The Oilers need to be careful not to blow things up this summer, Peter Chiarelli even said that at his year availability. They need to improve next year, no doubt about it, but they also have to be careful. They’re a team that will be tight up against the cap and with another expansion draft looming, they can’t sacrifice too much of their future for immediate results.
That’s my thought process because I want the Oilers to have long-term success. I would much rather see the team set themselves up well for the next five years than see them sell off large pieces of their future, just to make the playoffs next year.
The problem: my job isn’t on the line.
Peter Chiarelli’s job is on the line and he doesn’t really have the luxury of looking too far into the future.
I’m sure the Oilers GM would love to build a team that contends through the entire 2020 decade, but if they don’t win in 2019, he won’t be around to see it.
That’s why I think the Oilers as an organization are in a very tough spot right now. They do have a great group of young talent, but they don’t have an ideal supporting cast around the likes of Connor McDavid, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, and Leon Draisaitl. Peter Chiarelli’s job is to get them out of this tough spot, and put together a strong supporting cast in a matter of months, or else he will be unemployed.
Now, most will say that if your teams General Manager has to get desperate to fix a mess that he created, you should probably find a GM. I think that’s 100% true but it’s not the reality of the situation. By the looks of it, Peter Chiarelli will be in charge of this team at the draft on June 22, when free agency opens on July 1st and beyond.
Whether we, as fans, think that’s right or wrong is almost irrelevant because it’s going to happen.
What my point with this piece is, when you are trying to think of what the Oilers could do this offseason, you have to consider what Chiarelli’s mindset is. He’s a guy who essentially has a two-month stretch to try and save his job.
Of course, all decisions need to be approved by some higher-ups. Honestly, I’m not too familiar with the way a pro-hockey team works behind closed doors and the chain of command, but I know Chiarelli can’t just run around and trade young star players without approval from ownership and what not.
But this summer, Oilers fans shouldn’t be surprised if we see some future assets shipped away for immediate help. Those who follow the team closely will say that a patient approach, one that doesn’t bring in big contracts or an older group of players is the smart play. The man in charge of the roster simply doesn’t have the luxury of patience.
Peter Chiarelli needs to improve this team right now. His job depends on it.