Peter Chiarelli admitted that his blueline wasn’t up to the standard of the teams that advanced to the third round of the playoffs and yet he did nothing. Worse than doing nothing, he committed to doing nothing a very long time. With Sekera, Larsson, and Klefbom committed long term and Benning and Nurse under club control long term he signed Kris Russell to a four year, $16 million dollar deal complete with no trade and no movement clauses.

Even if you completely hate/disagree with my analysis of Russell’s play, committing to Russell with an anchored contract forces the top 6 to remain static in talent and unbalanced with left and right handers for four seasons. As it turned out, Russell was dropped to the third pairing before Andrej Sekera even returned to the lineup because of Nurse’s play. So that’s $4 million a year dedicated to the third pairing or worse for three more seasons after this.

Edmonton’s blueline has taken a hit in terms of total effectiveness without Sekera. Oscar Klefbom is having more problems managing the game than he did last year and there’s no veteran on the left side to ease any pressure off of him. It’s a problem that the Oilers seemingly didn’t plan for because they didn’t believe would exist. It was an avoidable problem if the team pushed to upgrade their blueline.

Oct 17, 2017; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Edmonton Oilers center Ryan Strome (18) controls the puck against the Carolina Hurricanes during the third period at Rogers Place. Carolina Hurricanes won 5-3. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

Up front, the Oiler General Manager took the playoffs as a glimpse into the future of Oiler hockey. Any reasonably competent research into the playoffs would have shown that both Draisaitl and Eberle went on thoroughly unsustainable runs in the playoffs. Eberle couldn’t add a thing and Draisaitl could do no wrong. Neither was bound to last.

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Still, Draisaitl was paid more than any of his comparables in the NHL by about $1.5 million dollars a season because he was going to be the 2C of the Oilers for the future in the mold of Evgeni Malkin. 20 games into this season and even when he’s finally been split from McDavid, Draisaitl is still a right winger, as he was for the majority of last season. The team is paying a premium to a very good player for doing a job that he isn’t actually doing. As was a concern when the contract was being negotiated, the Oilers are effectively paying for McDavid twice with Draisaitl’s massive contract.

Eberle was traded away for Ryan Strome because he posted a goose-egg in the playoffs. Strome was not brought in to be the 3C of the Oilers and that was clear from the opening of training camp. He was supposed to be Eberle’s replacement. That was the spot he was gifted in September by management and coaching staff. However, he lost it faster than my kid loses mittens and toques at school. He is scoring at exactly the same pace he had last season with the Islanders. He is exactly what should have been expected. If management is as disappointed with the deal as they were reported to have been earlier this season than that’s because management made a stupid deal.

The added “benefit” of trading Eberle for Strome was the extra money in cap space that the Oilers saved. Cap Space has scored zero goals for Edmonton this season so far, but at least they have it in spades. As of today, the Oilers have $10,971,460 in cap space without bonus cushions. I checked with NHLNumbers and found out the Oilers will have effectively $38 million in cap space at the trade deadline. This does not count any relief provided by having Sekera on LTIR. It is the result of trading Eberle for Strome, buying out Benoit Pouliot for no reason, and refusing to add help to the team. Edmonton is spending less on salary than the Florida Panthers and the Winnipeg Jets and only a hair more than the expansion Golden Knights.

The buyout of Benoit Pouliot in a season where they were not using the cap savings is especially confusing. Because buying out contracts forces the teams to pay out for twice the time remaining on the deals, Edmonton will have Pouliot on the books for another three seasons after this. If they bought him out after this season then they could have had him off the books a year earlier. Pouliot has six goals for the Sabres this season and the team is paying him $1.3 million plus his replacement on the roster another $1 million. Neat.

I don’t want to get into the overall loss in talent factoring deals from before this season because that will happen on a day when we are reviewing Chiarelli’s Oiler career as a whole. I’m just trying to look into this season only. That said, it gets hard not to mention because things like the Lucic contract will affect what happens here on out too.

Before we ever get into the individual players and what they have or haven’t done, the General Manager committed significant amounts of present and future cap dollars to players based on roles they do not actually play (2C for Draisaitl, 2LHD for Russell, 1LW for Lucic). He downgraded the talent in the top 6 forwards by moving Eberle for Strome. He refused to improve his blueline from obvious positions now and for years to come. He downgraded talent in the bottom six in the name of cap space that he never used.

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Jun 26, 2015; Sunrise, FL, USA; Edmonton Oilers general manager Peter Chiarelli makes the Oilers pick of Connor McDavid (not pictured) in the first round of the 2015 NHL Draft at BB&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Overall, Peter Chiarelli made the Oilers worse in 2017-2018 than they were in 2016-2017 and did it knowing health would be a problem early on. He can hide from the local media who want to ask him questions about the start of this season, but he can’t hide from the blame he rightly deserves.

Chiarelli has very likely wasted the final year of McDavid’s entry level contract. The contract landscape he has created has forced the club into the position of being unsure whether they can afford the next contracts for players like Nurse and Benning on the blueline and Maroon on the top line without first parting ways with quality players like Nugent-Hopkins.

Oiler fans and players alike deserved better than this from the man in control of the roster. These were avoidable problems that are now in full control of the season. Everything that Chiarelli does from here on out is about fixing the mistakes he made blowing assets and opportunities. This is about disaster control and containment. At the quarter mark of this season, my only concern is about how to get beyond this season without having to trade RNH, Maroon, and one of Nurse or Klefbom just to survive. It’s grim, true.

This season isn’t about McDavid’s backchecking or Klefbom’s decision-making in the defensive zone. It’s about sheer incompetence from the top of the organization.

  • Reinman

    Well said, but I wish you would have covered Lucic and Reinhart deals in more depth. Now watch Chiarelli trade away our future to try and right the ship, and really condemn us to another decade of darkness.

    • passenger

      “I’m just trying to look into this season only.”

      What makes this article so pointed is that Matt is deliberately leaving some of the worst out and is still able to make the case for Chiarelli’s failure.

  • Not a First Tier Fan

    I guess you can call me one of the ‘mouth-breathers’… But I console myself in the fact that I’ve still hung onto my balls and I’m not whining and moaning like a teenage girl.

    Those folks saying that they miss the days with MacT and KLowe sure do have piss-poor memories. As bad as this season has been so far, we lived through multiple seasons in the DOD that we much worse.

    Folks saying we should be fallin’ for Dahlin prove every negative stereotype about Oilers fans right. Be better.

    Yeah – Chia’s made some mistakes this past summer. Yeah – the prognosis looks grim right now. This is a test of character for both players and management and especially for fans. My bet is that the team will rally around Connor, the GM will bring in some supporting characters, and they’ll turn this corner.

    Fairweather fans – this is your cue to jump ship. You won’t be missed. Go take your drama and cheer for a team like Toronto where hysteria is encouraged.

    The rest of us are gonna slug back a few bevvies and tough it out knowing the boys will figure it out.

    • Reinman

      Chia has really screwed things up. I am not a fair weather fan, I am a die hard Oilers fan who is sick of our management making stupid decisions that lead to substandard product on the ice. Lucic and Russel are 10 million a year between them, and both have NMC. That is soul destroying. When you look at Connor/Draisaitl/Lucic/Russel, that is half of our money spent. Where are we going to get the money to fill out our roster with competent players? I mean for the next 5 years ( Lucic) it is not even a matter of getting the talent, it is straight up being able to pay them. Teams that win the stanley cup do not overpay their players. Today’s NHL is about getting your money’s worth out of your players. And Lucic and Russell will be underperforming their contracts, likely from now to the end of their terms.

      Tell me I am a fair weather fan when the trade Nuge for next to nothing in the off season ( or possibly at the trade deadline). We can’t get a player of his value back in return, because we won’t be able to pay someone of RNH’s calibre. If Chia would have played this right and not spent all our money on these guys, we would have been in a positon to pick up someone who is really talented from a team that is trying to dump salary. Getting on the other side of the lopsided trades is what a good GM does. I would have loved to see the Oilers be in the hunt for Duchene. The leafs will soon be in cap hell ( they have soo much talent up front, it’s scary). Maybe we could have poached one of their forwards for pennies on the dollar.

  • Samesame

    Yep. At this point, the damage is done. The assets are blown and the cap long term is hurt.

    Anything he does now will be short term damage control at best.

    Sucks that he truly gutted this franchise after being handed a golden ticket. Might actually be getting worse again and dealing nuge in the off-season. Can’t spend money for a star with cap and term to maybe mitigate our circumstances

    And considering how desperate we now are for the puju/yammy/bear to provide some scoring on those chep elc contracts, trading one of those for a few months of Nash or some upcoming free against doesn’t sound all that appealing either

        • Reinman

          The Hall trade may actually be one of the few things he got right. I mean he lost that trade too, but at least he filled a hole that badly needed filling. Reinhart? What did he do there? Eberle, what did he address there? Russell signing? Is it hard to find 3rd pairing guys? Lucic? Way over paid, Draisiatl, Overpaid. ( But I am not too down on this, but make no mistake, Chia lost that negotiation too). Sad thing is we paid a 2nd and a 3rd round pick to get TMac and Chia. Should have let Todd Nelson run with the job after paying his dues with the organization ( like detroit does), and then went out and found a real GM. PC is a good speaker, and he makes sense normally when he is speaking, but his track record with the Oilers is terrible. It is almost like he just tells everyone what they want to hear, and not his actual plans of how he will destroy the Oilers in a matter of 3 years.

  • MessyEH!

    No need to sugar coat it Matt.

    All the mouth breathers got what they wanted Russell signed. Eberle gone.

    Strome is better than the bag of pucks some thought they would get. Hell there was people around saying to expose him to the expansion draft.

    No one around here was happy with the right wing depth. Chia Pete must have known it was a problem.

    So discouraged with this team. Selling assets for a lot less than value. Then to turn around and over pay for lesser players. (Looking at you Russell.)

    If Chia had not of Snagged Talbot, Maroon and Kassian for next to nothing. I think he would have already been fired. Even a busted clock is right once a day and blind squirrels find nuts.

  • OilersDynasty

    I knew Chiarelli would do this to the team, didn’t think it would be this quick. He’s made some amazing moves, no doubt. But the mind boggling ones hes made has out done those wonderful ones. The Reinhart trade, the Russell contract, the Pouliot/Eberle transactions, not acquiring a top-4 dman. I’m hoping Chiarelli gets fired.

  • Dolby

    Maroon is gone, we are stuck with Lucic. Nurse will get a 3.5-4mm deal. Yamo and JP here next year. This is a lost season. This is a bottom 5 team this year. Time to manage assets and not get desperate. Fallin for Dahlin.

    • MrBung

      Agreed. There is nothing left to salvage this season. There needs to be a serious rethink and something done to start winning deals. Chia is almost always at the losing end of deals. Sewered Boston in the end and now sewing the Oil. At least Boston got the Cup one season. The Oil will never get that with him.

  • Mo Playoffs Mo Problems

    You make several great points. Last season a lot of things broke the Oil’s way:
    -Talbot being healthy for 70 starts and being a Vezina finalist
    -McDavid leading the league in scoring and performing as the clear MVP of the league
    -Very few man games lost to injury from significant players
    -A season with below-average offensive output from Eberle, Nuge, & Pouliot offset by players like Maroon and Letestu chipping in and exceeding expectations

    Chia assuming that progress was inevitable via internal growth and development was at-best a gamble and at worst foolish. Downgrading talent by trading Eberle at low value and not shoring up/balancing the RH/LH defense with Sekera gone for long-term injury was at best foolish and at worst flushing the last season of McDavid’s ELC down the toilet.

    I feel like they look a lot better than a 29th place team. Hopefully they start getting some bounces and things start going their way again. Even if that happens soon, it might be too-little-too-late to make the playoffs.

    • This.Is.NHL

      Dont forget we got the calls last year and a good start schedule with top tear teams and more games played before other teams even played their first game, that makes for a nice cushion.

  • Cauliflower McPugg

    “Edmonton is spending less on salary than the Florida Panthers and the Winnipeg Jets and only a hair more than the expansion Golden Knights”.

    Sports economists are fond of looking at these matters and have come up with a duality, you are a win maximizing organization (the domain of sportsman owners like Mr. I in the no cap era) or you are a profit maximizing organization.
    Nice rink Mr. Katz. Real nice rink.
    Making any cash?

    • gr8haluschak

      Ok mr scholar, so let me get this straight a guy who has spent to the cap the entire time he was an owner all of a sudden has decided to be a “profit maximizing organization” because this year they have not spent to the max, more sound logic at Oilers Nation.

  • Opi

    Chia has made countless ridiculous moves over his tenure. He clearly is in wayyyyyyy over his head … It MUST leave McD with an overwhelming feeling on a daily basis …

    • MessyEH!

      Overwhelmed by fat stacks of cash.

      If they don’t turn things around for the long term. I can picture a trade request. McDavid has never struck me as the type who is ok with losing.

  • Serious Gord

    Harold MacMillan – former PM of Britain – was asked once what could blow the trajectory of his government off-course.

    His response was “Events my dear boy, events.”

    Chia’s plans, like all of ours, were vulnerable to being ruined by “events”.

    And there have been many events that have possibly ruined the oil’s (and chia’s) chances of not only getting to the playoffs this season, but also in future seasons – even possibly ever winning a cup during the Mcd Era.

    And like many events there will be those that some will claim should have been anticipated.

    There are a few i will mention, but first let’s look at a few of the controversial moves:

    Signing Lucic. Generally considered a good move – even a coup – at the time driven by the drafting of mcd. And it was judged as being a good move because another macro-event had not been foreseen. More on that in a moment.

    Trading Hall: Instantly Controversial to be sure. Whether it was a win or loss has yet to be fully realized. And it may be seen in time as a win:win – both teams got what they badly needed. That the team is struggling on the wing in hall’s absence can be partly blamed on the utter failure of Eberle to deliver when the going got tough – which was the only reason why he was drafted as high as he was and then signed for the price and term that he was.

    Eberle trade: HE was a bust – he needed to be moved. It bears mentioning that had Chia not moved him the fans would have raised holy hell.

    The Events:

    Injuries: Sekera’s loss cost the team a deeper run last season and arguably will keep the team out of the playoffs this year. Drai’s lost time early this year hasn’t helped.

    Regression to the mean for several players – Most conspicuously because they had such uniquely great years last year Kassian and Maroon playing more like they always have is hardly Chia’s fault unless you think he should have traded them in the offseason when their value was sky high…

    The MACRO event: When Chia arrived the oil was justifiably derided as being one of the least physical in the league. Chia almost immediately set out to correct that and in almost every single move the team gained more toughness. Big and Tough was the order of the day. I know of no Journo at the beginning who argued that that would not continue to be the case. But, as we now know, there was a macro-event event then beginning to scythe its way though the forest of big, lumbering men: The move to speed.

    The Pens et al demonstrated that in the “New” NHL, with its tighter rule calling, would become a speed league – that just as Chia embarked on making the oil tougher, other teams had adopted a speed strategy. And that is THE primary reason why so many of Chia’s moves now look like crap.

    Should Chia have anticipated this move to speed? Maybe. Certainly some of his peers did.

    But look at who he was surrounded by. Mental slugs to a man. Not one a pioneer in the new field of analytics. And none of those clowns were hired by Chia. They were kept on by the real villain in all of this: Darryl Katz.

    Katz still clings to his fever dream of putting his name on the cup along with all of the FOG. Thus management remains clogged with incompetents (including gretz and Mess). And therefore the event that really needs to happen is an epiphany on the part of Katz finally implement a sweeping cathartic clean-out of the offices at Rogers Place.

    • MessyEH!

      Maybe your best post ever. One minor error.

      Eberle became “clutch” after his draft year.

      Imagine if they had of traded him when he had real value. We knew what he was for the last 4 years he was here.

      Highly skilled. Butter soft.I do not ever remember him standing up for himself let alone his teammates.

      I gotta wonder what type of info Garth Snow has on Chia Pete.

  • Ginbaby

    Great article. *winces from the pain*
    I don’t think keeping Maroon should be a priority. It seems pretty obvious this team needs speed and skill upfront. I like Maroon but w Kassian and Lucic, his skills seem redundant. I am curious to see what Chia can do to earn another contract but right now things don’t look good. I like what Pool Party brings. If he can be a 50 or winger who kills penalties and wreaks havoc on the forecheck he will a great 2nd/3rd line player for years to come.

  • SeethingRed

    Where are all the “in Chia we trust” posters? Where are all the “we need what Lucic brings to the team” posters? Where are the “Russell is a heart and soul guy” posters?
    Hmmm also missing: Drai makes our Center depth the best in the league, Hall was a cancer, Larsson is a top two D-man, Eberle is soft, aaannd We are Stanley Cup contenders…if you took a shot every time you heard those in the last six months your liver would have exploded by now ?

  • Butters

    The Reinhart trade is the killer. They could have had 2 roster players on ELC this year, like Barzal and/or Aho, sssuming(dangerously) of course the Oilers would have picked either of them.
    I have heard MSM throw 4mill a year at Maroon, you can’t pay that much for compiimentry players in the cap world.

  • GK1980

    Wow, that’s an eye opener. I didn’t know the oilers had $10 mill to spend prior to the season yet he did nothing. Trading Eberle was a knee jerk reaction which I did not agree with. Eberle may disappear in the playoffs but he can at least help get you there. Pouliot didn’t have the best year but may be he just had a down year. All players have ups and downs. As of right now the Oil are worse than last year.

    What would you do Matt?

    • Reinman

      Eberle disappears in the playoffs? No Eberle struggled in his first playoff exposure. Earlier in his career though he was relied on as a clutch goal scorer. He looked really good in the world championship that one year he went, when Sd was there.

      • Samesame

        Oh, and he’s scored at a 60p per 82 gp pace for his career. Those are impressive numbers. Whenever the idiots mention his struggles over 13 game stretch, refer them to his other almost 600 games played

  • Heschultzhescores

    Great article, BANG ON. The best part is, it’s NOT any of the players faults, and we need to stop singling out our next whipping boy. Time to support the guys on the ice and point the finger at the idiots that have made it much tougher for the guys on the ice.

    • Derian Hatcher

      So the the constant bad reads, soft goals, refusal to shoot in favour of the perfect -pretty plays, the failure to close seams on the pk, some stupid selfish penalties, the turnovers at the blue lines, etc etc etc that continue to kill the oilers chances of winning game after game are chias fault? He is not blameless for sure , but what do the players own ?

  • OldOilerFan

    The Reinhart deal was bad, do we blame Chia for that or on the old regime? I’m choked Calgary was able to make their blueline moves as they did – we lost out on both Hamilton and Hamonic. Was that because Chia didn’t have any assets to work with? I don’t know, I’m just asking.
    Hall for Larsson? I’ll take it. We needed a D – who else was available? Guys talk about 1-2 defenseman but it’s not like they are a dime a dozen.
    Eberle – should have got more for him, he didn’t need to trade him as soon as he did. That one is on Chia absolutely.
    Lucic? We are tougher, we needed to get tougher, remember how badly we used to get pushed around? Contract term and $$ are way too much tho, agreed that’s on Chia.
    Russell? I think he did that one just because we needed a guy and no one else available – except Hamonic. Where Chia should have focused.

    I’m more mad at what Jim Matheson apparently reported, that the Oilers weren’t even thinking of drafting Barzal. What the hell? Our scouts missed out on Debincat too.

  • ponokanocker

    The one move that completely boggles my mind is the Pouliot buyout. We had cap space already and by buying him out this offseason, you hurt your future years cap situation. If they weren’t going to use the cap this year, why buy him out this year? I was expecting a signing or trade to after he was bought out and instead, Chia just made the team worse for no reason and hurt the team for future years with less cap room.

  • LibrarianMike

    Let’s play the Oilersnation Comments Section Drinking Game and get blackout drunk by comment number 15:

    If somebody says Matt can’t criticize Chiarelli because he’s never been an NHL GM before, take a drink.
    If somebody says that McDavid is the problem, take a drink.
    If somebody misspells ‘Russell’ as ‘Russel’, take a drink.
    For every mention of the 2011 Stanley Cup, take a drink.

  • gordo

    most agree the hall trade was not terrible; and most agree eberle burned his bridge here. lucic is an albatross, as is russell as a 6th d. pouliott could’ve helped on the penalty kill. was draisaitl an overpay? i guess if he’s not centreing the 2nd line. why do gm’s who fail in one place get jobs elsewhere? yeah hw won a cup but took the bruins from the penthouse to the outhouse

    • MessyEH!

      Lucic is lucic. His box scores looked like normal. I know it was power play heavy vs his 5×5 point totals from previous years. But he is, what he always has been.

      Skilled toughness. I just wish he battled more in front of the net. Like Smyth did.

      • AJ88

        Then he can do it lower in the lineup. I have a tough time understanding why Lucic plays with Nuge, Drai. His game does not compliment either of these players, the game has changed in the last couple of years, speed is back and teams are exposing the Oilers first two lines. The same can be said for Maroon and McD, Maroon cannot keep up from a speed and thinking aspect of the game. I liked Cagguila with McD, possibly try Nuge or Khaira on the other wing, Drai with either Nuge/Khaira and Pulj. I think it is time to accept the fact the speed game is back, Maroon and Lucic need to be moved down to a line that hits and creates havoc. Letestu is another that is being exposed for his lack of speed, not sure but I think he may become trade material. Others like Slep, Strome, Kassian can be moved around the lineup, possibly into the top 2 lines if playing well. For me I am not sure how much Chia is to blame, unless he has a say as to how the players are deployed game to game, I think McL has to take some blame as well.

  • Derian Hatcher

    Chia owns a big part- no doubt. But if we go with, for example, that this season is not about things like klefboms decision making on the ice – when are the actual players accountable?

  • BringtheFire 2.0

    Y’know, it’s easy to blame Chia. But who the hell hires Chia to resurrect a franchise and navigate a Connor McDavid contract in a cap era?

    Katz, that’s who. So, Mr. Katz, here’s how to get out of this:

    Firstly, you assemble a private firm whose sole purpose is recruitment. They exist. You tell them you want a competent GM and you tell them what you want your franchise to do. At this point, you “promote” Chia to the vaunted position of “HockeyOps” and wait for the new GM. Two things to remember:

    1.) Katz, you don’t have any say in who the next GM is.

    2.) Your franchise can be easily turned around by a competent GM.

    Take heart.

    • the dope $teez

      Wat are you even talking about? I’m not a Katz fan because he insisted on only hiring his old buddies, putting us in the position we were in during the decade of darkness – But he had nothing to do with hiring chia. He didn’t want to continue the losing, or fire Lowe himself, so he did exactly what you stated three years ago by hiring respected hockey man Bob Nicholson to find a new GM, and oilers fans were ecstatic with that change from the status quo.
      Go back to flames nation you don’t really know anything about the oilers.

  • OilFanOnTheWestCoast

    The amount of whining and panic is getting ridiculous. Was Chia supposed to trade a first rounder and/or top prospects to get a top veteran dman signed to a multiyear deal to play for 2 months until Sekera is back? Then many of you would be whining that he gave up assets. Most people picked the Oil as contenders a couple months ago because of the roster, and now the team isn’t playing well and it’s panic time. They’ll be fine. And they have solid young players who will be great on the wings soon (Puljujärvi, Yamamoto, Benson, Slepyshev, Caggiula), lots of young D on the current roster who will keep getting better and good ones in Bakersfield, solid goalie prospects, the future is not screwed. Calm the f**k down, we’ll get on a roll and everyone will be happy again. This is my first post and I just had to sign up and make a post reminding everyone the future is still all good in Oil land, this panic and whining is just pathetic. Compare the D and goalie situation from pre-Chia to now, it’s not even close.

    • Clayton

      Packaging Eberle up with a draft pick for a top D-Man that could fill in during Sekara’s absence and then join Sekara on the top pairing would have been a much more solid move!

      • Big Nuggets

        At the time I was thinking Eberle for Mark Pysyk(?whatever), and then not resign Russel. not sure if Pysyk is a good defenseman but he is young and inexpensive RD. I think Florida might have taken that trade as they went out and signed a RW afterwards, and they have deoth on D. anyway I feel like Chiarelli doesny use much imagination on his trades.

    • OTOF2

      Better take the Oiler goggles off. Over estimating the value of the current roster is the reason this team is in trouble. And also, “good ones in Bakersfield”??? You lost all credibility with that comment.

    • Samesame

      No one with a truly objective eye, actually thought they were cup favs. Way too many question marks. (Questions that are being answered in a negative manner now)

      Not one of those young players u named is a slam dunk upcoming star. In fact, a couple of em might not even even be quality contributors in the nhl.

      Why is the future so good?
      We’re cap strapped and can only depend on unproven kids to ever get us over the hump. And that’s after maybe being forced to unload nuge.

      Talbot was apparently negotiated by mact. He doesn’t get that credit. Besides, it was a no brainer.

      As far as the defence. Sekera was a great signing. But he gave up a superstar forward for a good yet unspectacular dman with almost no offence.
      The defence is better (or was last year) because of healthy Klefbom first and foremost. Not chias asset.

      Bear and jones may never turn into great nhl dmen.

      I can forget the Reinhart deal. Or the Russell deal. Or the Lucic deal is guess. But the second he gave up Taylor Hall, he changed us into a potentially elite offence into what U see now.

    • 1ncinawhile

      Exactly.. The roster is half full… not half empty… Common Edmonton – get with it… hahaha – you need a fairly complete roster to contend for Lord Stanley’s Mug… Oilers ain’t that at the moment. Half empty.

  • Oil9744

    How about the players are playing like crap?? You ever think of that?? You think Chiarelli picking up a middle pairing defencmen to cover for Sekera was gonna make or break this season?? No it never was, Edmonton has ALL of the main players healthy and playing but they just flat out aren’t getting it done, Chiarelli did make a big mistake not picking up a legit top 6 winger and a little upgrade on defence would have helped but that’s not the main cause of why Edmonton is in the bottom of the standings. This falls more on the coaching staff and the players before I’d say the GM.