Photo Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

A hindsight look at Peter Chiarelli’s gruesome trading record

The Edmonton Oilers have trudged through quite a strange and unpredictable couple of seasons since much-maligned Peter Chiarelli has taken the reins as the team’s general manager.

From drafting Connor McDavid and acquiring Cam Talbot, to flipping Taylor Hall and handing out a disgusting contract to Milan Lucic, Chiarelli’s performance during his time in Edmonton has been just as tumultuous as his team’s. It’s risen from a struggling and rebuilding club with a ton of young potential, to a playoff team, to a contender, to a Vegas favourite, back down to a basement-dwelling sympathetic figure all in two and a half years.

Chiarelli was hired as GM in April of 2015, and has maybe the most scrutinized and heavily criticized trading records in all of hockey — one that dates back to his time with the Boston Bruins.

So with the afforded luxury of hindsight, allow me to hop on my pedestal for a quick minute and recap Chiarelli’s best and (mostly) worst deals for your reading pleasure.

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(Hopefully you have a barf-bag on standby, Oilers fans.)

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Draft picks for Cam Talbot

You know what, since it’s the holiday season and we should be spreading joyous cheer and all that shit, let’s start with one of Chiarelli’s not-so-bad deals. Needing to fill the team’s desperate need for a number one goaltender, he plucked Cam Talbot away from the New York Rangers and gave up only a third, fifth and seventh round pick for a guy who should be the team’s answer in goal for at least the next few campaigns.

Talbot has struggled this season — as has the rest of the team, obviously — but just last year he led the NHL in several key statistical categories including games played and wins, showing his durability as a starter while finishing just outside the Vezina Trophy conversation.

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Unfortunately for Chiarelli, this move is the highlight of his tenure in Edmonton so far, and it happened just two months after he took over.

Taylor Hall for Adam Larsson 

Sep 18, 2017; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Edmonton Oilers defenseman Adam Larsson (6) and Calgary Flames right wing Garnet Hathaway (21) battle for the puck during the third period at Scotiabank Saddledome. Edmonton Oilers won 5-4. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

This is quite possibly Chiarelli’s most notorious blunder, and when you’ve only had your job for two seasons, the fact that you boast several ‘notorious blunders’ is certainly not ideal. To be fair, the Oilers had a surplus of skilled forwards and had an Alberta-sized need to fill on the blueline, so moving out a forward for a quality shutdown d-man wasn’t the worst idea.

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And as the team made the playoffs last season with Larsson a key contributor to the Oliers’ success, one could make the case that for a very short period of time, this deal looked okay. Well, now back here on planet Earth, the swap is looking just like it should in Edmonton: Terrible. Hall has found his game once again this season and is the best player on a resurgent New Jersey Devils club looking to do some damage in the Metro division.

Larsson, meanwhile has been okay, but not nearly the impactful player you would expect in return for a former No. 1 pick with all the offensive upside in the world. Hall’s $6-million cap hit is looking like a bargain right now, too.

Jordan Eberle for Ryan Strome

Unlike the Half for Larsson deal, which a surplus at forward presented an opportunity to fill a hole on D, the Eberle for Strome trade was an obvious attempt to lower costs — and the results have certainly reflected that premise. You get what you pay for, and with Eberle the Oilers had a solid top-six guy with the potential to put up 30 and 65 every season while carrying only a $6-million cap hit, just like Hall.

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With Strome, the Oilers got a player who’s only half as expensive as Eberle, but not even close to half the player he is. Now in his fourth NHL season after a very productive OHL career, Strome has yet to score 20 goals and has cracked 30 points just once. He’s been skating as an extra forward in practice this week, which means he’ll likely see the stands for the first time as a healthy scratch on Saturday.

McDavid’s monumental contract presented a challenge in managing the salary cap over the next eight years. But the minimal, almost insulting return the Oilers got back for Eberle is another terrible blemish on their GM’s already spotty-as-hell record.

Missing out on Mathew Barzal for Griffin Reinhart

Chiarelli ran head first into a generational building block after he was hired in 2015 when the No. 1 overall pick once again fell into the Oilers’ lap and a young star named Connor McDavid became Edmonton’s new face of the franchise. Chiarelli and the organization could have struck gold twice in that first round if not for a desperate attempt to shore up the team’s blue line with the acquisition of Griffin Reinhart, which saw the No. 16 and No. 33 overall picks go to the New York Islanders.

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That first-rounder at No. 16 turned out to be Mathew Barzal, a stud of a WHL prospect who is looking like a potential offensive force in this league for years to come. The 20-year-old is operating at a point-per-game clip in his rookie season, will be in the running for the Calder Trophy, and has (along with Eberle) been a driving force on a resurrected Islanders club.

The team needed a blueliner bad in 2015, but not a fringe one who, at the time of the deal, only had eight NHL games under his belt.

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Tumultuous tenure in Boston

Don’t worry, beloved Oilers fans, another franchise has suffered the same pain you feel right now. A ten-year run with the Boston Bruins started off promising and peaked with a Stanley Cup victory in 2011. However, as successful as his time in Boston was for a while, Chiarelli pulled off some absolute stinkers that Bruins fans still lament to this day. Chiarelli was canned by the organization he won a Stanley Cup with just four seasons after the feat, and these failed deals likely played a big part:

In July of 2013, the Bruins shipped out All-Star forward and elite scorer Tyler Seguin along with Rich Peverely and Ryan Button to the Dallas Stars for Loui Eriksson and three prospects including Joe Morrow, Reilly Smith and Matt Frazer. Boston has no one on their roster left from that deal, while Seguin has turned into a top-10 NHLer.

Chiarelli parted ways with now two-time Stanley Cup champion Phil Kessel for a couple first round picks and a second-rounder. The return in the deal was actually great, as two of those picks turned into Seguin and now-Flames blueliner Dougie Hamilton. However, Chiarelli flipped Seguin himself and incoming GM Don Sweeney traded Hamilton, leaving not much return left for one of the game’s great snipers in Kessel.

Blake Wheeler, now captain of the Winnipeg Jets and one of the team’s best offensive talents, was flipped to Atlanta for Rich Peverly. I’m just going to leave that one there.

So far, aside from accidentally falling into a Connor McDavid draft year, Chiarelli’s greatest act with the Oilers to date has been not losing his job.

Though time is surely running out, right?

  • Consultant

    This is a serious serious discussion that needs to take place. Thanks for this article.
    Defend some these moves all you want but at the end of the day, he is batting well, well below .500 in terms of return value. That’s it man, the sample size is big enough and most importantly – HE IS NOT IMPROVING, what else is there to talk about, Chia must go, and he must go right now. At this time while the team is struggling is the time to get it done. DO IT Nicholson, this is in your hands. Don’t wait until its a tire fire. Learn from history.

  • KenBone18

    So this year’s scape goat is Chiarelli. And so it goes – Eakins, Mac T, Hall, Schultz, Yak, Eberle and now Chiarelli.

    Who do the Oilers blame next year? Preimer Notley, Donald Trump? The Mascot?

    • Gravis82

      Many of us here have never stopped saying it was a blunder. There was no way it ever made sense. Team success doesnt mean it was a good trade. How do you know that Larson caused the success last year and Hall would not have resulted in greater success? You cant. But any reasonable person can see how lopsided that was.

    • GK1980

      I agree, it isn’t a blunder nor as bad as the writer makes it out to be. The team moved sideways with this trade. Filled a hole, created a hole. I don’t consider this trade brutal, it wasn’t a great trade but not as bad as people are making it out to be.

  • Natti_89

    Oh boy now that you mention those Boston trades……gulp. I am a lifelong Bruins fan and I forgot about that. I think the cup win makes people forgive and forget. But man, those are some real ? ‘s

  • thelinedriver86

    So you say last season the hall trade worked out but this season it didn’t? Are you going to flip flop again if hall gets hurt after Christmas and doesn’t play a full 82 again? Or what if the oilers make the playoffs next year and the devils suck? Hall gets hurt every year, and didn’t do anything for 6 years to bring the team closer to the playoffs. Just stop the whining about this team.

  • Danoilerfanincalgary

    Garbage article total nonsense sounds like an amateur blogger acting like a troll. Was this just to rile up fans and make Oiler fans feel bad about their situation? Wow give us some credit and offer us something better to read.

    • Slipknot 8

      Given the circumstances of the team, the future going forward with the team, I actually thought this article SAVED a lot of pain for Oilers fans…….
      Sit back and ask yourself how the Oilers fix this quick…… and…….. can you trust the man who did this to the team get the team out of it……….Because, if your honest with yourself it means a lot of subtraction by addition and not the good subtraction ether.

  • Klef abs

    Before the Reinhart trade it was because of Chia burning his bridges that Boston sold Hamilton for less to our main rival. He’s not 100% at fault for that as it’s half in Sweeney. But if we’d have gotten Hamilton, likely the awful Reinhart deal wouldn’t have happened and likely the awful Hall for Larsson wouldn’t have happened. Dominos created by Chia burning his bridges.

  • FISTO Siltanen


    This is just a hatchet job.

    Wanna talk bad trades? Flames back in ’88 traded Brett Hull for Rob Ramage and Jeff Reese. I read in Hull’s biography 20+ years ago that the Flames made the deal to try and win a Cup. They did so knowing, as I recall Cliff Fletcher being quoted in the book as saying, Hull was going to score 200 goals the next four seasons (it would be closer to 300 but details).

    The Flames would win a Cup the following year. The most important trade en route to that Cup was Gretzky to the Kings. But again, details. Imagine what Flames history would look like if they’d traded Hull for nothing and hadno Cup to show for it.

    Look at the moves and blunders the management of this team committed between June 20th, 2006 and March 2015 and tell me this isn’t better.

    There are issues here. We understand that. And most can be attributed to health and something funky going on with team chemistry. This is just petty.

  • Wonderboy

    I think Chiarelli sucks as much as the next guy, but I remember reading article after article saying how expensive all of the six mill men were and now they are bargain deals.

  • DoubleDIon

    You Oiler fans are a bi-polar bunch. Eberle is a god, then he sucks, now he’s a god again. The truth is he is not the type of player who helps you win at that cap hit. You were never going to get much for him. Hall is a different story. Fantastic player that can drive a line by himself. But you got a decent #2 defenseman for him. So it’s a mild loss. The inexcusable moves were the Lucic signing and the Reinhart trade. Sheer stupidity.

    • Finnaggled

      you all forget lucic had more money and longer term elsewhere. apparently had double digit offers. at the time looked like a great signing and was applauded by most. hindsight is great ain’t it.

    • Finnaggled

      I thought this was a credible and well written article…until you wrote that kessel might make the hall. you lost us. never will that fat rude puke be in the same hall as the greats of our game.
      I also find it amusing that you happened to leave out the maroon trade.

    • Mc?

      Everyone agrees with Reinhart, but Lucic at the time was actually a great signing for the Oilers, and considering he has kept pace with his career avg, so far its not all bad. Did you know he only scored 4 goals less than SM last year, and is only .1pts/game less than SM over their respected careers? But hey all good

      • DoubleDIon

        You’re counting Monahan’s youngest possible seasons. Lucic was barely into his career at Monahan’s age. Monahan is the highest scoring player in his draft class AND the one before it.

        • Mc?

          I do not disagree with the draft class, which is backed by stats…… but so are the numbers I threw out, not saying Monahan will not outpace him over the years, just saying as the numbers show RIGHT now, they are pretty similar in statistics.

          • Mc?

            Also if you just take their Monahan’s 5 season, and Lucic first 5 seasons, they are still on .1pts/game difference, which equates to 8pts over the course of a year. Not an enormous difference

  • Roberto

    I don’t think Strome has been a healthy Scratch yet has he? And Griffin hasn’t played a game with the Oilers this season because he is no longer with the organization.

  • BringtheFire 2.0

    “Blake Wheeler, now captain of the Winnipeg Jets and one of the team’s best offensive talents, was flipped to Atlanta for Rich Peverly. I’m just going to leave that one there.”

    This is the funniest and roughest thing I’ve ever read on ON OMG that’s rough. To be honest my Chiarelli knowledge had gaps…and I kind of wish it still did.

    But, not trolling, who actually hired this guy? Mad Katz or a Mad Katz peripheral? (See what I did there?) But seriously, who?

    • Slipknot 8

      Bob Nicholson the Oilers Chief Executive Officer and Vice-Chairman of the Oilers Entertainment Group…….After completion of an internal audit………….Then left the old management group in place………
      So, to sum it up, he hired a guy who was fired for depleting the assets of the team while driving the teams CAP to the max and leaving the team zero picks to rebuild his mistakes………Then, kept the old management group in place that drove the team into the group for a decade…………And here we are…………………..

    • Mc?

      This article likes to leave out all the trades that were good, but hey, bias is not a real thing. I mean outside of Dougie hamilton falling in Trevlings lap because Chiarrelli persued it, offered more but the B’s stiffed him, what amazing trades has Trevling pulled off other than getting rid of every pock you guys have, and the best thing to come out of it, is Mike Smith???

  • FISTO Siltanen

    Here is what I’ll say Hall trade. Then I’m off to bed.

    In the ’13 and ’14 seasons Hall scored a combined 130 points in 120 games. He was playing well and looking healthy.

    In the ’15 and ’16 seasons he combined for 103 points in 135 games. He was banged up. Missed games and wasn’t making an impact on the team in the standings.

    If we were the ones trading for Hall and gave up Larsson we were getting a player who seemingly looked like a depreciating asset. And in his first season following the trade he scored 53 points in 72 games you’d think this GM was an idiot.

    Wait a season and he’s healthy and scoring at a point a game – GM is a genius again!

    So fickle.

    Maybe Oiler fans can afford Strome and Chiarelli the same patience Shero and the Devils fans gave Hall. Maybe it too will pay off.

        • Mc?

          I don’t have direct access to all the articles, but when ex-teammates refer to a “core” of players on the team that did not commit or give their all………….. like they say, where there is smoke there is fire.

          And if this is Tay tay’s mom’s ON acct, I am sorry, your boy is an unreal hockey player, but if he is not a team player, his 70pt seasons are not worth 70pts

      • Mc?

        I do have better things to do than dig up Old articles, but the fact that sport outlets talked about this for a few years again to me is enough proof that there is atleast something to it….. everyone can believe what you want, I choose to believe that there was probably something to it, and considering it had become McDavid’s team, I am not sure they still needed Hall who felt like it was his team prior

  • Jehu23

    Haven’t filtered through all the comments… but the article could have used a little editorial assistance: *Don* Sweeney, not John… and one of the reasons Reinhart “hasn’t played a single game for the Oilers this season” is that he is no longer in the organisation. Not to mention an absence of the Maroon deal.