Photo Credit: OilersTV

Breaking Down Chiarelli’s State of the Union

Oilers general manager Peter Chiarelli spoke to the media Friday morning and discussed the trade deadline, as well as the Oilers’ needs.


Chiarelli talked about high expectations, focusing on the trade deadline, and finishing the season when asked about rebuilding. “We’re not going to blow it up,” Chiarelli stated. He referenced the thin margins in the league and how he’ll look to add speed, and that could be from the prospects they get at the deadline.

I’d argue that has already happened with the significant trades made by the Oilers general manager. He’s put his stamp on the team, and sold low on some very good players to do so. Speed is clearly an issue but I wonder if they’re focusing too much on a specific need for the trade deadline.

Prospects over draft picks

Chiarelli calls getting prospects in return the “primary objective” of the trade deadline. It sounds like the Oilers will be targeting NHL-ready prospects in return for Patrick Maroon and Mark Letestu, and we could see these players with the team after the deadline.

The Oilers badly need forward prospects, but I’d hesitate to focus so heavily on acquiring prospects instead of draft picks. Most of the high quality prospects won’t be available. It’s unlikely they get a first-round pick for Maroon, but a second-round pick could be parlayed into a player later on, as Chiarelli said later in the presser.

Hockey deals

Chiarelli said he’s looking at a couple hockey deals. He talked about some larger action (Erik Karlsson?) going on, the Oilers aren’t involved. Chiarelli emphasized improving the team’s speed, but acknowledged that might not be done at the deadline.

I doubt the Oilers make a trade that includes anyone with term. Maybe they lay the groundwork for an off-season deal instead?

Maroon and Letestu

There’s interest in them, but they’ve also talked about re-signing both.

I highly doubt either returns. Maroon will want to cash in and Letestu’s speed is a serious issue 5-on-5. Chiarelli can’t say it but they should both be gone.

The rest of the season

This terrible season isn’t over. Chiarelli wants to see progress. Younger players playing more. The special teams improving and a good 20 games. Hopes there isn’t a difficult 20 games even with a few players leaving.

I’m curious which young players he’s referring to. I think most people have seen enough of Drake Caggiula playing in all situations. Jesse Puljujarvi could play more, same with Anton Slepyshev. After that, there’s not much.

The three centers

Chiarelli likes the coach to have the ability to make changes. He says having a bunch of money dedicated to center might not make sense, but that doesn’t mean he’s going to trade a center.

When asked about Ryan Nugent-Hopkins playing the wing, he says he doesn’t have that answer but RNH has played the wing before.

Edmonton’s center depth is a strength, but they also lack assets to improve. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see RNH traded for a right-handed defenceman or a winger and Draisaitl at center permanently. Now is the perfect time to give RNH a shot on the wing with McDavid or Draisaitl.

Stray Thoughts

  • Chiarelli’s emphasis on speed makes sense. This team is seriously slow beyond McDavid.
  • It’s clear the target is prospects, some of that is Chiarelli trading away draft picks and not getting any in the Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle trades. They desperately need cheap, young players.
  • Chiarelli feels this can be a quick turnaround. He doesn’t think this is a rebuild. I’m not sure. This is a team with a lot of cap already dedicated to players and few trade assets.


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  • Dirtbag Daddy

    Perhaps the Oilers can clean out some players from Bakersfield that will not make the Oilers and in return play the “prospects” more and in fact put some effort into the training. No more old veterans that have proven they will always be ECHL and AHL players with no hope with promotions. They never recalled Rattie this year. Give him an opportunity. Clean up that 50 man roster and the veterans that you want to keep for the farm teams should not be on that list. If you don’t recall the veteran, don’t put him on that list. A successful farm teamm usually equates into a successful NHL club. See Detroit.

    • Opi

      Condors last in their division & 22nd in a 30 team league … if AHL players can’t make this hapless Oiler team what in the world makes you think that if they were traded they could bring back legitimate NHL contracts … ? Makes no sense, that …

  • Dirtbag Daddy

    @jultz=2cups!😂😂 What games were you watching in regards to Schultz? I agree that he was mishandled like most of the young Oiler prospects and should have been sent to the minors for development. However IMO commitments were made when they signed him and here we are today. I blame the Oilers organization for mismanagement in his career, not the fans.

  • Opi

    Why is Chia still here? Why? He’s made such a mess already in UFA signings, trades & signings … he has cup management issues forthcoming … is this really the guy you want making deadline deals to attempt to cover up his own mistakes … Nicholson should be fired for allowing this to continue … what a debacle …

  • camdog

    All the talk of Schultz when Petry got more or less the same treatment from the fans/management. Sure Petry struggled when paired with Ference…Some of which Bradley Ate Pie is saying is true.

  • MrBung

    This is the hockey “genius” that turned Hall, Eberle and Barzal into Larsson, Strome and Reinhart. No wonder this team is in the crapper. There are little to no assets to fix the mess Chia has made worse. Hard to believe after the DOD.

  • Beer_League_Ringer

    Regarding speed: Vegas is not a team with elite, or even good foot-speed. Have you seen how quickly and easily they get out of their own end and into the O-zone? Good positioning, moving their feet, and short tape-to-tape passes. 180ft in 6 seconds. Team speed.