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Photo Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Desperate times for a desperate man

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.

  • Garett14

    We saw him make trades without fear of losing his job. They were horrific trades. Now with one foot out the door we are going to let him try and save his job by trying to desperately make the playoffs. This could be the final chapter in the sinking of the once hopeful dynasty. It’s asinine.

  • percy

    WOW, we were on our way to building a contender, just a few simple moves and we would have seen the playoffs again. Back to a mixed up mess again. Can’t believe this bunch, and Katz pays them to do this.

    • TruthHurts98

      Rewarded for incompetence. #becauseOilers. DOD 2.0 is here even with Connor. The idiot strips away the talent through horrible trades and signings and now they expect him to ‘FIX’ his mess???!!!??? How retarded is that???

  • IceMan11

    Well, doing nothing won’t be acceptable either, right?
    We all know the needs…puck moving d, scoring winger and better backup goalie. Do we have enough to get all those? I don’t think we do.
    So, the question is, do we trade our 1st round pick? And if so, for what, the d’man or winger?
    I’m no GM, but I know you have to build for the future, not just next year, but at the same time, we have to get the pieces to complement our core guys now, not 5 years from now.
    Tough decisions ahead. Let’s hope the right ones are made!!

  • Heschultzhescores

    We are so patient in Edmonton. Seems like some teams, like Vegas, have no problem putting it together in a single year. We are taking the Math 15 route…slow for the those who are not gifted but at the same time have been gifted a position they don’t deserve.

    • Corbs

      You realize Vegas was able to draft from every single team without giving anything back? They had very favourable rules in their draft as well. You’re comparing apples and oranges.

      • Ten Long Years

        And the Oilers have had how many 1st overall picks? And 10 years to this team? I agree with the original post, how can Vegas build a contender in 1 year with other team cast aways and Oilers are doomed to fail year after year? Its beyond frustrating.

        • Arfguy

          Other than Jason Garrison, I don’t think a single player on the Vegas roster is a cast away. You think Pittsburgh would not want to keep Marc-Andre Fleury? You think Minnesota is not regretting losing Eric Haula and his very valuable contract? I guarantee you that Jonathan Marchessault was not a player that the Panthers wanted to lose. People who use the Vegas team as a crutch for their argument really don’t know what they are talking about. Case in point: If George McPhee is such a brilliant GM, how come he couldn’t put together a winner with Washington, with the likes of Ovechkin, Backstrom, Kuznetsov, Carlson, etc?

          Make no mistake, Peter Chiarelli made some really questionable moves. I can live with the Larsson trade. I can live with the Eberle trade. I hate the Lucic signing, but it’s done and we’re stuck with him. Chiarelli will have to be a magician to get rid of Lucic (which is something I really want), but using Vegas as an example of how to successfully build a team is not a good one, at all.

    • GK1980

      Vegas isn’t wasn’t about acquiring the right players as it was to execute playing the game. They played with passion and swagger, something the oilers lack.

  • Heschultzhescores

    He is not a genius. Remember the old saying about keeping your mouth shut so you don’t confirm you’re an idiot? Well, he spoke! It’s confirmed!

  • Rugbypig

    The problem with any “Trade!” of real talent is the ability of the current GM to “by all appearances” lose them.
    His draft pick management not much better.
    Just a few examples of asset management with draft picks on a team with horrid draft ability after the first round:
    1) Trade for a goalie (57, 79 & 184)
    2) Trade for an AHL defenceman – who can’t play in the NHL (and by all accounts wasn’t even “knocking on the door” (16 & 33))
    Amazingly all these picks for the same draft year (2015)
    The “loss” of Top NHL talent to address “areas of need” shows a get the “best” deal right now regardless of it’s true value – not a “Joe Sakic” idea of asset management.
    So where does “Trader Pete” get his trading “ammo” from now?
    Look at the remaining Oilers and their contracts, then look at the “trading” history with:
    1) Major assets – horrid (Bruins & Oilers)
    2) Minor assets – ok to good (ish)
    Darkness looms deep, deep darkness followed by (John Tavares, Oliver Ekman Larsson & Erik Karlsson) type losses as the top talent leaves to take less money, but to be with an organization that is positioned to “win a cup”.
    Realize those 3 already have millions in the bank, fat paychecks are great the losing sucks though, as compared to not so fat team building paychecks with a real chance to get your name on “the grail”
    We have 2 players just like those 3 and the Oilers are just as bad as those teams . . . . . . darkness looms

    • Corbs

      So you’re mad that he traded draft picks but you say our drafting is horrid? Then who cares if we trade picks. After the second round it’s a crap shoot anyways. Aside from the horrible Reinhart trade I have no problems with him moving picks. I’d much prefer that to him losing trades for actual NHL players.

  • Corbs

    I don’t get why people think that gm’s and coaches are so afraid of getting fired. They have multi-year guaranteed contracts in most cases. And as bad as they are to get fired…most get re-hired within a year or two. I highly doubt Chia is too worried about being fired.

  • Quoteright

    So everyone is trying to fix specific problems that seem to continue no matter who’s in charge. People keep mentioning we need puck moving defence or wingers or better goalie….
    I’ve stopped watching because I felt like they stopped trying. Honestly, they have always had the talent to compete, they just don’t do it consistently. They have always been able to beat good teams easily and then wet the bed with garbage teams. Look how much better Hall is now that he is free of this trainwreck. Gregor for years has spouted that the fans in Edmonton are not the issue but the other day he mentioned someone getting hushed by ushers at the game. When Lucic apologizes to everyone but the fans… The difference between home and away pk…
    Really, their home record only crept above .500 after they were long out of the playoffs and people stopped expecting anything and the atmosphere relaxed.
    This team has been choking on expectations for a long time. We examine everything with a fine tooth comb and have somehow lost the perspective of it’s a game for fun. If the players are having fun, it’s a hell of a lot easier to preform.
    I was offered free tickets this year, but I declined cause it is not fun to be in that rink(especially with the ridiculous prices concessions).
    Why can’t it be fun?
    I believe it’s because it costs toooo much. We pay the second highest tickets only to Toronto. Edmonton is in a recession and just publicly built a new venue, and have the worst record over a decade ever, and still the prices rise.
    Katz quit pushing drugs cause their is sooo much milk in this cow.
    I’m not directly blaming the fans, but really it’s your fault for continually supporting this madness with your money and expectations and bringing all that negativity to the media and rink.
    Edmonton is a toxic environment right now. Trading away player after player to only see them improve elsewhere.
    Katz is not even an Edmontonian. Why do you let him steal so much from you?
    The fear someone else will take your place… wow!!! What a situation

  • A-co

    What’s the deal with filip berglund in sweden…is there any chance that he becomes a free agent and the oilers miss out on him? Looks like he could be part of the solution on the backend in the near future..

  • CMG30

    The spot we’re in now is a direct result of the poor decisions that saw blue chip talent shipped out to fill holes elsewhere, that were then not replaced, and the holes that were supposed to now be filled were not. Maybe having a fire lit under Chirelli will jumpstart his brain.

    • LAKID

      Chia ” Um, um, um, we have the fowards no need for upgrades on that front as we have Lucic and Milan has promised to take skating lessons in the off season, but I could move RNH for a left handed winger for Connor. Um, um, um, I may have to look at getting a goaltender in here but it will have to be a trade as I dealt a 4th round pick to the Habs for Montoya and will most likely have to put him on waivers come Oct. Duh my bad!. Um, um, um, the draft is comming up and I could trade the pick that would be protected in the expansion draft but Um, um ,um, I don’t look that far in the future because I can’t see one here. Um, um, um, it’s really all of todd’s fault and I can fix that, another glass of Chianti Kevin? Enough for Wayne already!

  • Bp123

    If the GM has to make decisions that hurt the team long term in order to save his own job, then it’s absolutely unforgivable that he hasn’t been fired already.

  • madjam

    RADAR for R.Defensemen . K.Letang 30- 7.5M for 4 years , M.Nisanen 31-5.75M for 3 years , M.Bowey 22 , RFA , my favorite Seabrooke 32 , 6.875 for 4 years , J.Spurgeon 5.187 for 2 years and D.Severson 23 -4.166M for 4 years . Calgary has a bevy of defenceman and young ones as well , like Valimaki and Fox in the fold .

  • Snoop Scottie Dogg

    This reminds me of when George W. was about to get re-elected. I spoke to an American that was about to vote for him again because he was the only person that could fix his mistakes. Boy, was he wrong.

  • RexHolez

    Ive watched the oilers rebuild thru the draft for 10 years and fail miserably. I’ve watched them make trades to improve immediately and fail miserably. So who cares what they decide to do, Wether they decide to trade to improve immediately or draft for the long term, they’ll most likely fail miserably

  • Total Points

    Chai only makes trades that the OBC approve. They have Klowe, MacT, Howsen, Gretzky the younger and now Gretzky the elder and Coffey.

    As long as the OBC are around the Oilers are doomed. Gretzky the elder destroyed the Coyotes, traded lots of players for nothing, so with him on board nothing will change. In fact he is a lot like Chai

  • toprightcorner

    I think Chairelli takes a bit too much blame. Sure he has made some mistakes, but he has also mad some good moves. The lack of prospects in the system has really hurt him. Most GM’s will have a decent prospect coming out of the AHL almost every season, but PC didn’t have that. Every prospect is one that he added to the team. It is hard to improve your team when you always have to look externally because that costs you assets.

    If you look at the top teams right now like WPG, TBL and NSH, they have been adding a couple prospects to their NHL rosters every year that have all made significant impacts.

    The Oilers haven’t had a quality pick outside the first round that has made an impact in the last 5-7 years. PC never had that “internal” help of a cheap contract that didn’t cost anything make an impact on the team. He has had to beat the bushes and Sign college free agents or make trades for prospects. Because of this, he has to trade assets for NHL ready players. That makes the job of GM much more difficult.

    If Chia ends up being fired, he has definitely left the future GM a lot more to work with in the system than he was given when he was hired. The future is looking better with prospects because of Chiarelli but he likely won’t get any credit.

    Even if you look at the success of BOS, most of it is with players PC brought to the team, Sweeny hasn’t made any significant additions himself that have made a difference. Pasternak, Heinen and Krug were Chairellis. Chiarelli is responsible for their top 6 scorers and top 2 dmen.

    • crabman

      I agree Chiarelli walked into a lack of prospects on the farm as a result for poor drafting outside the 1st, especially the 2nd round, but he inherited a team with McDavid(golden ticket), Hall, Eberle, Draisiatl, Nuge, Klefbom Nurse, and a slew of draft picks. A big reason Chiarelli doesn’t have more of a pipeline of prospects coming up is a result of his trading picks and not getting a prospect or pick back in the Hall and Eberle trades. If he kept the 1st and 2nd, in the deepest draft in a decade, he traded for Rienhart he has 2 cheap players or really good prospects. If he gets a prospect back in the Hall deal that player may be in the lineup today or a 2nd round pick would be starting his pro career next year and possibly a good prospect. Same with Eberle. Highly doubtful they would all become NHL players but that would be 4 good chances of at least 1 or 2 of them to turn into NHL players. From no fault of his own Chiarelli also lost a 2nd and 3rd round pick because of the NHL’s short lived compensation rule for Chiarelli and McLellan’s hiring. That’s a possible 6 top 90 picks over the past 3 years. That is a big reason the Oilers pipeline is as shallow as it is.
      I mostly like how his drafting has been so far and wish he had those other picks to build on what he has done so far.

  • camdog

    Oilers have bled draft picks since PC took over. From the goofy picks lost for signing a fired GM/coach which the Oilers had no control over, 2 prospects lost in Reinhart trade, prospect loss for a waiver wire goalie, prospect that was never acquired in Hall trade that should have been, Maroon trade to New Jersey was a second round pick converted to third because Peter waited too long. Osterle and Pitlick two more prospects developed by the organisation for other NHL teams. Pitlick and Osterle would have been an improvement on Gryba and whichever forwards replaced Pitlick. Two more prospects lost in Talbot, trade are the only lost prospects that would be a considered a win for the organization.

    Fortunately Keith Gretzky does have a good record of finding good young players, he’s the one that was given credit with helping with Boston’s turn around. We just need to find a GM that is going to get him some draft picks…

    • Corbs

      This may actually be the dumbest thing I’ve ever seen. Not only is it dumb for someone to waste money on this but it’s hilarious if you think the Oilers will actually care if you have a billboard.

  • oilerjed

    I think your way off base with how desperate Chia is. I really don’t get the feeling that his leash is as short as many on here seem to think it is. One year left on a three year deal. Assuming the team turns it around like I believe they will, he will get re-upped for another three years before Christmas. Otherwise he will be here til the Oilers are done for the season.

  • CalOil

    Yikes, how much real business world experience does this author have?

    Other than a few local voices who are guessing what evidence is that Nicholson is unhappy with the GM? Can anyone provide a link? What if PC’s directive was;
    40% – make the playoff
    30% – Keep Team competitive to sell out Rogers
    20%- sign 97 and 29 for under $23M
    10% – 3 prospects AHL play in NHL

    Nicholson said today’s result was on the coach not the GM

    • OTOF2

      Nicholson is no leader. He really doesn’t care that this team sucks. Just keep giving him the fat pay check and keep the wine glass full. No passion for being a winner, being a rich loser is just fine.

  • Axe

    its exactly because he is desperate that they shouldn’t have brought him back..if the guy couldn’t pull off decent trades when he had job security what makes the oilers higher ups think he can do it now ??!!