Speculation: Chiarelli looking for another defenceman?

TSN Insider, Darren Dreger, appeared on TSN 1290 in Winnipeg yesterday to talk a little bit about what Peter Chiarelli could be up to as we head into the new year.

It hasn’t necessarily been the year anyone expected in Edmonton, and you have to wonder what their plan will be moving into the back half of the season. Will Chiarelli try to improve the roster to catch up or will he start moving out expiring assets? If the Oilers keeps playing as they have been (last night’s loss aside), then there’s no reason they could crawl back into the race. The start may not have been what we wanted but that just means that the final sprint for a playoff spot will be that much more exciting.

When asked about the Oilers season, Dreger stated the obvious.

“This is more of the Oilers team that we expected. And they’re not anywhere near where they hoped they’d be at this stage of the regular season. But they’re headed down the right path, and that’s all Todd McLellan can hope for at this stage. I mean, it’s baby steps getting into full stride.”

With the roster freeze ending last night at midnight, it made sense for hockey insiders to hit the radio circuit to talk trades and roster movement. This time around, Darren Dreger offered his thoughts and guesses as to what Peter Chiarelli is looking to do.

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“That (slow start) puts a little bit of heat on Peter Chiarelli as the general manager. I believe that the Oilers are looking for some type of improvements or upgrades.”

Sorry, Dregs, quick detour here but we’ve been putting heat on Peter Chiarelli since the summer. His lack of moves, overpays, and strange roster choices were head scratchers for a lot of us. The slow start only amplifies it. Anything you’re seeing that we’re not?

“Their power play hasn’t been nearly as good as it needs to be. The penalty kill is just okay, but their power play is an area of concern.”

The penalty kill is “just okay?” Do you even watch the Oilers play? Like… ever? Their PK is at the very bottom of the NHL rankings. How is that okay? I guess there’s a lot of participation ribbons handed out at your place, huh? Whatever, we’ll agree to disagree on this one (even though I’m right). What else?

“We’ve talked about the fact that the Oilers look like a slow team this year. That doesn’t sit well with anyone who is employed by the Oilers.”

LOL! Remember when the Oilers beat Montreal and the Hockey Night in Canada panel was talking about them playing with speed? Dreger not watch that game either or what? I’m starting to think you he doesn’t really watch the Oilers play all that much so we’ll move back to Chiarelli. What is he going to do, Dreger? Tell us what you’re hearing.

“I wouldn’t be surprised to see Chiarelli kind of amp it up a little bit in terms of trying to upgrade in some fashion here in the foreseeable future.”

It’s funny how the idea of Peter Chiarelli making a trade is both exciting and scary as all hell at this point. At first, I’m like, “hell yes let’s do the thing” but then as I think about it that excitement turns into, “holy hell how are we going to get screwed this time?” If it’s a small move, then there’s a good chance Chiarelli will do well. If it’s a big move, there’s a good chance he’s going to one-for-one his way to even less skill and more unused cap space, but I digress. What’s he looking for?

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“I think that he’s interested in adding a defenseman. Somebody who, again, can build on their transition game and have some pace to his game and can make that man advantage count more often than it has to date.”

Interesting that he’d be looking for a defencemen when you consider that the D is just now getting healthy for the first time all season. Wouldn’t he want to see what that group looks like with Klefbom and Sekera before making a move like that? Is it depth he wants? A top-four guy? What’s the end game here?

“But wanting a player like that and finding a player like that and getting the fit that makes sense for both clubs is another thing.”

Or you just overspend like crazy because “that’s the price you pay.” I mean, Chiarelli had all summer to try and improve the defence and did absolutely nothing so why try and force something through in season when it’s way tougher to make deals? Then again, maybe making deals in the summer is something that only a Yale man would have done.

Taking a Closer Look at Carter Savoie

What do you think, Nation? Does it make sense for Chiarelli to be out fishing for d-men? Who do you think would be the trade chip? Personally, I’d guess that a guy like Pat Maroon will be the next to go but whether or not he(+) lands you a defenceman is another story altogether. What say you?

  • The Future Never Comes

    With Klefbom coming back presumably tomorrow, I would be more interested in getting a halfway decent scoring winger. Someone to chuck on that top PP unit. I could see us swapping out Maroon to a team that needs Cap relief for the short term (UFA next season) and needs a bigger body. In return, maybe we get someone with more speed and scoring touch with a little bit of term. I loved Maroon, but he has changed his game dramatically this season. I don’t like to sour on him, but at this point he has not been as gritty this season as he is trying to change his game from rugged winger to a skilled game. He is flying by checks he would have made last year and not getting into the other teams kitchen. He is abandoning the core of what made him so valuable last year. Plus we have enough functional toughness with the rise of Khaira, Nurse, and the gang.

  • deferoiler

    Things east media say about the Oilers:
    The Oilers are Slow (aside for Lucic and maybe Maroon)
    The Oilers are a one Man Show with McDavid (Even tho over the last month we have one of the most spread out rosters in terms of scoring).
    The Oilers are are gonna miss the playoffs (Even though we are really a couple streaks away from a wild card).
    People like dreger are an embarssment to the NHL and prove their is an East>West bias in the leauge. Heres a novel idea instead of dreaming useless Matthews stats,(like how many days hes been on earth???) you stay up past your bedtime on actually watch us play.

    • FISTO Siltanen


      Craig Button called out Rinaldo this week for his gutless play, but since the comment came from Button I seriously questioned whether it was or not. Hell, I wouldn’t be surprised to learn it was taken from the latest EA hockey game seeing how legitimate a source and commentor Button has proven to be.

        • FISTO Siltanen

          Okay, let’s try that again.

          Craig Button could be on Gregor’s show this afternoon and his big scoops are that it’s cold in Edmonton and the Blackhawks are in town on Friday.

          I’m still looking for second opinions on the weather and I’ll be doubling checking my tickets to make sure the Hawks are playing on Friday.

          That’s what I think about the former Flames GM.

          • jultz=2cups!??

            Lol. Classic oilersnation. “We don’t like anybody! Everybody is an idiot except for us!! And Ray Ferraro!” Lolol. Please tell me who you guys think is a good hockey analyst….

  • camdog

    In December the Oilers penalty kill has scored 5 goals and given up 7. That’s as good as it gets. The powerplay has scored 5 goals. I think Dreger has a pretty good understanding of this team, well better than BaggedMilk.

    • Yeah, having the league worst 73.7% is just great. They’ve only had five games in December where they haven’t allowed a PP goal after only six games in November. I’m guessing you also have participation ribbons at your house. Aim higher.

  • Gravis82

    Dreger never really says anything of substance. He clearly does not watch or care about the Oilers. Ray Ferrero is the best TSN analyst, both in game and out, in my opinion.

      • Twitch

        he does, due to Rogers rights every game he works is blacked out in Alberta as we don’t get Jets and Leafs games that are on TSN3. He’s the best because he actually follows the play in front of him and uses his experience as a player to provide factual analysis of the games he’s involved in and doesn’t provide baseless comments on games he doesn’t watch using outdated information(like Dreger)

  • Oiler Al

    I think Maroon is on the block!He has probably indicated he wants to play closer to home and will try the market next season,that is if he isnt traded in the mean time.To my eyes he has handed in his Oiler Badge already.

    • jultz=2cups!??

      So I see oilersnation has switched blame from Russell early in the season, to maroon. Lol classic oilersnation. Always need to hate on an oiler for some reason. Can’t wait till the big rig gets hot and makes all you guys eat your words! You guys are embarrassing “fans”.

  • Ginbaby

    Sekera looks good to my eyes, not a lot of rust in his game. If there is a great RD available I think he needs to at least make a call. Given how this team has vastly improved it’s play it is hard for me to say that it is the GM and not a group that was under performing. I don’t see the over-pays as both 27 and 4 are having years that show them to be earning their money. To me it is on the players to get it done, if the GM can make them better that is his job.

  • Twitch

    It’s tough to say what the Oilers actually need to get better. CamelHairy has had just as many bad games as good but SleepyChef hasn’t exactly been good enough to get his spot back when given the chance. Maroon has been exposed hard when not on Mcdavid’s line. The problem is neither guy is going to move the needle much on a trade and we don’t have enough young assets to add to beef up trades to get better players(i.e. Maroon, Jones and a 2nd for insert high end second line winger UFA here). If Talbot can keep playing good enough to save our bacon and McDavid continues to pretend the other team is just a bunch of pylons we should have enough to make up for our deficiencies anyway. I personally think 3rd in the Pacific by seasons end but we’ll be streaking into the playoffs and lose to Nashville or St. Louis in the 3rd round if we can get in.

          • Twitch

            Strome’s points per dollar are 1.5 times what Eberle’s are and seeing as dollars were the point of the trade I wont complain about that deal and Larsson is a solid 21-23 minute a night right shot defender who last night aside is one of two defenders we NEEDED at the time of the trade and I don’t think we make the playoffs last year without him. Sometimes you need to lose a trade to fix the overall and we HAD scorers making $6M and NEEDED a shutdown defender, a scoring right shot d-man and cheap help to compensate our players making over $6M. We solved one of those, made bad gambles on another(cheap wingers) and failed miserable on one(scoring right d-man). I give Chia a C+ on his attempts and D on his results.

      • tealyn

        They didn’t have thick enough skin, the relentless media and demanding fanbase was more than they could handle, we make men out of boys here. Its sink or swim.


    Chia should be looking at a #1 quality goalie because if talbot goes down again that’s all folks. The Oilers are also light on defence , bring in a top 4 RD if possible and a scoring winger would be nice. Offer and sign Maroon to a 2M contract or package him.

    • NoBuBlackOPS

      The oilers already have a #1 goalie in Cam Talbot. We don’t need to waste assets to bring someone to play as are #1 when we have one. Out side of Pittsburgh teams don’t win if you are devoting to much salary to the goalie position. If anything this tells me that Talbot is somewhat of a slow stater at the beginning of the year. Two of his three years as a starter he has struggled to start a season. A proven backup is all we need as I’m not totally sold on LB although he is still improving. It would be great to get a top 4 RD and a scoring winger but the thing is teams don’t just give those types of players away. They are going to cost assets the oilers don’t really have to throw around fixing the roster. Why would maroon sign for 2M just to be traded. When he can get as much or more most likely more on July 1 as a UFA and pick where he plays?

      • LAKID

        I can agree with your thoughts……but a goalie that needed rest on an upper body injury is a problem. If Talbot
        re injures his ( shoulder) lets just call it that, then what ? Do you have faith in LB when the Oil are chasing a playoff spot? Maroon right now is a 2M player and showing it. I said offer him and then if not trade at deadline .

        • NoBuBlackOPS

          By that logic NYR better invest in another #1 unless you have faith in pavelec as a #1. Maybe LA better add another #1 in case quick goes down agin unless you believe in kuemper as a #1. Also having two #1s worked so well for LA last year after they traded for Bishop. To answer your question on LB the answer is in my original post to you that I’m not sold on LB as a backup. That what we need is a proven backup. In no way should the oilers be spending assets on bringing in another #1 goalie that is extremely poor asset management. Why would maroon sign for 2M here when he will most likely get more on the open market as a UFA. Worst case with maroon we keep him and loose him in the offseason. Which would suck loosing an player for nothing but given the cost acquire him I can live with that. Best case trade him for a pick or prospect and circle back to him if he’s still available in the offseason and go from there.

        • Jaxon

          Maroon is still on pace for 20 goals and 44 points. That kind of production gets paid more than $2M. Think $3.5M and possibly as high as $5M. 27 goals last season. Plus, he brings an element of toughness to a team. Something contenders love. I’m sure STL is salivating over him. He’ll get paid next summer, no doubt.

  • Oilman99

    Based on his record for making boneheaded deals, l wouldn’t be letting him negotiate with anybody. We could end up losing RNH,Kleff,or Nurse, or all of the above before he’s done. Please be patient!!!

  • OilersDynasty

    “…I would be more interested in getting a halfway decent scoring winger. Someone to chuck on that top PP unit…”

    His name is Jesse Puljujarvi

    • Twitch

      normally I would agree with you(especially about BM) but this time I’d say he’s caught a TSN paid analyst napping as Dreger seemed to know very little about what he was trying to sound smart on.

  • Danoilerfanincalgary

    Another d-man does not make much sense right now I would rather see someone come in on the cheap with experience and challenge Caguila and Cammi for playing time.

  • BringtheFire 2.0

    I think Chia is not going to do anything, because even HE’S wary of Chia when it comes to trades.

    But if he does trade it’ll probably be like, Nuge for Jordie Benn, or something equally cracked.

  • Svart kaffe

    I don’t think any of Klefbom, Sekera, Larsson or Russell are moving. Auvitu fills the criteria of “Somebody who, again, can build on their transition game and have some pace to his game and can make that man advantage count”. At least for a 3rd pairing defenseman.

    I think Benning plus something might be moving out for a 2nd pair RHD. He’s the odd man out who might be of interest to other teams.

    • BringitbacklikeSlats

      Why would they possibly give Benning up and for what kind of perceived return?? Sorry but that fox doesn’t hunt. Plus he’s coming off his ELC AND maybe most importantly is a rare Right Shot. No, I’d be surprised unless he’s part of a bigger deal thrown in as a sweetener he’s going nowhere.

      Far more likely one of Klefbom or Sekera go based on their price points and contracts under control for several years. My personal belief is one of them are gone by end of summer.

  • Hockycrazed

    The need to add an useful piece to the team no longer exists at this juncture; every game we see different players showing signs of ‘going through the motions’, instead of back checking, taking the body, they would simply wave their stick at the puck, a ‘fly by check’ if you will!. Defences are backing in way too often! Forwards tend to bunch up behind the net in ‘o-zones’, too many fancy back passes, not enough one timing shots toward the net! And, we are talking about the majority of the the whole team are doing it, just different players at different time! So, which player should we ship out? the whole team? (except for a select few, it is a collect team failure to consistently play up to their potentials). No, whether or not they make it to the playoffs this year, a major trade is fruitless!!! An overhaul of ‘PRIORITIES’ in the off season is a MUST!!! Then and only then, should they consider making any moves.

    • Freddie the fog

      Are u talking about a change in philosophy ? Thats only going to come from a new Gm, Coaches, or a major overhaul of players. Or some combination of the three. Are we at this point ? Cheers for yes