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WWYDW: Making a GM change

Todd McLellan took the fall for Peter Chiarelli earlier this week. Don’t get me wrong, McLellan wasn’t without fault — his line blending made it difficult for the team to find chemistry and stability and he failed to help some prospects take the next step — but it’s fair to say he was set up for failure with this flawed roster Chiarelli assembled.

When Chiarelli spoke after firing McLellan on Monday, he looked like a man sitting on the hot seat. The pitchforks have come out, not just in Edmonton, but nationally as well. Elliotte Freidman pointed out that Chiarelli seemed more stressed than usual on Sportsnet’s telecast of the Oilers and Sharks game earlier this week. Darren Dreger offered a take in regards to Chiarelli’s odd comment about the blueline he assembled not having any good passers. Michael Trakios suggested Chiarelli is the one who should have been fired. Even Terry Jones took a stab at Chiarelli’s work.

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That brings us to this week’s What Would You Do Wednesday (THURSDAY EDITION) question. First, do you think Chiarelli should be let go? Second, if so, who should replace him? And finally, when should it happen? Do you give Chiarelli another chance to salvage this roster and the season at the trade deadline? Or is him making desperation trades too risky for the future of the roster?

Oct 19, 2017; Ottawa, Ontario, CAN; New Jersey Devils left wing Taylor Hall (9) skates with the puck in the second period against the Ottawa Senators at Canadian Tire Centre. Mandatory Credit: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports

1. I don’t think I need to dive too far into why Chiarelli would be on the hot seat. He inherited a roster loaded with assets and has managed to bleed many of them all while creating a roster still loaded with flaws. Jordan Eberle, Taylor Hall, and draft picks have been dealt and the blueline is still mediocre and the team now lacks talent on the wings. That said, he’s also helped replenish a very weak farm with some solid drafting.

2.  Who would the replacement be is a question I see frequently in defence of Chiarelli. We went through a long period of time with the old boys club running the show and we finally got an outside perspective. Is there someone better out there? How about Vegas’ assistant general manager Kelly McCrimmon who helped build an insanely successful expansion team? Bill Guerin, the Penguins’ assistant GM, is a familiar face who seems in line for a promotion. Mark Hunter, the prospect guru of the London Knights, got passed over for GM of the Leafs when they went with young whiz Kyle Dubas. There are also veterans Dean Lombardi and Chuck Fletcher who were recently let go from their jobs. You also can’t rule out Keith Gretzky, the current assistant GM. Could Hitchcock grow into a coach/GM role? Pierre McGuire legitimately almost got hired for the Penguins GM role in 2014. Could you imagine?

3. Do we trust Chiarelli to make moves at this point? We’ve seen the deals he’s made in the past, now what would he do while desperate? Also, if you’re going to pull the trigger on a GM change, would you want to it well before the draft and free agency period to give the new guy an opportunity to figure out the roster? Maybe Chiarelli gets the Kevin Lowe treatment and remains President of Hockey Operations and a new day-to-day general manager comes into the mix. Like I said before, there are things Chiarelli has done well.

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What say you Nation? Time for a new GM? Who should it be? When would it happen? 

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  • GK1980

    Chia traded away kings and aces and received jacks and 10’s. Not good enough. The damage he has done may take another 5 years to repair. This is the worst part about the clubs current situation. NOT THE COACH. Anyone here from Todd lately anyways? Any parting interview or something?

  • Simmerdown

    1. I don’t think I need to dive too far into why Chiarelli would be on the hot seat. He inherited a roster loaded with assets and has managed to bleed many of them all while creating a roster still loaded with flaws. Jordan Eberle, Taylor Hall, and draft picks have been dealt and the blueline is still mediocre and the team now lacks talent on the wings. That said, he’s also helped replenish a very weak farm with some solid drafting.

    This comment alone is an example of his professional ceiling. He is, at best, director of amateur scouting. No way he should be anywhere near NHL talent evaluations

  • Fireball

    Everyone needs to calm down. Here are a few things that are as close to law as it gets for Hockey teams.

    – A large percentage of coaches fired never deserved to be fired. Its usually a case of the players tune out the coach or the GM / Upper management never gave them the pieces to succeed. The Odd time its the actual X’s n O’s or a coaches inability to adjust.

    • Fireball

      – The GM almost always fires the coach regardless of who’s at fault to try’in get the team back on track. AKA trying to save himself.

      – Sometimes it works. A very good example is the Pens. I remind everyone according to most fans & media that They supposedly Had a aging goalie past his prime, No real guys bellow him in the system to push, Cap problems, The defense had been depleted and no one on the roster or in the pipeline to fix the problems. Even healthy the defense was considered not good enough. No true number one & failing supporting cast. Crosby may have been on the downward spiral due to past injuries. Malkin was getting old and looked to have lost a step. Millions in the Cheeseburger man on the third line. No help in the pipe line from trading away all the top picks to try’in get back in it or loading up for playoffs. They Changed the Coach and all of sudden they win back to back cups & were the biggest odds for winning a third in a row of any team since the 80’s. Everyone talked like none of that was ever a issue.The Best team in the modern day.. They Changed Very very little other than the coach. It was all there just needed a different person to head it. ( pretty sure the coach was also fired half way through the year when Crosby won his first Cup as well )

      – When a GM is fired the coach is almost always fire as well. As new GM’s ideally want there own guys in place.

      – New GM’s generally want there own imprint on the team as far as the roster is concerned. So a mini rebuild is more common then not.

      • Fireball

        – Most fans rarely want to start from scratch & watch a whole new evaluation period. Coaches fired Players traded or to be told its a new 5 year plan.

        – So that said most fans actually do not want what comes with a GM being fired. Even if they think hes responsible and love bashing him. They really want to see the team Win. The chances of that happening sooner is a coaching change. New look. New slate. Kick in the ^&*( to the Players. Hail Merry for the GM. But maybe its just delaying the what really needs to happen if it do not work.

  • OilCan2

    Katz owns the Oilers. Any success or failure ultimately resides with him. He has won at the bank and lost in the NHL standings. As far as trades and free agents go the Oilers have lost BIG TIME over the past three years. Sekera and Looch gave us one great year and are now a $10M anchor. Hall & Ebs? enough said. The only roster wins are the draft picks. Chiarelli is just part of the team. If that team is smart they build from within going forward.

  • Sparky Blue

    CHia can go right now. Don’t hire another ex oiler like Gurein or Hunter. As to Hitch not being a GM before, Bill Gates never made a computer before he started Microsoft and that seems to have worked out ok.

  • bcoil

    I believe you have to wait and see if Hitch can do a better job of turning this group of talent into a winning combination .I am not convinced that Todd had not lost the team with his very questionable moves and use of talent .. If Hitch can take this team to the playoffs then I think is fair to say maybe we where wrong about Peter and also wrong to over value Todd.

  • Dallas Eakins Hair

    The Problem I have is that Kevin Lowe and Craig MacTavish still have a seat at the table, and I believe both still have a way bigger say at what goes on behind the scenes, then most Oilers fans are led to believe.

    Like when Chia wanted to fire TM, I dont think it WAS Chia’s decision alone to make, I dont think he had to just ask Nicholson, I think he had to ask Lowe and Mac T… but especially Lowe before he could pull the trigger.

    The Problem is There is too much Influence from Lowe and MacT into the Hockey decisions from the staff off the ice to the coaching staff to the players and that is the problem, it always has been, its been handcuffing this organization for years and still is. if Katz watz watz them to be partz of OEG fine, be part of the rel estate group or the entertainment group but not the hockey group at least not at the nhl level, those two involved at the nhl level and we will be stuck in futility

    • camdog

      When a failed GM remains in the organisation it handicaps the next GM. Sure it was Tambelini’s team, but all of the other named hires were made by Kevin Lowe. Sure it’s PC’s team, but does he even have the ability to hire and fire the coaches? If you have to answer the questions you know the answer.

  • OldOilFan

    Hitch has his heart in this Oil rig job…

    The above is “why” HE will make a bigger difference than you might otherwise expect from a new coach brought onto to sinking ship 20 miles offshore – figuratively speaking.

    He’s NOT in this to do any of the following:
    1. make money
    2. earn an extension
    3. become next GM

    He’s only in this for HEART. I kinda like it, personally. He brings a lot to admire and he’s gonna work his ass off to make the team [such as it is] better than it was before he got here.

    • OldOilFan

      RE: making a GM change…
      It’s not an issue at the moment. Wouldn’t make any difference at this time. In summer, ya, maybe. Probably wouldn’t hurt matters, going forward from July 2019

  • CalOil

    People love Eberle legend. The Hall, Eberle years were brutal, remember all those jerseys thrown on the ice. PC was hired to move those players and start again. 10 years of weak draft to develop. TMac blender and stretch pass out of our end was the reason he was fired. We were viewed as a slow team, because the break out system has 4 player standing still. TMAc was losing Puljujarvi and Yamamoto and that should be unacceptable to everyone on this page.

    • OldOilFan

      I agree about JP and Yammo. They are “unproven” yes, but they are fast and very skilled. Meanwhile, RW is a black hole – so “What’s to lose?” I say bring at least 1 of them back soon. The future is now. Plus, Hitch won’t bench them. Hitch will “coach” them [on how to get better now, not next year].

  • SnowMan8

    At this point I would say simply making the playoffs will not save chia his job. There will have to be playoff success. What a difference a week makes went from ”Im not worried” interviews to being visibly stressed and uncomfortable. I personally wanted chia gone after the hall trade. my blood still boils over that one.We get larsson compared to the ransom some of these teams ask for and get, for players close halls caliber. there have been huge red flags with chia that i know everyone saw but after all the changes in recent years thought more stability would help. Obviously that was a huge mistake!

    • IRONman

      Hire k Gretzky for GM. Good scout. Bring in a winger for Nuge that can score goals. Let Puljujarvi develope. Yamo is Yak 2.0. I wish him all the luck in the world.

      • OldOilFan

        Yam will become more like Paul Kariya than like Nail Yakupov.

        KY was a solid first round pick. He WILL become a regular soon – and the sky’s the limit. I mean, the league is going his way: small, fast, skilled. Plus, the kid’s no wallflower. I think he didn’t do better (in his short stints with the Oilers) mostly because he was too shy about hogging the puck. He will adjust and the Oilers will benefit.

  • OilersGM

    Oilers acquire Wideman from Ottawa for a 6th rd pick. I think he is a upgrade on Benning as a 6th D, can pass and QB the 2nd unit PP. this will put Benning either in the press box or in the minors.

  • Johnny Zylon

    I am not a huge fan of PC but what happens if the Oilers get hot and win a lot of games under Hitch then make a deep run into the playoffs? Does everybody still want PC fired? Sure we all believe he could have done better trading Eberle and Hall but Hall even admitted he didn’t Always pay attention to the coach and Eberle was soft. I’m happy they are both gone. Should have got a first rounder as well as Larsson for Hall though. That was brutal.

  • CMG30

    Fire Chirelli! He traded prime assets to fill holes, which might have been OK except the pieces he brought in didn’t fill those holes and he also never fill the holes he created by trading those pieces. Asset management-wise, he gave up tremendous value in extremely lopsided fashion and somehow believed that this was a smart thing to do. On the flip side, he seems unable to manage the cap. We are loaded with players being paid far and above what they’re worth with NTC’s thrown in to boot! If that’s not enough, he’s made a few ill advised buyouts as well. Then there’s the whole issue of his ability to evaluate NHL talent. Think the Reinhart trade or the expectations for Strome…

    In short:
    1. He’s failed to find good players to build a team with.
    2. He’s failed to extract value from the assets he’s moved.
    3. He’s failed to manage the cap.
    4. He fails at evaluating talent on the ice.

    Basically he’s failed in all aspects of the job.

    The one area of the club that is starting to show improvement is depth down on the farm. Considering Chirelli’s long track record of being unable to recognize hockey talent and the fact that this only started improving once Keith G came on board I feel that this area is due mostly to Keith G.

    Who to replace Chirelli with? I really don’t care. They can’t do worse.

    • Kneedroptalbot

      Just for the record, Chia confirmed in his comments.
      The Braintrust (read Red Whine Summit), yeah it’s Whine not Wine….
      still make all the decisions around here.