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.


  • Wesley41

    I can only speculate but,McCrimmon probably wanted to make sweeping changes in management and pro scouting and I think he didn’t get the answer he was looking for so I think we will be going through same crap for another 3-4 years and after Hunter or Burke,Gretzky,etc… gets fired maybe a smart businessman who is a billionaire might finally notice and take appropriate action to really fix this for real before it gets to the point of no return for the tier 1 fans,but I don’t have much faith anymore personally!

  • 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.

  • Twitch

    “We’re going to interview and consider many options” and we’re back to square one with the guy everyone said would be the front runner for the job months ago seemingly our only option behind leaving KG in the swivel chair. Starting to look more and more like the job description is sit here, answer calls, talk to the media and the OBC will take care of the rest while you take the missiles. No experienced or smart GM is going to take this job the way it looks, only someone looking to get the title and the pay and cut their teeth in the job like a Burke or Gretzky. Who even knows if Hunter wants the job 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.

      • CARLSOTO

        Yes, but the Oilers never got official approval to interview KM; the likely scenario was that Vegas was getting calls to interview KM for vacant GM roles, and rather than lose someone they value to a rival club they decided to hand the reigns to him and allow him to continue leading the franchise he helped establish. There’s also the fact that Nevada has zero income tax on personal income (as well as Texas, Florida, Washington and four other states). Even Canadian players would rather play for organizations in those states because they don’t lose 45% of their cheque to taxes

        • Reg Dunlop

          Not having to pay state tax doesn’t mean Uncle Sam doesn’t have his hand out. Players still take a 40% haircut even if they do save a little. But that’s a small price to pay for being able to carry a handgun and visit legal brothels. And, of course, not have to work for that strange little alleged sex offender in Edmonton.

          • CARLSOTO

            I’m not going to argue the minutia of accounting, but if it wasn’t a big deal they wouldn’t be talking about how small market tax haven teams have an unfair advantage over Canadian teams/teams that reside in a state with higher taxes when discussing what will be addressed with the new CBA.

  • FanBoy

    They’re having success in Vegas, he hand-picked the organization, and got the job he always wanted. It doesn’t matter if the Oilers wanted to interview him or not. He’s literally in the perfect position, why would he leave that. The speculation is non-sense.

    • Dallas Eakins Hair

      I dont believe McPhee wanted to lose McCrimmon and was willing to give him the GM title because he thought McCrimmon was an asset to have. McPhee knew it would be more than just the Oilers calling to see if he was available, Seattle would have had an interest, other teams would have an interest and he made a no brainer move to keep him in the fold.

      I would have loved to see McCrimmon take the Oilers GM job, but since he stayed with Vegas, Hunter is my next GM candidate I would like to have

  • Dapper Dan 3099

    If the only reason McCrimmon is out of the mix is because these buffoons did NOT want to give him complete control… then its very clear this franchise will NEVER get it right and is destined to continue this spiral in the toilet

  • TKB2677

    I understand that being an Oilers fan is hard. The team has sucked for so long. The organization has pissed away any faith the extremely dedicated and loyal fan base ever gave them. So I get that it’s really hard as a fan to not to be always angry and always assume the worst with this team. But when it comes to McCrimmon, try to put aside the anger and mistrust towards the team for a minute and ask yourself:

    Why would McCrimmon leave?

    Obviously his goal was to become an NHL GM. So your current team, the team that gave you your first NHL job, the team you helped build, a team that is successful right now and lifestyle wise, you get to live in Vegas, they come to you and say “You want to be a GM, you can be ours”. Why would you leave?

    Even if Katz himself called up McCrimmon and said, “I will personally fire anyone you want, including Nicholson. I don’t care who it is, I will fire them all tomorrow.” Why would you leave to do the same job in Edmonton? If I was McCrimmon, I wouldn’t leave. I get to do the job I want and live in Vegas over Edmonton. Seems like a no brainer to me. The Oilers have McDavid. Great, who cares. Look at this years playoffs. Does having top 5 players in the world mean anything? NOPE.

      • TKB2677

        It’s not even about the weather. It’s a factor but way down on the list. He got the job he wanted. Based on reports, they signed him to a new long term contract. So he probably got a nice, fat raise.
        My argument has nothing to do with the Oilers, or where in the world Edmonton is. My argument is based on being a person. If you are in a job, you like your job, you like who you work with and the only thing that would make it even better is if you got a promotion and a raise. If your employer gives you the promotion and the raise you want, why on earth would anyone leave?

        • CARLSOTO

          Exactly, there’s also no personal income tax in Nevada which obviously plays in to the decision to stay as well. People wonder why players like playing on small market teams like Tampa and Florida instead of coming to big market teams like Toronto or Montreal; if I pay you 6 million a year would you leave a state where you’re not taxed a dime to come to a country where you’re going to lose 45% of your paycheque to taxes?

    • Lol, in what dream world do you think Katz will fire his buddies? If he does not think they should have been canned by now, what has changed? Lord Of The Rings would have been fired after his tiered fans comments by any professional organization.

      • TKB2677

        I am not saying Katz will fire all his buddies. I doubt it happens but I am just trying to have a discussion like a logical person rather than a blinded by anger that most Oilers fans are. All I hear from people like yourself and lots of others is shot after shot about how the Oilers suck, their organization sucks,Old boys club, etc, etc. The same stuff over and over again. I understand the frustration man. I wan right with you.

        But I am not blinded by anger that I can’t look at it logically for a least 1 minute. Vegas just gave him the exact job he wanted with a brand new contract and probably a fat raise. So he literally has to do NOTHING and he gets exactly what he wanted. So why would he leave for Edmonton? I am trying to have an actual discussion about what Edmonton could offer him that Vegas didn’t without reading the same old “old boys club, Katz, blah, blah, blah.” I don’t for a second think that has ANYTHING to do with why he didn’t come. I see absolutely nothing that the Oilers could offer McCrimmon to get him to come. He literally just got the job he wanted which was to be an NHL GM. So if you have something to offer other than the usual “everything Oilers sucks” I would love to hear it.

        • Everything Oilers does suck. What reasons would you have for any optimism whatsoever? Do you really believe candidates are not scared away because of the complete JOKE of a management structure? Please give me even 1 reason for optimism that the DOD part 2 is about to begin. Not that it matters, if they are retained, I wont be on here next year, and you can be rest assured the 3 stooges and their band of idiots is going nowhere.

          • TKB2677

            I don’t have a reason to give you so go ahead and be negative. But my whole discussion is there is nothing the Oilers could have offered to get him to come. Even if the Oilers management wasn’t a complete joke, there is nothing the Oilers could offer McCrimmon to get him to come. He got the job he wanted and he doesn’t have to lift a finger to get it. That’s it. So if you can’t give me a reason why McCrimmon would leave other than repeat the same response which is the Oilers management is in bad shape, then the discussion is over.

        • Oil4Ever

          Thank you TKB!
          I was going to finally say something but you beat me to it.
          You aren’t a stupid person, you seem an astute fan. But aren’t you exhausted from the rage and depression you seem to be experiencing? I can’t remember the last time you posted a comment other than something about the OBC.
          I attended my first Oilers game in 1978 against the Birmingham Bulls in the WHA. I am a diehard, lifelong fanatic of this team. I am as pissed off as anyone about the state of my beloved Oilers, just like you and Oiler fans everywhere. We all know that the team management is a complete mess. But let’s try to look past that for now, and see what happens.
          I used to comment more often on here when it was still reasonably intelligent conversation and good humour. But the hate and vitriol this year has sucked a lot of the enjoyment out of it.
          Whomever the GM turns out to be, we all know what the Oilers need on the ice and can have a fun discussion about how to fix it.
          Anyone can be a fan when the team is winning.
          It takes a Fanatic to stick with them through the tough times.
          Lighten up Trainreck. Summer is coming, get out and enjoy it!

          • I would love to , too busy working paying taxes for all this global warming that does not exist. I had seats when they first came from the WHA. It gives me no pleasure to slur these guys, but it is what they deserve. If they gave a crap about anything but stroking their own egos and self preservation, they would do the right thing and step down for the good of the Franchise. That they will not even consider it, even though all the evidence points to to their own incompetence, shows just how inflated their egos are. Everybody forgetting the brilliant move that was to obtain Nikita Nikitan? Credit to Howson and Mac-T. “If you have to ask the question” remark that cost us an almost developed goalie who now reaps the benefits elsewhere. “Visually better” “Norris potential” . The list is endless. The right thing to do is skid them all, which is in ALL press clippings outside of the MSM in Edmonton. Retaining them just continues to damage the franchise, but they only care about themselves. There is nothing humorous at all with an owner who raped the taxpayers, and then fled town, all the while not upholding his obligations for the add ons to Rogers and the fictitious practice facility for the U of A Golden Bears that not only did the little weasel not build it, he has not even bought the land, and has 0 intentions of upholding his end. This fish is rotten from the head on down. Until they are gone I will stick with it and call for their dismissal.
            Nobody is obligated to read my posts, but when you believe in something, the message never changes until the desired change is made. The only way it will stop is with their well deserved dismissal or I get banned from ON.

          • Oil4Ever

            I give up Trainreck. I never told you to stop posting, I just wanted you to lighten up and post something other than an OBC rant. So you responded with another OBC rant, unbelievable lol.
            I could understand you repeating your OBC rants if no one agreed, but everyone does agree, so why keep repeating it?
            Come up with something more constructive is all I’m asking

    • Harry2

      I think Colorado is lovi g having MacKinnon right now, and STL with Tarasenko, and SJ with Couture. What exactly is your point? Every team left has super star tallent except for maybe NY

    • GK1980

      Agree accept the knock on Edmonton. I’m a strong patriotic canadian and I would pick living in Canada over the states anytime, any day no questions. Edmonton is a wonderful city to love and raise a family.

  • Name

    If I were Vegas, I would have not granted permission for Edmonton to meet with McCrommon if my plan was to promote from within.

    I doubt he even got the chance to say “No Thanks” to the Oilers.

    • Hemmercules

      Coffee is supposedly some kind of player development guy. Have never seen anything written about what he has actually done with the players. Mact is a pro scout and assistant GM. Howsen scout I believe. Lowe is some kind of president of something that doesn’t really have anything to do with the NHL team (likely a made up position where he doesn’t really do anything). WG is just here for some good times I believe, ambassador type thing.

      If Mact, Coffee and Howson all survive the purge it will quite obvious that nothing is going to change.

        • Hemmercules

          Man, I hope we are so wrong about what happens here in the next month. At least we wont have to wait much longer now. I will be shocked if any sort of house cleaning happens but I’m just praying Bobby and Katz are ready to let it happen. I’m still a little pissed that Bobby didn’t do away with a couple guys already.

          • Most clubs would clear the deck for a new GM. Instant suspicion that he is already an Oilers employee or another player from the eighties. Hate to tell you this, but I doubt you will be making the drive from Lethbridge to pay to watch the tire fire in person any time in the near future. They have tenure apparently, no matter how poor a job they do.

          • Hemmercules

            Ya the fact that Bobby didn’t do anything was a red flag. Its pretty obvious to anyone that knows anything about the NHL that the background guys share some of the blame with Chia. Cant even Imagine them hiring a new GM and keeping the entire staff they have now. Insanity. Just wait my friend, good times ahead. The universe has toyed with us long enough.

    • Howson, Director of player development, unmitigated disaster.
      Mac-T VP of hockey ops, but we are constantly reminded that he is not in hockey ops.
      Coffey, a free paycheck apparently.
      Wayne I think is just a figurehead/ambassador but could be wrong there.
      Lowe, blithering idiot blowhard in charge of the rest of the idiots .
      There are many more idiots, should I list them all?

  • Oil Vice

    If it’s down to Hunter, Gretzky or Burke then I’d be fine with Gretzky at this point. Hunter would be good too. But Burke doesn’t offer enough managerial experience for my liking for him to beat out the other candidates.

  • Datsyukian

    I think the OBC is pretty vulnerable these days, so if I was Hunter or any candidate for that matter, I would not challenge OBC now but once I am in place as a GM, I would just go ahead with my role, ignoring OBC’s advice. It’s not like they can do much about it, and definitely they cannot fire me for ‘disobedience’ because that would be a public relations catastrophe that even the dumb OBC guys will want to avoid.

  • D'oh-ilers

    Although it’s disappointing he chose to stay in Vegas, it’s good to see him get rewarded for his excellent work in building the Golden Knights into a legit cup contender out of the gates.

  • cityofchampions

    I doubh that McCrimmon ever got permission to speak with the Oilers. He had many options and Vegas saw this and decided to promote him themselves in order to keep him (the long-term deal takes out Seattle as an option too). So the conspiracy crowd saying McCrimmon asked for autonomy and didn’t get are technically wrong. However, if McCrimmon had interviewed, and did ask for autonomy, it is certainly not clear that he would have got it. My feeling is that the organization at a minimum wants to keep Keith Gretzky as Asst GM and MacT in a hockey ops role, and will retain Lowe and WG on the payroll for old time sakes. While Lowe and WG are not in the formal power structure, they do have access to Katz, MacT, KG and have a lot of informal power in that way. I think some of Howson and the pro scouts and the goalie coach might be sacrificed for appearances, and an analytics division will be launched, but until the power structure is clear there will be difficulty in attracting A-list candidates to Edmonton.

  • ifiwasgm

    So after all this speculation, now you know why he ain’t coming.

    I believe the current condition is not because of the OBC, I think Chiarelli was a nut case running on his big ego.
    I completely lost faith in him the day he made the dumbest trade in Oilers history in trading Hall for extremely low return.
    And anyone who approved of that trade should be fired.
    I remember when I wasn’t very popular calling out the Hall trade. You didn’t need hindsight to know that was a terrible trade.
    I personally think Chiarelli was the main reason for all the stupid signings and trades.
    I’m not in any way defending the OBC, I’m just tired of hearing how they are to blame.

    They WERE to blame before Chia was given full control, and I would also like to see Nicolson fired for letting Chia destroy the team before he finally fired fired him, including allowing him to sign a bad deal days before he was turfed.

    • Have to agree, I dont think Chia even knew who Griffin Rienhart was. If he had full control I think he would have fired those advisers after it backfired to the surprise of no one , except the group of fools who recommended it in the first place.

      • AlexTheOilersFanSince2006

        Chiarelli may have not known who Reinhart was, but MacT, Lowe, and Green did. Because where did Reinhart play in Junior? With the Edmonton Oil Kings of course.

  • camdog

    What everybody is missing is that Nicholson finally made a break through – they need to hire more than one guy. Nicholson went into this thinking he only needed one guy, he’s done a complete 180 in a matter of weeks. We will have to wait to see what happens when the wheel stops spinning, this should be interesting.

  • BR

    McGrimmon never even interviewed – EDM didn’t get permission from Vegas to speak to him. So it never even got to the point of if he was to get autonomy or not.

    • Odanada

      and what KLowe wants…. and MacT wants….. and the Wayner wants…. the list goes on and on and Pickles doesn’t have what it takes to make a real hire.