With all the ongoing consternation over the Edmonton Oilers as we wind down another coulda-shoulda-woulda season, I was going to risk being called a water-carrier and a fart-catcher for the team by breaking things up and touching on a few of the silver-linings from another lost season today.
I’ll still get to that, but on the eve of Fan Appreciation Night with the Dallas Stars visiting Rogers Place, the juxtaposition between FAN and an item about Ryan Strome that highlights how badly fired GM Peter Chiarelli shat the sheets during his time here, and how difficult it’ll be to remove that stain from the managerial linen this off-season, is difficult to ignore.
Ryan Strome has tallied 15 goals with #NYR; his 15 goals are the most any NHL player acquired during the 2018-19 season has registered with his new team.
— NYR Stats & Info (@NYRStatsInfo) March 28, 2019
Watching Strome, who’d grown into a fit as a third-line centre here, shine with the New York Rangers after Chiarelli decided to deal him to Manhattan for Ryan Spooner serves as yet another kick in the pills for Oilers’ fans, who’ve been doubled over for far too long already. Strome was finding his niche here and he’s obviously moved on to do the same with the Rangers.
That bit of handiwork started with Chiarelli sending Jordan Eberle to the New York Islanders for Strome in a salary dump. It was a deal in which Chiarelli never did make use of the dollars he saved but that had a chance of at least working out OK because it seemed Strome was finally finding a fit here. But nooooooooooooo. Out goes Strome. In comes Spooner.
It’s yet another reason, as Jason Gregor and others have pointed out, why it’s unlikely Chiarelli will ever work as a GM in the NHL again. Maybe Chiarelli will get a job with old pal Doug Armstrong, who he has been hanging out with in St. Louis, but beyond that, I can’t see another big chair job in the cards for him, given the mess he made with the Oilers.
Let’s be real. On his own, Strome likely wasn’t going to be the difference between the Oilers making the playoffs and missing them yet again, but suggesting so falls far closer to the mark than the ridiculous foot-in-mouth moment made in reference toTobias Rieder a week or so ago by CEO Bob Nicholson, who is charged with finding Chiarelli’s replacement.
My guess is fans would happily trade tonight’s FAN for a promise, and action, from Nicholson he’s going to get the GM search – and an overhaul of a pro scouting staff that played a part in Chiarelli’s abysmal acquisition record – right this time. Skip the “Thank You” messages on the scoreboard and whatever else is planned and start with that.
THAT SILVER LINING . . .
- Like many of you, I had some pretty serious doubts that Andrej Sekera could return to anything approaching his former level of play after significant injuries – he had knee surgery and then tore his Achilles tendon – but he’s looked very good so far. I’m still not sure he gets back to being the player he was, but I’m happy to see him get the nod as the team’s nominee for the Masterton Trophy.
- The heater Leon Draisaitl has been on has been duly documented as he faces Dallas with 99 points. That’s not a number I expected at any point in his career, let along this early along. Yes, scoring in the NHL is up this season, but I never envisioned Draisaitl pushing for 50 goals and reaching 100 points. His transition from being a pass-first guy to more of a shooter has been fun to watch.
- In a season when over-achievers have been few and far between on a roster that lacks scoring depth, I’m not trading Ryan Nugent-Hopkins unless somebody offers me a hair-on-fire, run-to-the-registry overpay. With career highs in goals (28) and points (64), I don’t see anybody on the NHL roster or in the system replacing that production next year.
- Pending UFA Alex Chiasson has career highs in goals (21) and points (36). His previous season highs were 13 goals and 35 points. What are your numbers for salary and max term to re-sign him?