Peter Chiarelli has come and gone. Peter Chiarelli has done his damage. Peter Chiarelli has left this organization in a very difficult position.
What if Peter Chiarelli never existed? What if Bob Nicholson came out in 2015 and said the following:
“We are not going to hire a General Manager and we are not going to make any trades. Instead, we are simply going to resign all of our own players to contracts and simply draft the best player available on Bob McKenzie’s Draft List at TSN.”
I’ve decided to take a look at what this roster would look like if Chiarelli never existed and nobody made a change to this roster over the past three years, eight months and 29 days. There are a couple of things you need to keep in mind.
- All players who were UNDER OILERS CONTROL will have remained under Oilers control. For this exercise, I will give all the players what their current cap hit is today.
- For all draft picks in the first two rounds I went with the BEST PLAYER AVAILABLE on Bob McKenzie’s final draft list.
Leon Draisaitl (8.5) – Connor McDavid (12.5) – Jordan Eberle (6)
Taylor Hall (6) – Matthew Barzal (0.863) – Jesse Puljujarvi (.925)
Benoit Pouliot (4) – Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (6) – Kristian Vesalainen (.894)
Anton Slepyshev (.808) – Jujhar Khaira (.675) – Tyler Pitlick (1)
Nail Yakupov (.875)
FORWARDS TOTAL CAP HIT: $49,040,000
Eberle: After a frustrating playoff appearance Eberle was shipped to the Islanders for Ryan Strome. You know the rest.
Hall: The biggest piece that Chiarelli moved out should have brought back more of a return than Larsson and his $6,000,000 cap hit looks like a steal in this non-Chiarelli lineup.
Barzal: We have been told the Oilers weren’t going to draft Barzal but by sticking to my criteria he was the best player available with the 16th overall pick in the 2015 draft. I know a number of people point out players like Sebastien Aho who they could have taken in the second round but by my best player available standards, they would have landed Paul Bittner.
Pouliot: He would have been in the final year of his $4,000,000 contract. He scored 13 goals with the Sabres last season and is currently a free agent.
Vesalainen: This big Finn would have been the best player selected with the Yamamoto pick. He started the year in North America with eight points in eight AHL contests and one point in five NHL games. Now he’s developing overseas with Jokerit.
Slepyshev: He has 11 goals in the KHL so far this season and it wouldn’t be the end of the world if he were on your 4th line in the NHL. He scored three playoff goals in 2017.
Pitlick: Pitlick managed to finally stay healthy last season and scored 14 goals in 80 games with the Stars. He has six in 43 games with Dallas this season. He left the Oilers as a group 6 UFA. He very much could have been controlled by Chiarelli.
Yakupov: He has 16 goals in 36 games with St. Petersburg this season. I’m using $875,00 as his salary because that was his final cap hit in the NHL but even if it was in the $3,000,000 range the Oilers could still fit him in.
Oscar Klefbom (4.167) – Justin Schultz (5.5)
Darnell Nurse (3.2) – Noah Dobson (.925)
Martin Marincin (.800) – Brandon Davidson (.65)
Libor Hajek (.72)
DEFENSEMAN TOTAL CAP HIT: $15,962,000
Schultz: Chiarelli retained half of his salary and traded him to Pittsburgh where he would win a Stanley Cup the following season.
Dobson: According to McKenzie’s rankings Dobson was actually the best player available at 10th overall this season. There may not be a lot separating Dobson and Bouchard when it’s all said and done.
Marincin: He’s now 26-years old and has actually played 9 games for the Leafs this season so he’d pretty much fit in just fine on the Oilers blueline.
Davidson: Now in the American Hockey League for the Blackhawks. I’m not sure where his game is at right now but I can confirm he’s an absolute beauty.
Hajek: Who the hell is this, right? Well he was the best player available on the McKenzie list when the Oilers drafted Tyler Benson. He was actually drafted by the Lightning and is a rookie in the AHL this season.
Laurent Brossoit (.650)
Ben Scrivens (lol) – Seriously, I’m not even sure what else they would have done here. I’m not sure if Skinner or Wells would have been the best player available at their draft position because I just didn’t feel like doing that deep of dive.
GOALTENDING TOTAL CAP HIT: $1,395,000
NOTHING > CHIARELLI:
So that’s what the Oilers would look like if they didn’t have a GM and just drafted off a list for the past four years. How much better is it than what Chiarelli has left them with right now?
The forward group is absolutely insane, the blue line leaves something to be desired but that’s how I’d describe the current group of defensemen anyway.
Brossoit between the pipes, basically by himself, would need to play as well with the Oilers as he is in Winnipeg this season.
What would be more attractive to the next general manager — the team Chiarelli has left behind or the group of players I’ve laid out above? Remember, the group above is coming in at a cap hit of $66,397,000 which means a new GM would have over $15,000,000 in cap space for upgrades this off-season, and that doesn’t take into account Pouliot’s $4,000,000 finally coming off the books.
So, in conclusion, the Oilers would have been better off having no general manager for the past four years than Peter Chiarelli. Is that a bad thing?