Recapping the Chiarelli Free Agency press conference

That’s a wrap folks! It appears the Free Agent frenzy has come to an end and Peter Chiarelli is done for the day. He made three minor (but important) moves and we’re starting to get a look at what our opening lineup could look like come October.

After signing Kyle Brodziak, Tobias Rieder, and Kevin Gravel, Peter Chiarelli stood in front of the Edmonton media to discuss his moves and his outlook going forward. You can watch the full presser here, but if you want a quick recap you don’t have to worry, I’ll feed you baby birds. Let’s get into it!

Overall thoughts on the day

I thought it was a pretty productive day. With having the lesser cap space, you have to be a little more direct in your strategy, you have to prepare in a different way which I thought we did. I thought we added speed. We added to the PK, we added size and leadership, we added faceoff skill. They fit some needs that we had, and they were coming in at a good time for us as far as cap goes and as far as opportunity goes for them.

Peter Chiarelli seemed very pleased with the work that got done today. There were a few main areas he aimed to improved, and he did so in all of them. The penalty kill, face offs, and speed were all covered with his acquisitions of Brodziak and Rieder.

Tobias Rieder

He’s coming off maybe an average or below average year. He’s a motivated, young individual. The one year deal is a good fit in general but if he hits it out of the park, we’ll be paying for him next year. But it gives him a platform. He’s a fast, quick player who closes in on pucks quick. We are looking for speed up and down the lineup, and he fits that. We were in on a couple other players.. .and we acted on that one. We are happy to get him.

After hearing Chiarelli’s thoughts on it, I’m very happy with the Rieder signing. They got him for a lot less money than I was expecting, and due to his poor performance last season, he will get an opportunity to rebound. If it doesn’t work out? Who cares! He will be back on the market in no time.

Kyle Brodziak

We did some analytics on Brodziak… and he was ranked 19th amongst penalty killer sin the league [Chia spoke about an analytic they watch for based on having sticks in lanes and stick touches]. Combined that with his faceoff success, and we’re headed in the right direction.

Pete went on more about Kyle’s size and speed. It was very important for him to add some forward depth to the team, and he did just that.

Kevin Gravel

Peter Chiarelli actually never really spoke about Kevin Gravel believe it or not. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Evan Bouchard

We feel we have a player in Bouchard who will fill that need. It may not be right away. He’s a very heavy, skilled player who’s ready to compete. He’s a tremendous fit for us.

Peter Chiarelli was thrilled to talk about Evan Bouchard. You can tell he’s very proud of his pick and really looking forward to Bouchard potentially cracking the lineup. He was careful to say that Bouchard may not be ready to make the lineup this year, but he will try out at training camp and go through the normal processes. Chia’s confident Bouchard will fit perfectly in our lineup one day.

Chia was also asked if Bouchard fits the bill in terms of the defenseman that we’ve been seeking oh-so-long for. His response?

What I can tell you is as of right now, I am not searching for a high-end offensive defenceman.

Nurse and Strome

As you all know, Darnell Nurse and Ryan Strome are due for contract extensions this summer. When asked about them, Peter Chiarelli had no hesitation about them getting done. He’s very confident that it will be happening.

Those are things that we’ve been picking away at and we expect them to be done.

Thoughts moving forward

I’m comfortable going in [to the season] with the mix of forwards that we have. It will be ideal to have a line that has three bonified stars. Sometimes it doesn’t work that way… but there’s a level of skill that we added today that we feel can compliment our lines. We’re happy with the upgraded skill level in general.

This response was regarding the question about his right wing depth and how he feels about it. Although he is much happier with how the team is looking, Peter Chiarelli still says he’s not satisfied, and as a GM you’re never comfortable with your team. Chia says that he can’t assure us that this is the same roster we will be looking at come the Fall.

It’s possible we could add another forward. We were close on a couple of things today, including a trade. We could possibly add a center at the depth position.

Now that the draft and Free Agent Frenzy is over, we can now focus more on the upcoming season and how we will be projected to perform. Of course, nearly everyone on the team had an off year so Pete was asked if he’s still relying on the hope that guys will bounce back from last season.

You can’t rely solely on these players having dramatic improvements this year, but we’re expecting some of them to. We’re always looking to improve our roster, and who knows what will happen between now and training camp.

Now, do you guys think we’re officially a better team than we were last year? I believe so, and Peter Chiarelli believes so too.

I think we’ve improved our team, we’ve improved our goaltending, with Koskinen, we’ve improved our team speed, and we’ve improved our veteran presence. I believe we’re headed in the right direction. I don’t know if we’ll be as good as we will be two years ago, we’re going to be better. I can assure you that a good number of [players] will be better as well.

Overall Chia spoke very confidently and proudly in this Free Agent Frenzy media availability. After the mistakes he has made in the past, I really had no idea what to expect as we approached this off season. He didn’t have much cap space to work with but overall I’m satisfied from what we saw from him during the draft and today.

How did you guys think Pete did today? Were you expecting more from him? Expecting less? Let me know in the comments.


  • oilersunited

    Do we know who the oilers were targeting for the trade chia mentioned in the media conference? And I wonder if it is still something they are considering? I am surprised no one asked a follow up on that comment

  • Spydyr

    Chia did what he could do after tying his own hands cap wise. The team does look better than last years team though. The players brought in are better than the players who left.

    • Spydyr

      Rieder is smaller not as defensively aware and does not have the complete game Pisani had. Still not a bad pick up, he should show up hungry with something to prove.

  • AlexTheOilersFanSince2006


    When does the season start? I want the ass-kicking to start…

    …TO THE OTHER 30 Team


  • Dr. Merkwurdigliebe

    Some good depth signings today. I think the Oilers will be a better team this year. Would like to see then sign another winger if possible. Thomas Vanek? Probably not.

  • puckle-head

    He did fine today, and well at the draft. His past mistakes, however, shouldn’t have afforded him the chance to be in charge on free agent or draft day.

  • Nugent-Bagkins93

    Chia is a leader and a top league GM. We need to remember he won the cup in Boston in 2011. Signing Gravel and Brodziak helps this team and trading Hall gives Mcdavid extra ice! We’ve got this guys!

    • Yakubag10

      The fact is is that people are quick to blame, and even quicker to forget that we all make mistakes. I remember myself, I accidently ordered an extra years worth of toner at work for the printer. Do I beat myself up? No, I recognize that in a year’s time, we will need that toner, and that will save someone that time of ordering more.

    • KPUZ

      Delusional comment. PC is joke and Boston brass knew it. He has made arguably the worst trades in NHL history, cannot manage a salary cap and is still managing a team like it is still 2011. I though the trading of Seguin was worst trade in history until his Hall trade. PC has signed bunch of journeymen and could rank only worse to NYI in terms of his activity. Where is offensive RHD? Where is, more importantly, Connor McDavid’s other winger?

    • Big Nuggets

      It’s true, but if you look at the details good players fell in his lap at the draft and we don’t yet know if he made the right choice. And he really didn’t have any options in free agency because of the cap situation he created. I like the signings he has made but they aren’t exactly earth shattering. Don’t forget we knew a cap crunch was coming when he signed Russell to that contract. I’m just glad he didn’t trade Klef for cap space(yet).

  • Goaltender Interference

    Other than the seemingly nonsensical Gryba buy-out I like what Chiarelli’s done this summer so far and am happy with the Brodziak and Rieder additions.

    But I was happy with the Jokkinen signing last year too – so after last year I really don’t know if I trust even my own judgement…

    I think what I really appreciate is that we haven’t seemed to make any major mistakes so far – like trading the tenth pick or making a major trade that worsens the team just for the sake of making a big trade. (Hello Flames.)

    Current mood: Cautiously optimistic.

    • oilerjed

      The gryba buy out makes sense if you buy into the human being element. Why waste a guys possible last chance to play in the NHL by burying him in the AHL. its a business, yes, but it is a business built on people. Chia bought himself some street cred with players around the league with that move imo.

    • Glencontrolurstik

      The Jokkinen signing was great. The coaches just didn’t know what to do with him. Check out what he did in Vancouver to end their season last year. I’d bet with Manny on the coaching staff, he’d be a great PTO in the fall?

  • Arfguy

    I think Chiarelli made some good moves with the cap space he has. I would still like to see him add one or two more young wingers. Given what McDavid has done for players like Draisaitl, RNH, Maroon and Rattie, I’m inclined to think a couple more low-budget, young wingers with leg speed could really give the Oilers much needed options on the wing.

    Yes, he made some major mistakes. I think he is trying to correct them. I’m not 100% confident that this team will make the playoffs, but I do think this team is looking better than the team from last year.