Keith Gretzky to remain as Oilers Assistant GM

Ken Holland has decided to keep Keith Gretzky on his staff. According to an official statement from the organization, Gretzky will revert back to his previous role as Assistant General Manager.

Gretzky was originally hired by the Oilers back in July of 2016 to be Peter Chiarelli’s Assistant General Manager. After many years of working with the Arizona Coyotes, Gretzky worked in the scouting department of the Bruins during Chiarelli’s tenure in Boston. When Chiarelli was fired midway through the 2018-19 season, Gretzky took over as the Interim General Manager, though the Oilers did employ a decision-making-by-committee approach during that time.

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Gretzky was reportedly a finalist for Edmonton’s vacant General Manager gig, though the organization ultimately opted to hire the experienced Ken Holland for the gig instead. Given how highly he was viewed by the organization during the GM hiring process, it isn’t overly surprising that the Oilers wanted him to remain with the club.

According to Jim Matheson, Gretzky will take over Craig MacTavish’s old gig looking after the Bakersfield Condors, which ultimately ties into his overarching role of handling amateur scouting. Matheson further suggests that Holland, who, like Gretzky, came up in management as a scout, will be grooming Gretzky for an eventual General Manager position.

I do believe that some amount of nepotism has played a role in Gretzky’s career, but there’s also merit to his work. Gretzky, whose work consists largely around scouting and the draft, deserves credit for smart selections like Dimitri Samorukov, Kirill Maksimov, and Ryan McLeod.

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  • TKB2677

    I know some fans will hate for the sake of hating but I don’t mind keeping Gretzky as an Assistant GM who’s focus is on the amateur side and the AHL. That’s his specialty.

  • BR

    Many will want as many old boys gone as possible. But at the end of the day Gretzky did a really good job in the brief time he was top dog in circumstances he was left with. And he’s done an excellent job of looking after the amateur scouting side up to now. He’s largely responsible for how good a prospect cupboard we now have and how good Bakersfield have been doing. Good to have someone who’s already done all the draft prep and has the inside knowledge as well. He and holland will make a good team.

    • Negative Nancy is back, that’s me, by the way. Bob Green should be long gone just for the Rienhart debacle, in other news Bob Nicholson gets a promotion and raise, so yet again failure is rewarded. If KH has autonomy, why does he need to report to someone who has proven over and over that they are clueless? K Gretzky I have no problem with, he has paid his dues and worked his way up, unlike the previous friends and family (no qualifications needed) regime.

      • Derian Hatcher

        I don’t disagree with your views on the Reinhart situation. The Oilers have been awful – no doubt, but going forward If you keep looking for ways that they will continue to disappoint, you will surely find some.

        Maybe Holland and Tippett will bring success? Maybe ? Hopefully ? Optimistically? Takes less energy – just sayin’

      • Oilers4477

        Yeah he did help influence the reinhart trade but look what he has done now. Jones, bear, samurkov, Maksimov, all these late round pics were on his watch. One mistake shouldn’t define a person and if he should keep his job or not. Give your head a shake and look at all the late round pics he has been responsible for that look like they will turn into nhl players.

  • jesse says yep

    @Cam Lewis
    “I do believe that some amount of nepotism has played a role in Gretzky’s career”
    That’s a crappy assumption to make. Keith has been in the hockey world since 1985 and worked for 7 years in junior hockey away from his brother. It may have got him hired as a QMJHL scout by Pheonix in the beginning but it looks to me like he had to work his way up from there. Ultimately being hired by the Bruins as a head Amateur scout and following Chia to the Oilers. At least give the man a bit of credit

    • YFC Prez

      Having that last name is almost impossible to work in hockey and not have had nepotism play a role. But for the last 7-8 years Gretzky has his own body of work to his credit. I don’t think the writer is trying to downplay that or even suggest he was rehired due to his name. He closes out the post by pointing out a part of gretzky’s solid work.

      • OilTastic

        I don’t believe Keith was kept because of his last name. As much as there is a bloodlust to rid our selves of all things OBC and their associates, we really should keep the people that have worked well here and Keith seems to be one of them.

  • Serious Gord

    I’m sure the passive aggressive brother Wayne would have been perfectly ok with his brother who he cultivated in AZ all those years wouldn’t have said anything to his buddy Katz had Holland fired him.

    The OBC still influences decisions in this org. And that isn’t going to stop until they are all gone.

  • KootenayDan

    Thank goodness I got some love from family and friends as I made my way in the working world, nepotism seems like an ugly word but that is also part of how some people get ahead in life. Seems to me Keith has earned his way and his track record shows that. Another good move with the new management.

    • Serious Gord

      And he did his brother a favour by hiring him after he fired immediately after the new owners took over in AZ.

      Chia and WG were friends in Hockey Canada. (I documented all of this a few months ago on this site).

      • Boba The Fett

        Seriously Gord, just go cheer for another team. Your negativity is so tiresome and overdone that I am starting to think you live in a dark basement by yourself and are never allowed to see the light of day.
        I honestly feel that even if the Oilers were to fire everyone you would come out and say something along the lines of “scorched earth is a terrible policy and they should have kept a few people around for familiarity” then if Keith were to go to another organization and succeed you would come out with “what a bad firing it was and that Holland should have known what he had in Keith and point to it being just another example of the Oilers getting rid of talent for nothing”

        Seriously just keep your mouth shut and allow us the pleasure of no longer hearing your negativity on every aspect of the organization.

  • The Rookie

    I’m good with Keith. Not sold on Green. True or not I will always equate Reinhart insider knowledge to green because of their obvious connection and a lack there of on PCs part. It’s only one example, but it’s a really bad one. That being said, I fully acknowledge that Green probably didn’t say that Griff was worth two high picks, but only 2 people no for sure. I will believe that at this point, Holland has done his due diligence on all the personnel that have either been let go or kept on, and he would then have ample reason to keep him.

    Go Oil.

    Please don’t suck.

  • OilCan2

    Awesome news. I just hope he read my post about grabbing the smooth skating Broberg with the first round pick. Dach or Cozens would be fine also. It’s the next rounds I am looking forward to based on his recent drafting.

  • Hemi

    With all of the questionable decisions this organization has made over the last decade, I think we have finally put that behind us. This was a good call by upper management.