Kelly McCrimmon out as possible Oilers GM

According to TSN’s Bob McKenzie, Kelly McCrimmon is out as the next Edmonton Oilers GM and will remain with the Vegas Golden Knights. Another one bites the dust. Figs.

For those of you like myself that were hoping for Kelly McCrimmon to take the GM’s seat in Edmonton, I’m sorry to bring you such disappointing news on a snowy Thursday morning. Many considered McCrimmon to be an excellent option for the job based on his work with the Golden Knights seeing as they navigated the expansion draft with ease and turned it into a Stanley Cup Finals appearance in their inaugural season. But as we’ve learned many times over the years, it was by no means a done deal that he would want to come to Edmonton. He’s got a pretty good gig in Vegas and there were rumblings that he wanted full control if he took the gig, something that would be hard to expect with the OBC scenario here in Edmonton.

Yesterday at Sportsnet, Elliotte Friedman wrote about McCrimmon in 31 Thoughts:

As I write this, Vegas has not yet granted official permission for Edmonton to meet with McCrimmon, although an answer is expected at some point this week. He is, however, expected to ask for autonomy, and it will be interesting to see how the Oilers respond to that. The list of those interviewed for the Oilers job is believed to include Sean Burke, John Ferguson, Mike Futa, Ross Mahoney, Scott Mellanby and Pat Verbeek. Mike Gillis had a phone interview, but nothing in-person. If Holland and/or McCrimmon do not interview, will someone from this group re-enter the picture? It sure sounds like the organization wants someone in place in the next week-to-10 days. They are delaying scouting meetings until the new leader is hired, which makes sense.

If McCrimmon asked Nicholson for autonomy to make the choices he wanted in the organization and Nicholson denied him then there’s a real issue — that we all know. But if McCrimmon didn’t even bother to take an interview with the Oilers in the first place, something that’s entirely possible considering Vegas hadn’t even granted permission to the Oilers to speak to him as of yesterday, then we could be in much worse shape than I thought. Maybe McCrimmon sat back, looked at the situation in Edmonton, and decided that this organization was not for him and that interviewing with them beyond kicking tires or being polite was not in his best interest. Regardless of what actually happened, it’s not a great look for the Oilers that qualified candidates seemingly want no part of the job.

So what happens now? Darren Dreger followed up with a guess:

With McCrimmon off the list, it seems like the names left are Mark Hunter, Sean Burke, and Keith Gretzky. Could Dreger’s idea of a plateaued management team include all three? Would that even be a good idea? All I know for sure is that this morning’s news likely raises more questions than answers.


  • Hemmercules

    Why are you surprised that there are guys that want nothing to do with the job? I assumed half of the guys they wanted would polite decline without an interview at all. The GM position in Edmonton is either career suicide or ultimate glory, nothing in between. So far it’s been career suicide for all who have tried. When you have the OBC above you and anchor contracts like Lucic not even McDavid is enough to entice people anymore.

  • Spaceman Spiff

    So much speculation in this article.I get that the knee-jerk reaction on this website is to err on the side of OBC meddling, but I don’t think it’s really fair to the organization, to McCrimmon, or to Vegas to try to guess why he’s not in the running.

    And here’s the thing: What if the Oilers had a look and decided he wasn’t as qualified as the others? Remember, all McKenzie is said was that he “was not in the mix” anymore. Yeah, that could mean that McCrimmon backed out, or that Vegas shut the door … or it could mean that the Oilers backed out.

    That’s the thing about McCrimmon – was he really the No. 1 candidate? He was the assistant-GM on the most successful expansion team ever. That’s one way to look at it. But another way to look at is he was the second-fiddle on an expansion team assembled with the most charitable, most-friendly, most-generous expansion rules ever provided to a new NHL team. In the 1990s, expansion teams got the dregs… and they usually had to fight over the dregs because there was more than expansion team that came in. Vegas came in by themselves and got their pick of third-liners (and some second-liners). They obviously picked the right ones, yes, but again, is that enough time in the trenches? And in the playoffs, the Golden Knights looked exactly like a team of third-liners this year.

    We’re not asking our new GM to assemble a team from castoffs. We can’t lure free agents here with bright sun, hot sand and five-dollar lobster. We’re not starting from zero here. We have specific issues to deal with. We have strengths and number of weaknesses.

    We have Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl and RNH. We have a bunch of really good young defencemen. The amateur scouting side is fine.

    We need a GM who can win trades. We need a GM who can get us out of cap hell. We need experience. Fast. I wasn’t ever fully convinced that was McCrimmon. And if he decided that it wasn’t him, all’s the better.

    • Twitch

      You are %100 currect but of the other options available Hunter was passed over by Dubas in Toronto, Burke has zero NHL GM experience and minimal assistant GM/international GM experience and Gretzky really came out of nowhere to be *a better option than Howson or Chiarelli* as GM. McCrimmon at least had experience helping build a franchise and he didn’t get the luxury of a McDavid or Draisaitl when they did it. Was he the best available I think so and with Nicholson’s comments it looks like full autonomy is impossible so I think it was a mutual passing and whoever gets it has to deal with the OBC more than they have to deal with the day to day of running an NHL franchise.

    • Wesley41

      Well unless you believe Rod Pederson,none of the candidates have experience and all were assistant GM’s.It doesn’t matter what the rules are in anything if you don’t research and pick the right people or players for your desired needs.That requires knowledge in pro scouting and how the game is or has changed,plus you need to have a balance of eye test and analytics but certain people don’t like or trust the numbers so they don’t even try in that area. Does it need to be said how the Oilers performance in those areas have been way before Chiarelli was here so sorry can’t just pass the buck to him alone.The same 3-4 individuals are still around in that particular area I’m not even counting Lowe but we know who they are,and if they are a package deal to stay,well different face same old same old.