Peter Chiarelli declined a trade for Ryan McDonagh

Now that Peter Chiarelli has been relieved of his duties as general manager of the Edmonton Oilers, notes about his work are slowly starting to spill out. Elliotte Freidman mentioned in his 31 Thoughts article last week that Chiarelli was working on a blockbuster at the 2016 NHL draft that never came to be. A few days later, Larry Brooks confirmed what the rumour was.

According to Brooks, the Oilers and New York Rangers were working on a deal with the fourth-overall pick and defenceman Ryan McDonagh as the centrepieces. The Rangers would have selected the United States National Development Program standout Clayton Keller while the Oilers would have received the veteran defenceman they coveted. Brooks went on to say that there was more to the trade, but the pick and McDonagh were the focal points.

The Oilers would end up keeping their pick, which they used to select Jesse Puljujarvi after the Columbus Blue Jackets went off the board choosing Pierre-Luc Dubois with the third pick. A few days later, Chiarelli would pull the trigger on the infamous one-for-one deal — Taylor Hall for Adam Larsson. With Taylor Hall out of the picture, Chiarelli threw a seven-year deal worth $6 million annually at Milan Lucic. At the time, the narrative was the Oilers effectively dealt Hall for Larsson, Puljujarvi, and Lucic.

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Hindsight, of course, is 20:20, but this report further compounds the frustration with Chiarelli’s horrendous decisions and asset management. At the time, Puljujarvi, who had a historically-good World Junior showing, looked like a steal at No. 4 overall while McDonagh had just two years left on his deal worth $4,700,000. Still, it’s very puzzling to me that Chiarelli would be skeptical to give away a draft pick who could become a tantalizing talent in the NHL but then he went ahead and pulled the trigger on a deal that did send away a player who had proven to be exactly that.

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Another thing I find jarring to think about is what other deals other general managers approached Chiarelli with involving defencemen. Which deals before he went ahead and pulled the trigger on the one-for-one sat there that he didn’t execute that led to a trade that set the Oilers back years?

If Chiarelli had taken this deal with the Rangers, the Oilers could have Hall and McDonagh rather than Puljujarvi, Lucic, and Larsson. The jury is still out on the 20-year-old Puljujarvi, but it’s very easy to see which combination of players is superior. It’s shocking that somebody employed to run an NHL team couldn’t see that.

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  • Ratt McNuge

    Chiarelli was guilty of overthinking everything and overcompensating for what he percieved as the Oilers’ shortcomings. He was a complete disaster as a GM. He seemed to always be a step behind. It’s going to be a huge task to fix this mess he left us with.

  • Field Marshal

    Unsurprising. So EDM could potentially have had McDonagh for Puljujarvi and in that event, might have kept Hall because why trade him for a downgrade in Larsson…?

    Who am I kidding? We’re lucky Chiarelli didn’t trade the 4th-overall pick for a fringe NHL defender and 4th liner.

  • Oil9744

    Brutal…way to much of a gamble. Chiarelli had JP playing in the NHL right away and that was a mistake to say the least. He trusted a 29 year old Lucic to keep producing at a high level and that was another bad mistake. Taylor Hall was already a great player. They needed a RH Defencemen but not for that price. Hall and Mcdonaugh would look a lot better on this current Oilers team to say the least!! Good riddance Chiarelli. Hope you enjoyed screwing up your last job in the NHL.

  • RJ

    I think Chia was the worst GM the Oilers have had.

    But this trade raises questions. As Lowetide was fond of saying, the Oilers had a Leftorium on defence.

    At the time, they had a healthy Sekera, Klefbom, Nurse and others. Adding a veteran LHD who could play top pairing minutes would have been great. But it doesn’t address the then lack of depth at RHD that Larsson does.

    And while we can all appreciate that Matthews and Laine are studs, before the draft Puljujarvi was considered to be close to their equal. And he has size and is right-handed so he fit a big need.

    There are a ton of trades and moves that you don’t need to use hindsight to criticize him on.

    And as it relates to Hall, enough time has passed to appreciate some of his comments made since he was traded. He admitted he didn’t listen to his coaches. He didn’t take the off-season seriously enough. He needed the trade and fresh voices for his development. I still would have preferred him in Edmonton.

    • Anton CP

      Yep, you are right on point. McDonagh is a LHD so it won’t help for what the Oilers need at the time. If anything, the no deal for Hamilton is worst than this no deal.

  • Cowboy Bill

    No doubt Chiarelli should have gotten better than just Larsson for Hall . Hall still was perceived as some what of a cancer in the room . So possibly in desperation to be rid of Hall this knee jerk deal was made . They sure did need that RHD shut down guy in Larsson . But why not trade the Devils the 1st rounder for Larsson as was purposed for McDonaugh ? Anyway Chiarelli got fleeced . They got what they needed for a ridiculous cost .

  • jesse says yep

    I think it is telling that nowhere in this discussion was there any talk of Taylor Hall for McDonagh. Good return or not, Hall was not only sent away because of the Oilers need for a Defenseman. With what had already been rumoured and Ferences blunt comments paints a pretty clear picture of Taylor Hall as a teammate back then. Maybe he has grown up now but it was obvious that he wasn’t good for the Oilers while he was here. He put up points but was a negative in all other ways.

    • Gravis82

      “He put up points but was a negative in all other ways.” -you

      how do you know that? Maybe the negatives in other ways was the result of a team full of AHL players. No matter how amazing Hall as a Saint and person that team was going nowhere.

      Here is the thing, some people are not always great people, but still can be fantastic at their job. If you can simply deal with different personalities on the team, especially someone that is producing and dragging the team along when you yourself are adding nothing but being a nice guy, then you sir, are the problem.

      • jesse says yep

        But if a person isn’t a team player and wants to put himself above his team, as is reported in the case of Hall, then the talent a person has is not always the end all be all.

        • Gravis82

          I’m sure if the team was actually good, that wouldn’t have been a problem. When he was on the ice, they were a playoff team. Honestly our coaches and other lines were so bad back then that I honestly don’t blame him. He just committed to 6 years and management gave him terrible coaches and made ridiculous decisions.

  • Gravis82

    This was a pretty scathing article. I challenge you to write one like this on our next GM if they pull a similar deal before their is any hint they will be fired. We count on the bloggers to actually ask the hard questions because those in the media room cant or they will probably get their passes revoked.

  • Oiler Al

    A lot of the Oilers problems stem before Petey arrived on the scene.[that’s why guys like MacT,Green & Howson should be sent sailing.]
    I know hoindsight is 20/20, but there had to be better choices in the drafting in the 2010-2015 period in the rounds 2-6 .Ewanks, Musils,Simpsons,Pehhoben, etc were obvious terrible, hometown picks etc.,when guys like Parayko. Kucherov,Jonny Hockey, Saad, Shaw, Gallegher were picked in deep rounds. Surely they could have picked at least one of the above. Between picking garbage and trading picks away, they woke up one morning with zero list of prospects, at least on the forward lines. Paying for it until today.

    • kelvjn

      They didn’t have any forward prospect depth because they play whoever showing any potential in the NHL, until they fail. They also has an established pecking order that see their stars playing 20min a game floating and cherry pick for offensive opportunities, and everybody else is tasked to support the stars.

      How important is being able to float and cherry pick offense? Enough so Ryan Jones get 17 and 18 goals, in consecutive years. Was Jones really that good (even without that injury that cut short his top level career ) ?

      Based on the Scott Cullen’s numbers each team on average drafts and develops 2 good players(top 6 F or top 4 D) every 3 year. That is 2 in 21 picks. When you are picking top 5 every year at F they have more prospects with potential than there is cherry minutes to go around so the later high draft picks does not have as much opportunity to come along (Yak, Jussi, and to some extent the first year for Leon).

      It took a truely special talent in McDavid to displace Hall. Had Hall stayed his production likely dwindle because the cherriest minutes goes to McDavid.

      It’s not only drafting.

      Finding a 2nd line had been a problem since the Doug Weight days. Years ago they say it is because the team has no money, but now they are a cap ceiling team. Then they say it is drafting because they didn’t get anybody come along in 2nd to 7th round. Guess what? Now they have their consensus top 5 picks failing too.

      No, it is their system, or more specifically their star player dynamics within the team.

  • Jofa

    Sounds like it would have been the deal to make at the time, but let’s be honest, Chia’s track record shows he would have just found other equally lopsided trades and bad signings to cripple the roster…

  • Free Bird

    Conjecture. You’re assuming that if Chiarelli had traded the 4th overall for McDonagh that he wouldn’t have traded Hall for Larsson, but we can’t assume that. Bringing in an LD like McDonagh may not have prevented Chia from overpaying for an RD like Larsson.

    It was Jason Demers who was in play as a UFA at the time, so the groups of players to compare are Hall+Demers versus Lucic+Larsson.

  • KootenayDan

    I would assume there are numerous near trades that happen so why does this one get more relevance? Hindsight is easy Chiarelli took his shots and they didn’t work out. I am more concerned with the trades he did make Hall, Reinhart and Ebs. How much better would our record be if thoses trades did not happen? I look at the poor drafting record over many years that has hurt this team outside of the last 3 years which have been pretty good.

  • wiseguy

    If it had been consummated, ON would be screaming about how we traded the future for short term gain. Ryan Mc only had 2 years left on a heftier contract and would need much bigger $$$ to re-sign. Everyone was thrilled that Larsson was signed long term at a low $$. If next week the new gm comes in and trades our 1st for an older dman with 2 years left, would we think it is a great move or a desperation move to try to make the playoffs for 1 round? And this year’s pick is not even close in value to a 4th overall.

  • Goaltender Interference

    Chiarelli made a lot of bad mistakes as Oilers GM. This one would be orders of magnitude less than some of the others.

    There’s no smoke here.


    Definitely not a Chiarelli apologist, but it does say the trade “centered around” McDonagh for the 4th round pick. We do not know what else NYR may have been asking for to go along with the pick. I know it won’t matter to the PC haters, but we don’t necessarily have the full story.

  • Big Jacks Meat

    And the leafs improve and laugh , and we read Oilers Nation looking for relief.
    Hey Bob ! what have you really got to offer for a trade ? nothing. Thanks.

    I will be watching my RAMS before I watch my sad sack run pathetic Oilers other than a few, on Sunday. I hate you Oilers Mgmt., I really do , I love my team , my City and look what you have done. Nice job , seriously a beer league team of three could have done a better job and I am not kidding.

    Look in the mirror Bobby , Katz- you are a rich freak. Nice to be locked inside all the time I bet. you are pathetic. Give the team to Harrison , I am sure he cares more than you , you reclusive weirdo.

  • Bills Bills

    Are you trying to depress us?

    In all fairness I think Hall was marked for trade regardless. Also if Columbus doesn’t select Dubois, they probably make that trade. Remember during draft time, some actually had JP ahead of Liane.

    Easy to look back now and say should’ve could’ve would’ve.


    It’s good to know Chia is not the only moron. Toronto overpaid for a defensive turnover machine lolololol!! I watch most of Oilers and LA games and if it wasn’t for quickie bailing out Muzzin all the time their record would be even worse than it is now!!

    • The Leafs gave up a late-1st and two B prospects for a guy who is +3.8% Corsi Rel over his career on a team that for most of his career was the top in the league by that metric, and who is +26 EV goal differential over his career (and that’s with a totally average .916 on ice save percentage, so no, he isn’t being bailed out by goaltending).

      Muzzin is considerably better than Larrsen or McDonagh and the Leafs gave up way less to get him.

  • In order for Chiarelli’s decisions here to make any sense, he would have had to have believed that either Puljujarvi was likely to be better than Hall (ridiculous), Larrsen was better than McDonagh (ridiculous), or, most gallingly, both.

  • Darcy yaceyko

    Why bring this up now?!?!? Its depressing enough knowing how bad we suck without going through all of this. The Oilers will never be fixed get used to it. I still believe PC was here to destroy the team. Hockey espionage. Lol