Oilers continue front office shuffle

The front office exodus continues. About a week after it was announced Craig MacTavish was leaving the organization to coach in the KHL, Duane Sutter, the organization’s Vice President of Player Personnel has been let go.

Duane Sutter joined the Oilers after his brother Darryl Sutter was fired as the general manager of the Flames. Prior to working with the Oilers, Duane worked on Darryl’s staff in Calgary as the Director of Player Personnel. He then spent five years as a pro scout before getting promoted to Vice President of Player Personnel.

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Per the Oilers website…

Duane Sutter, 58, enters his ninth season with the Oilers and third season as the Vice President of Player Personnel. Sutter was promoted to the position on July 2, 2016.

Sutter has over 29 years of hockey experience in coaching, scouting (amateur/professional) and player development. He also spent five seasons as a pro scout for the Oilers. Prior to joining the Oilers, he served as the Director of Player Personnel with the Calgary Flames. He was also the General Manager for the Abbotsford Heat in the American Hockey League (AHL) for their inaugural season in 2013-14. Sutter also served as the Head Western Canadian scout with the Chicago Blackhawks in 1992.

As Ryan Rishaug reports, Sutter was a big part of the Oilers pro scouting department. Given what we know about trades the team made, like Ryan Strome for Ryan Spooner and Drake Caggiula for Brandon Manning, the pro scouting department presumably hasn’t been doing a very good job.

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Jim Matheson also reports that Vice President of Player Development Scott Howson will likely remain on with the organization. That would leave Bill Scott, the Director of Salary Cap Management, Bob Green, the Director of Player Personnel, and Keith Gretzky, the Assistant General Manager, as front office staffers with their current roles in the air. We know Ken Holland wants to keep Gretzky in the mix, but we don’t know in what specific capacity that’ll be in.

      • fisherprice

        From what I understand the media guy has largely been responsible for keeping away any reporters or bloggers who might ask any actual hard questions of management. A large part of the reason information only gets fed to the yes men in the mainstream Edmonton papers and no one else. If that’s the case, good riddance to him too.

        • Spaceman Spiff

          If what you’re understanding is true, then that would be a reason to keep the media guy and not turf him. Media guys are there to help shape the message, not help foster criticism. The organization, right up until the executive, wouldn’t generally give much of a care to the bloggers. That’s why they don’t press passes.

          My guess is it has something to do with Bob Nicholson’s general awkwardness during media conferences. That awkwardness suggests improper coaching/preparation in advance of the events and that would fall on the media guys.

          • Derzie

            Cheers for supporting propaganda? Well run companies listen to the public. They don’t jump at every little thing but they certainly don’t filter the message to just what they want to hear. That’s what dying companies do.

        • Ass Eatn Szn 69

          Spaceman, that sounds a lot like Propaganda and not Media. Media is suppose to be free and uncensored, not controlled whether the message is good or bad

    • OilerForLife

      This firing was long overdue, and I don’t know how somebody who thought the Griffin Reinhart deal was good, could possibly keep their job for 3 minutes let alone 3 years. At the time Reinhart, couldn’t make Islanders and was a fringe player at best. Anybody who advised Chiarelli to sign Lucic for that term and money, should also be released. Scott Howson for sure had something to do with the Nikita Nikitin deal for sure, and needs to go as well.

      • Kool-Aid Man

        Well the goof has a pretty light workload compared to others, why wouldn’t he have the time come up with a hr. presentation to save his tail from getting fired.

        I would hope that Ken Holland will eventually see through these clowns facades.

  • TKB2677

    2 of the main guys on the pro side are now gone which makes sense to me. I would assume that some pro scouts will not return but you don’t hear a ton about the behind the scenes guys that often.

    I thought that Howson also needs to go just because he’s been there for so long. I guess it all depends on what he has been doing. In his bio it says he’s been the director of player development for the last 2 years. If that involves what’s been happening in Bakersfield which has been a lot better the last couple of years, then maybe he stays.

    Regardless, it seems some positive change is actually happening.

  • Dallas Eakins Hair

    Well its one more step in the right dirtection but there is still some house cleaning to go Howson and green should go along with Messier Chris Cichocki and then the Oilers need to figure out there scouting for overseas and whoever looks after their amateur scouting needs tostay on the job it’s one of the things they have done a fairly decent job.

    Why does Schwartz still have a job as goalie coache, please thewy should have been gone last season, The Oilers need a goalie coach with NHL; experience, give Burke an AGM and goalie coach title, he could get the goaltending turned around

    • TKB2677

      Doesn’t it make sense to hire a head coach first and let him pick is staff vs firing everyone before he gets there.

      I know people are mad at the Oilers and want the organization to be a barren waste land with no one left but people need to understand that’s not realistic nor practical.

    • oilfan4ever

      Trotz,Hitchcock,Babcock,Drake,Burns, Cooper and many others. Using your logic,none of these guys should have been coaches because the lacked NHL experience, Coaches are there to teach not to play.

    • SkatinginSand

      You do realize that four of the most respected NHL goalie coaches have a total of zero NHL games played, Francois Allaire, Benoit Allaire, Jim Corsi and Mitch Korn? A little research might help if you are trying to make an argument.

      • Dallas Eakins Hair

        So your telling us that since Schwartz took over from Chabot that the Oilers should just leave Schwartz to cut his teeth here and hope that the Oilers goalie issues will fix themselves or if they give Schwartz a few more years he will have things figured out by then?

        • SkatinginSand

          No I am telling you that playing in the NHL has nothing to do with the competence of a goalie coach. By the way, I once watched Chabot (who did play some NHL games) working with Dubnyk and Khabibulin and thought that it was one of the worst goalie skills sessions that I had ever seen. You cannot rate a goalie coach based on the goalie not being able to stop the bleeding of the dumpster fire in front of them. Look at Brossoit’s comments about playing behind Winnipeg rather than the Oilers.

  • Total Points

    More positive changes!!!
    Looking forward to the new coach hire and then I can be positive for the summer and opening of training camp.

    Hate always looking at the negative side of things when cheering for the Oilers

  • Synthesis

    JJ getting punted is interesting. He was very much a Bobby’s Burger Stand guy, to the point Bobby got him a Hockey Canada gig last summer. Hard to read much into it without all the details but evidently Bob couldn’t/didn’t protect him, and this, in and of itself is a significant change in previous organizational practice.

    Velly interesting.

    • Dallas Eakins Hair

      It might be a surprise but the Oilers communication with the fans and media hasnt been the best, Look at when McDavids injury happened and the minimal amount of information they let out and how speculation ran rampant because they didnt communicate updates and status of things better, all it did was get the rumour mill and speculation run amok. Same with Lucic injury, instead of getting in front of things when it started to circulate that Lucic was on crutches, they were radio silence, but they could have easily got in front of it. There has been the issues with player availability during the season that even the media talked about and who was and wasnt available to speak. Poor communication with the fans and media doesnt help, the Uncle Bob speaking to the fans and throwing Reider under the bus should have been gotten in front f right away instead of letting it blow up, but they waited and it was a bad idea rather than get Bob out front right away to apologize and get the fire contained before it got worse. Seemed like a nice enough guy I think the mis-steps just didnt help in the Oilers Media relations

    • To the point where Bobby got him a Hockey Canada gig last summer? J.J. Worked for Hockey Canada for three years, 2000-2003 before he ever joined the Oilers. He also worked the Olympics in Vancouver in 2010. J.J. wasn’t perfect, but he was more than qualified to work here and with Hockey Canada. He didn’t need protecting. Change is afoot and guys like Holland have people they want to bring into the fold at many levels, including media relations.

  • Ass Eatn Szn 69

    Good Riddance, one member of the biggest disgrace of a management team ever. 2 down, 2 to go.

    He should have to refund some of his salary to people who have bought tickets in the last 8 years.

  • Serious Gord

    Lots left to done – terminated.

    The head of pro Scouting probably shouldn’t be a former player. What’s needed is a well-trained (university-level) guy with strong management skills to OVERSEE the hockey scouts and analysts.