Photo Credit: Dave Sandford

Edmonton Oilers fire Peter Chiarelli

After a disastrous loss to the Detroit Red Wings made it three straight stinkers for the Oilers, ownership and upper management finally decided that it was time for a new direction. According to Ryan Rishaug, the Edmonton Oilers have fired Peter Chiarelli.

Can you remember the day when Peter Chiarelli was announced as the new General Manager and President of Hockey Operations? Do you remember how you felt? I remember thinking that the Oilers had just brought in a manager with experience and one that had won a Stanley Cup, and maybe, just maybe he could be the fresh set of eyes and ideas that the team needed to take the next step. Despite what I knew of his time in Boston, I remember being open to giving him a chance to succeed, thinking that there was no way he hadn’t learned from the mistakes that got him fired by the Bruins. Sure, I was nervous about the way he had traded Blake Wheeler and Tyler Seguin before they had really turned into anything yet and that those trades were disasters on his resume, but there was no way in hell that he’d be window-licking crazy enough to do that again. I don’t know if I’ve ever been so wrong.

Back in December, Jason Gregor wrote about Chiarelli’s work as GM and it seems fitting to revisit on the night he was fired.

On April 18th, 2015 the Edmonton Oilers organization won the 2015 draft lottery and, most importantly, the opportunity to draft Connor McDavid first overall.

Six days later Peter Chiarelli was hired and named President of Hockey Operations and General Manager. When he took the job Leon Draisaitl, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Oscar Klefbom, Darnell Nurse and McDavid (essentially) were part of the team.

Then the collarbone injury happened.

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Sometimes I wonder what would have happened if Connor McDavid’s now teammate, Brandon Manning (I still can’t believe that’s a real thing btw), hadn’t broken his collarbone, effectively ruining his rookie season. What could the Oilers have been like had their future captain been given more time in the lineup alongside Taylor Hall, Leon Draisaitl, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, and Jordan Eberle? Would it have been enough to prevent the atrocities that were to come? Could they have gotten over the “culture issues” and made something of themselves? Did you know that the whole gang only got 32 games together in 2015-16 before Peter Chiarelli got to work dismantling the group? Less than half of a season. That’s all it took for him to decide that the players that were here weren’t good enough to win. It’s almost unbelievable to think back on.

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Then again, we probably should have known better, shouldn’t we? On what was basically the most important day of his tenure as GM, Connor McDavid’s draft day, Peter Chiarelli ended up throwing a grenade at himself less than an hour after drafting the best player on the planet. After reading on a napkin on the flight into Edmonton that the Oilers needed help on defence, Peter Chiarelli pulled the trigger on a deal that sent the 16th and 33rd overall picks to the New York Islanders in exchange for Griffin Reinhart, a guy that’s currently playing in the AHL for the Golden Knights’ farm team. That trade was the first pinhole in the dinghy and one that we probably should have paid more attention to in hindsight. Had we not been blinded by the beauty of Connor McDavid in an Oilers jersey then maybe we could have done something sooner.

Dusty Nielson summed up that trade last week:

If a GM was ever going to be fired after making one trade this deal could have very much been the one. There aren’t many trades in the history of the National Hockey League where you immediately identify one team being fleeced, but this certainly fits the bill.

I don’t even care who the Oilers were or weren’t going to pick this was embarrassing from the beginning. I know everyone talks about Barzal but the real story is that the Oilers were also going to take Joel Eriksson Ek over the likes of Kyle Connor, Thomas Chabot and Brock Boeser.

To think that the Griffin Reinhart trade was only the first of many horrible deals to follow, it’s hard to believe that he was able to last this long without anyone wrestling the keys away. From Taylor Hall to Jordan Eberle to Ryan Strome to Ryan Spooner to Drake Caggiula and every trade in between, it’s hard to imagine a scenario at the OEG offices where they looked at the sell-low deals that were going on and approving of both the direction and results. Then again, Bob Nicholson told us that Pete had a plan he believed in so maybe destroying their chances to win anything was all part of the blueprint. Maybe those ‘Chiarelli is a double agent’ theories aren’t so crazy after all? Of course, I’m kidding (or am I?) but it’s definitely going take some time to try and figure out how he got so far away from the original objective.

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Back to Gregor:

Chiarelli has the most dynamic player in the NHL. He didn’t need to add big names to the roster he inherited, he just needed to revamp it, but he hasn’t come close to making the rest of the roster any better than the one his predecessor, Craig MacTavish, built. The sad part for Oilersnation is I don’t see a quick fix coming. Unless McDavid, Draisaitl and RNH manage to carry the team on their back for 40 games, and play at an even higher level than they currently are, this team isn’t making the playoffs and they simply don’t have the depth to compete if they do make the postseason.

This isn’t the players’ fault. The GM’s job is to build the roster and make the team competitive. The results are proof Chiarelli has failed.

By almost every measure possible, Peter Chiarelli has failed in his role as GM of the Edmonton Oilers so it’s no surprise that he got fired because he certainly deserved to be. The only problem is that the organization waited this long to do it and I hope that it’s not too late. I don’t know why they thought giving him the playoffs as a finish line while maintaining the authority to make personnel decisions was a good idea, but we just went through two months of pointless trades that actually cost the team assets and cap space without making them any better. Now they’re strapped with even more dead weight on the roster for the next guy to fix, and just who that might be is a bridge we haven’t even begun to cross yet. Tomorrow, we can argue about what comes next but for now, we say goodbye to the man who will, in my opinion, go down as one of the worst general managers in franchise history. Tonight, we welcome the beginning of a new era.

So long, Peter, we probably won’t miss you, though, we do hope you get a new GM job somewhere else very soon.

Source: Ryan Rishaug, Verified Account, 1/23/2018 – 12:00 am MT

    • Glencontrolurstik

      It would certainly be entertaining for the rest of the season…
      Some, might tune in to whats going on with the Oilers again actually.
      Not really a terrible idea n many levels, most of all media clicks. It is a business after all.

  • You just got LITT up!

    McDavid’s gone … book it! No way he puts up with / sticks around for this [email protected]! The next GM will need several years to clean up the mess Pete made. Connor will not waste several years of his career playing on a rebuilding / bottom feeder team.

    • Anton CP

      Oilers don’t have that many GMs in history though. If only counting the team entering the NHL that the Oilers have a total of 6 GMs, quite a short list tbh. I don’t think Chiarelli is really worst than MacT but Chiarelli is definitely a terrible trade negotiator.

  • MacT's Neglected Helmet

    Hard to imagine now, but most of us – myself included – were DAMN excited when Pete was hired. Here was a GM that was FINALLY not a Boys on the Bus. Here was a GM that, although far from perfect, had real history of actually making BOLD moves instead of just talking about them (hi MacT). Here was a GM who had some experience.

    Most of us didn’t even mind that much that we had to forfeit a 2nd round pick (!!!) for him.

    Sigh. Didn’t last long. The Griffin Reinhart trade was pretty bad and the Taylor Hall trade, even with the 2017 playoff run, was unforgiveable.

    • Anton CP

      I’m actually wondering, if Chiarelli just like every other former Oilers that somehow find successes elsewhere and build a contender with another franchise…what then?

        • Anton CP

          What record? Despite those New England whiners (New England fans are always whining even they have so many championships…) about the salary cap issues that they are still maintaining the core players that Chiarelli build for them. It is the question if Chiarelli was a terrible GM or he was actually handcuffed by OBC. So, if Chiarelli can find a successes on his next stop then the answer should be obvious but I guess that we have to wait and see.

  • Dwayne Roloson 35

    Why would any organization want this guy as their GM?

    I hope he never gets a job again u less it’s with Calgary. Would love to see Gaudreau get traded for someone who’s big and has a solid swagger/60.

  • blobbo

    The hot mess this guy left behind is unbelievable. What’s even more unbelievable is how long it has taken. Even if he was fired a month ago, there would have been less damage.

    They can hire the best GM ever and it will still be a minimum of two years before the team even resembles a team.

    Kill the season, send Puljujarvi and Yamamoto down and don’t even think of anymore trades. And don’t even think of bringing Bouchard up next year unless he’s absolutely ready. He will become Schultz the Second.

    Wow, am I glad to see Chiarelli gone.

  • Odanada

    The taint of failure has permeated the team and the front office.
    KL and MacT given plum positions for their failure? You’re naive if you don’t think KL CM & WG don’t have opinions that influence player decisions. The problem is these “wise elders” are wrong more times than right.
    I defy anyone here to objectively explain to me why Bobby Nicks should be kept on

  • polarcap

    Mr Nicholsen, PC is on you. Next one is on you. Mess it up the next one is you. So possible criteria in your search.
    Vision – You can’t be it if you can’t see it. The GM’s vision will signal to coaches, players where they fit in and fans.
    Communication – Manage expectations. Shultz, Petry, Eberle where run out of town because of bloated expectations. Under state expectations and over deliver.
    Succession – NHL GM’s are part of an old boys club. Having a GM who is respected in this club is important. This part should be paired with a techie who understand analytics, cap management and contract law
    Accessibility – the new GM should be accessible to the media sending signals of impending events
    Edmonton based – He needs to be part of the community
    Hockey sense – Shanahan, Yserman, Linden, et. al. where respected for their knowledge of what it takes to win. They did it on the ice and were respected by players and management

  • Derian Hatcher

    I hope at the availability some questions like these are asked:

    • Why did the executive wait so long to make this move when many would contend that there was ample evidence that this should have happened much earlier?

    • What would you response to those that say that it is the same people making the same decisions in the Oiler organization that have missed the playoffs 11 of the last 12 years?

    • Bob (nicks), it’s been reported that you will be taking a more active role in the hockey operations side of things. If so, could you outline what SPECIFIC qualifications do you have in talent evaluation, trades, development and cap management of and NHL hockey Club

    • There has been plan after plan after plan. It’s been reported that there were tickets available for $15 for last nights game. What will be done in the next 6 months to uplift fans confidence that things will turn around

    • Can you outline how the Koskinen extension, specifically the timing, was brought about, especially considering it was more than obvious that the GM was on very thin ice. More to the point, who made the decision on the timing, term and dollar amount for the contract. If it was a group decision, who are included in that group?

    Any of you suggest any other questions that should be asked? Not rude questions, not confrontational questions, but pointed, direct questions that deserve specific answers for the fans.

    • Anton CP

      I can give you a bs response from the ownership:

      “our staffs have faith in Mr. Chiarelli will be able to fix certain issues that we have from last season and bring us back into playoffs. It is with regret that ultimately we choose to part ways with Mr. Chiarelli due to the difference of philosophy of the team’s future progress. We wish Mr. Chiarelli luck on his future ventures.”

      “we can guaranteed you that our staffs have always working hard to deliever the best product on ice. With their knowledge and experiences in the hockey world that they are still able to provide their insights and expertise for a bright future.”

      “Mr. Katz offered me this prestigious position to oversee the entire OEG and I’m appreciate the trust of Mr. Katz given to me as the team will provide a great experience for all fans. It is unfortunate with many recent events that we missed a few good opportunities to advance further.:

      “we are ensuring that the entire OEG share the same frustrations of the team’s recent performances, however we are also promising the current and future staffs will always work hard on bring the Stanley Cup home once again.”

      “we have been talking to Mr. Chiarelli about the goaltending situation. We believed that extending Mr. Koskinen’s contract is the right choice. Koskinen has proven this season of his ability as a solid netminder and we believe that Koskinen will provide elite performances for the next three years.”

      You can ask as many questions as you want, but the answers will just be all over the place without getting into the point.

      • Derian Hatcher

        If that’s the case, it is up to those asking questions to press a little more. When players refuse to talk to the media, the media say that, by extension, the players are not talking to the fans as the media represent the fans in certain circumstances. Well, if that’s the case, I am confident that some in the media will press a little harder for non-canned responses as Gregor / Spec / Rishaug are more than aware of the frustration / anger of the fan base. A fan base that imo, has held up their end of the deal many times over. Just my opinion.

  • tkfisher

    I posted this about a week ago. It needs to be said once again:
    If instead of hiring our current GM, if we replaced MacT January 2015, with a google home speaker and simply used Bob Mckenzies Draft List each year, the following would have happened. This assumes zero trades and zero free agent signing since 2015 (aka a GM doing nothing). Nothing smart, just doing nothing.

    Draft 2015
    1st 1st
    1st 16th (Team D is zero so the speaker leans towards D)
    Barzal or Thomas Chabot D (Most likely)
    2nd (33rd)
    Daniel Sprong RW or Oliver Kylington D (Most Likely)

    Draft 2016
    1st (4th)
    Jesse Puljujarvi (no change)
    2nd (32nd)
    Alex Debrincat RW (Most Likely because BM draft rank shows great value, plus McDavid link) or Dennis Cholowski D

    1st (22nd)
    Kristian Vesalainen LW or Nicolas Hague LHD
    2nd (53rd Pick to Boston for PC)
    Jack Studnicka C or Josh Brook D

    1st (10th)
    Bouchard D (no change, great value from BM list)
    2nd (40th)
    Ryan McLeod C (no change, great value from BM list)

    Todays Roster

    RNH 6 – McDavid 12.5 – Eberle 6
    Hall 6 – Draisaitl 8.5 – Alex Debrincat 800k
    Benoit Pouliot 4- ? ? ?- Puljujarvi 925k
    M. Hendricks 700k – Khaira 675 – T. Pitlick 1
    Total 47.1 cap

    (assumes the google speaker would have done the obvious and not traded/let our only decent Dman leave mid 15, unlike MacT)

    Klefbom 4.16 – Jeff Petry 5.5
    Nurse 3.2 – Justin Schultz 5.5
    Oliver Kylington 730k – Thomas Chabot 863k
    Total 19.95 cap

    67.05 Used
    79.5 2018-2018 Cap Limit
    12.45 in CAP Space
    Need 3C (3 mill), a 13F (1 mill), 7D (1 mill) and goalie 1 (5 mill) , goalie 2 (2 mill) = (12 mill)
    Cap hit 79 million with 500k room

    Full Team, Cap Compliant and Good. All by doing literally nothing to the roster and using Bob McKenzies List and assuming no draft picks rounds 3-7 dating back to 2015 and all players current NHL salaries.
    Face Palm. What a debacle.

    Side Note lesser known draft picks current seasons:
    Vesalainen – 6’4” 207lb pt/gm in AHL and 12pts in 18 games (KHL). OR
    Hague 6’6” 215lb LHD playing great in AHL 17pt in 39 games plus 18.
    Jack Studnicka 6’2” 180lbs pt/GM in OHL and 5 pts in 5 AHL game stint OR
    Josh Brook 6’1” 192lbs 39pts/30 games RHD in WHL.

    Plus Bouchard and McLeod in the pipe.

  • So we are trusting the oilers to peters guy Keith. Well good luck to us i guess. Funny that the firing happened after jeremy roenick ripped the oilers on national tv in the united states. Seems that Katz is more concerned with what americans think about his team than what oiler fans think of this team. Congrats waynes brother on your deserved promotion. Here is to another rebuild thank OEG.

  • rivid

    Did anyone see what Jeremy Roenick had to say about the Oilers, very harsh but as truthful as you get. He nailed it. The owner and all his buddies should be ashamed of what the Oilers have become. Absolute embarrassment!


    Iv’e got that song, “Dancin’ in the streets in my head” lol. I hope the Oilers don’t rush into finding our new GM. As for Lucic, what about enticing Seattle to take him and offer up someone or a package not in our core as a bonus? Lucic lives in Vancouver so Seattle would be great for him and his family.

    • Ben918

      Yeah, I think you have something here. Lucic and a draft pick might be enough to entice them as they will need to meet the league floor with salary. He has some ability but it will be a tougher sell if we can’t get rid of Sekeras/Russel as we should have a decent defender left open for them.