Photo Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Doing nothing would have been better than following Chiarelli’s plan

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.

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  1. 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.
  2. For all draft picks in the first two rounds I went with the BEST PLAYER AVAILABLE on Bob McKenzie’s final draft list.


Dec 13, 2018; Winnipeg, Manitoba, CAN; Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid (97) look on during the first period against the Winnipeg Jets at Bell MTS Place. Mandatory Credit: James Carey Lauder-USA TODAY Sports


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)

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Nail Yakupov (.875)


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.

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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.


Mar 18, 2018; Tampa, FL, USA; Edmonton Oilers defenseman Oscar Klefbom (77) skates with the puck during the first period at Amalie Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Oscar Klefbom (4.167) – Justin Schultz (5.5)
Darnell Nurse (3.2) – Noah Dobson (.925)
Martin Marincin (.800) – Brandon Davidson (.65)

Libor Hajek (.72)


Schultz: Chiarelli retained half of his salary and traded him to Pittsburgh where he would win a Stanley Cup the following season.

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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.


Dec 9, 2017; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Edmonton Oilers goalie Laurent Brossoit (1) during the third period against Montreal Canadiens at Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports

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.



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?

Previously by Dustin Nielson:

    • gr8haluschak

      what a stupid comment, yes a guy who spends to the cap and spends lavishly on the team in all reality is the same as a guy who was notoriously cheap.

    • Alfonso

      How is it even possible for a team that had a twelve game losing streak like the Ducks to be ahead of the hapless Oil who had seven recent top seven picks including four first overalls … ?

    • Spaceman Spiff

      Oh honey, no, no, no. Great Bearded Jesus, no.

      If you’re comparing Katz to Harold Effing Ballard, then you are way too young to remember Harold Effing Ballard.

      Ballard was bat-crap-crazy.

      Ballard once fired Roger Neilson, mid-season. A few days later, when he realized he couldn’t find a coach to come work for him, he hired Neilson back. But … in a fit of lunacy, he actually planned to have Neilson walk out to the bench, before the game, with a PAPER BAG ON HIS HEAD and then, after some sort of fanfare, remove the bag to reveal the mystery coach. The plan was scuttled after Neilson refused, but it was touch-and-go right up until the pre-game warmup, legend has it.

      To sell more beer and pop, Ballard had the arena attendants turn up the heat at Maple Leaf Gardens during games and concerts. And, just in case that didn’t work, he had the concession stand vendors add extra salt to the popcorn.

      And that’s just the stuff that’s printable and shareable on a blogsite. Go Google him for his more crazy stuff.

      Katz just likes to hire and retain his heroes of the past. Ballard was BAT … CRAP … CRAZY.


    I agree to the most of this , he could have not traded any assets like pics and just signed UFA like sekera and been better off.
    They fast tracked it and messed up the plan and process.
    Keep Yamo pujv and jones in the farm. Bring Rattie back up for the top 6 and hopefully klef and sekera can help sooner than later ? Klefbom ready after Alstar break could be massive for us with 3 points out of a playoff spot.

  • RJ

    I think whoever does their pro evaluations also need to be shown the door. Anyone remember Nikitin? Brutal signing. I wasn’t an Eberle fan, but Eberle to Strome to the recently waived Spooner shows this weakness is still there.

  • KootenayDan

    I am not going to defend Chiarelli I wanted him held accountable too but GM’s across the league are not dictatorships they all rely on a support system. With that being said he is ultimatley responsible for the teams situation having the final say. The OBC is not going anywhere so let’s get over it already. I would like to see someone like Kelly McCrimmon get his shot and before you trash me do a little research on Kelly.

    • MrBung

      The Oilers are destroyed and maybe competitive next generation. What else to talk about except when Connor is getting traded, next season or the one after when he sees this rebuild will be a slow go.

  • Prairiechicken

    The more I think about this, the more I think “upper management” (Old boys) were heavily influencing Petes moves.
    We all thought they had their fingerprints all over the Griffen trade.
    And they admitted they were all over re-upping Miko.
    But I bet they were laying the screws into him this year to do whatever to get into the playoffs. Which resulted in them if nothing else, supporting the spooner / manning / petro trades. As ridiculous as Pete was … I don’t even think he would have pulled off those incredibly short sighted trades if they weren’t applying huge pressure to get into the playoffs this year, even if it meant giving up on the future (because of all the expiring luxury suites etc etc).
    This isn’t meant to absolve him of blame at all. But more to acknowledge that, as many are suggesting … until we clean house, i really can’t see much changing.

  • Gravis82

    This is a great article actually. Most teams actually do function this way, only making big moves when it is a clear win or they are in a cup year.

    With the 15mill they could sign starting goaltender and 2 Adam Larsons, one to play with Schultz and one to play with Klefbomb.

    This organization is arrogant. They think they know best and try to enact a plan. Instead, the best approach is to recognize that you simply cannot predict stuff like this and collect as many draft picks and good players as you can. Never trade, never FA unless you are 300% sure its going to work out.

    This is what Winnipeg does, they seem fine.

    • camdog

      Only way Justin Schultz stays in Edmonton is if they keep Petry to buffer him from heavy minutes. Not signing Jeff Petry was the downfall of the entire rebuild.

  • camdog

    Bob Green and Kevin Lowe are in print stating their love for Griffin Reinhart after the trade. They were talking like he was a nicer version of Pronger. It didn’t matter who the GM was, that trade was getting made regardless, because that’s what the Old Boys wanted Griffin badly.

  • Beut

    It does show that Bob Nicholson should probably step down as well. He hired Chiarelli and watched him damage the team and yet he still believed in his plan. All the while it was completely obvious what was happening to even the casual fan.

  • Kelly Youngblood

    All due respect to Hitchcock but maybe a coach closer to the player’s dad’s age instead of their Grampa’s age would be better fit for this team. It’s time for Hitch & the old boys club to retire down in Del Boca Vista. Hearing Mark Hunter’s name in the conversation is very exciting. I think he’d be a good candidate for sure.

  • Canoe Ride 27

    Watching the Condors win 6-2 right now. It’s refreshing to cheer for a team with defensemen that are on the same level or more competent than your opponent. Not saying that Bear or Jones are ready, but ahead of the opponent.

    • Rufio Barcoli

      This goofy @$$ reporter should not be allowed anywhere near the Oilers.
      He probably gets no respect from the players, management and probably even his peers.

      • Randomfan

        @Rufio: what was wrong with the article? He just stated the facts. English is not my first language and i had no problem comprehending the article. He clearly said the entire org is shyt..shyt as is stinky stuff you know..nothing wrong with being honest. It may not win you many friends but at the end of it all you will have inner peace.

      • MrBung

        He is goofy because he speaks the truth? Chia has destroyed this team and some people still living in fantasy land. The bucket of cold water will come when Connor wants to move to a contender. It will happen.

        “When Ray Shero was the general manager of the Pittsburgh Penguins, he used to say that having a once-in-a-generation player such as Sidney Crosby on the roster was more than a gift — it was a responsibility”

  • JimmyV1965

    In fairness, that defence is putrid. If Schultz, remained on the first pairing he’d be in a sanitorium by now. Dobson would still be in junior. There’s two NHL dmen on that list and third pairing PP specialist who simply had to leave Edmonton.

  • polarcap

    First GM move should be to suck it up and jettison the Lucic contract. Lucic’s woes have followed the teams. His play is not the main reason. He draws a lot of flack as is more than willing to take the responsibility for poor play. This allows other under performing players to fly under the radar.
    By moving Lucic, these players would have to stand up and take accountability for their play. The culture of the organization would soon change

  • polarcap

    McDavid’s challenge for players to step up is a good start. Each player needs to accept accountability for their actions. One of the potential moves in creating a culture of accountability is to move Lucic. the contract aside, he is one of the oilers that more than takes his share of responsibility. This shields other players.
    As his fortunes have tracked those of the oilers, He is in the media’s crosshairs as much for his contract as his performance. Good for him and the team if he found a team where he his contract is not an issue.

  • camdog

    The guys that didn’t know what they had when they had Jeff Petry have never been fired. Mactavish and Pro scouts are all still here. If you keep Petry and play him like a number 1 RD, you would have reduced Schultz’s minutes/salary and he might have succeeded here. There would have also been no need to make a bad trade for a d-man. I imagine they would have still traded for Reinhart because these supposed hockey people thought he’d be a top 20 d-man in this league, even though everybody that watched any of his pro games new he just couldn’t skate good enough.

    The people that didn’t think Jeff Petry was a top 4 d-man and Griffin Reinhart was going to be a top 20 d-man are still employed by the Edmonton Oilers. You bring back Petry and those draft picks and trade Taylor for somebody better or keep him, you have a pretty good hockey team. Reality is any other GM could have gotten Griffin for just the first. Snow’s ego wouldn’t let him trade him for just the second at the time.

  • Spiel

    You are forgetting analytics darling Mark Fayne in the do nothing lineup. He was still under contract when Chiarelli took over. Remember when he was lauded as a “smart” signing?