I’m pretty critical of people in positions of power. Sometimes I’m accused of being too critical, perhaps even a touch negative when it comes to the Oilers, a team that appears poised to miss the playoffs for the 11th time in 12 years. So often before I write these things I sit back and think to myself, “am I being too harsh?”
This morning Darren Dreger revealed some insider information about a potential Taylor Hall trade that apparently didn’t happen because the Sens dragged their feet, and I’ve decided after careful consideration of these next few words that I am not at all overstating things: Peter Chiarelli should be fired immediately and escorted out of the Oiler offices by security. It should be like when Uncle Phil throws out Jazzy Jeff from the house. Trades like this are a danger to the club.
I’ve done stupid things in my life. Hell, I almost lost my arm in a trampoline accident that was completely my fault. However, I would have needed to land head-first and scramble my brains all over the pavement before I could have come up with the Taylor Hall for Cody Ceci deal that apparently came close to happening. I mean, I would require chunks of my brain removed to make that deal make any sense whatsoever.
At least when Ray Shero heard Chiarelli’s pitch for Adam Larsson he had the good sense to get out of Chia’s way and let him go through with it. “Oh, you want to give me the second best player on your team in exchange for this middle-six defender? Just fax over the papers, Pete.” The Senators had to go up the chain to find out if they could move Cody Ceci. While they were working on clearance for that deal, the Oilers called up the Devils and history was made.
Cody Ceci is what we would call “A bad defenseman” who is “not very good”. So the thought of dealing Taylor Hall for this guy is mind-numbing. I understand that he is a right shot defender and those players have more value than other defenders of the same skill level. I understand that in 2015-2016 he was coming off his career best season. I even understand that Peter Chiarelli is a poor assessor of talent and we should expect him to make bad deals.
Still, this is shocking.
Oiler fans should not shrug this off. The only reason the Hall trade was not worse for the club (and I personally count it amongst the worst in franchise history) was because Chiarelli stumbled into a better deal by accident. But never mind what Oiler fans should or should not be feeling. What about ownership?
Darryl Katz has watched Chiarelli flush Hall, Eberle, a first rounder (Barzal), and the duration of Connor McDavid’s Entry Level Contract down the toilet for nothing. This team still looks for long term solutions on the wing, a top pairing defender who can play PP minutes and a third line centre who isn’t making $8.5 million a season. He has added Talbot to the list of core players and we might be generous and add Larsson to that, but he isn’t a cornerstone player, really. So what did Edmonton really get for all the assets that went out the door?
Darryl Katz needs to know that the man he has in charge of his flagship property (and primary tenant of his building) is capable of building a winner. He wants that sweet Playoff money. He was charging people to STAND IN THE HALLWAYS and they were buying it. When you have people running around suggesting that they trade Taylor Hall for Cody Ceci, you cannot trust the process. You cannot be sure that you are going to build a winner. This would have been a disaster of a trade for the Edmonton Oilers. More of a disaster than the trade that actually went down.
Peter Chiarelli is dangerous to the team. Keeping him in a position where he can continue to steer the Oilers directly into the ditch is incomprehensible. This man’s history with major trades, like the kind that are probably coming after another failed season, tells us that he is not up to the job. Wheeler, Seguin, Reinhart, Eberle, Hall for Larsson, and an attempted Hall for Ceci is enough. If anyone had a history of performing this poorly at any job, they would be fired.
Cody Ceci. Good lord.