5 reasons the Leafs should hire Peter Chiarelli as their new GM

9 months ago
As we all know the Toronto Maple Leafs chose to move on from Kyle Dubas as their GM, and now that the search for a new boss is officially underway, I thought I would lend my services for helping them find their new man. Ladies and gentlemen, I present five reasons the Toronto Maple Leafs should hire Peter Chiarelli as their new GM.


Look, if the Leafs are actually going to trade one of their core members to try and switch up the culture then they’re going to need someone in place with the balls to do what needs to be done. They need someone that can stare a star player in the face, ignore their personal on-ice success, ignore the fact that these are rare commodities, and swap them out for lesser pieces that will set the franchise back years or worse. Peter Chiarelli is that someone. Not only does Pistol Pete have the stones to ship out a beloved star player — multiple times I should add — but he’ll take whatever he can get for that piece without necessarily shopping them around and taking the usual steps required for a move like this. No, friends, there’s no time for shopping when you’ve got a franchise to turn around, and that’s why I think Chiarelli’s quick decision making makes him the perfect fit to trade Auston Matthews to clear space for the leadership that Milan Lucic brings to the table. The Leafs need a man of action.


We all know that the Leafs haven’t won a Stanley Cup since 1967, and that’s why it’s crucial that they bring in someone that knows what it takes to get the job done. They need to make sure the next general manager they hire has a Cup ring he can flash around if anyone ever questions his judgement. They need a proven winner. Thankfully, Peter Chiarelli has a Stanley Cup ring from 2011 after Tim Thomas played out of his mind — he rocked a .938 save% in the post-season that year — and led the Bruins to victory. Sure, some folks may point out that Boston never would have won that Cup had it not been for Thomas and career years from a few different guys, but I think that’s all nonsense and patently false. The Boston Bruins won because of Peter Chiarelli’s vision and leadership.


A short while after Chiarelli got gassed here in Edmonton, he sat down with Bruce Garrioch to reflect on his time in Edmonton, what went wrong, and what he would have done differently if he could do it all over again. In case this interview has vanished from your memory, the money quote here is that he feels he was pushed around a little bit after the Oilers made the playoffs in 2017.
“I’m exposed to a different way of doing things and secondly you’re not driving the bus so it gives you a way to expand the breadth of your hockey curve. Then, you can look back, at what I did in Edmonton, and when you come out of the job and you’re fired, especially in a Canadian market, it’s a difficult exercise as I’ve found out. I really wasn’t exposed to that in Boston. There’s a negative narrative out there and you can’t really rebut on why you did things. The break has given me time to reflect on what I did in Edmonton: The good things, the bad things and the things I would do differently. You go in with a longer look and in this day and age it’s easy to stray from that longer look especially when you make the playoffs for the first time in 10 years and you win a round. I knew it was coming and I should have been more forceful in my position on where we were in the plan but it’s hard because you’ve got paying customers, an owner and people around you that feel you should take the next step.”
If there’s one thing I want in my general manager, it’s a guy that knows to point fingers at everyone else regardless of what you’ve personally done. I think it’s incredibly brave to blame the owner and the fans as two of the reasons he felt the need to make a run of bad trades. Sure, he could have looked in the mirror and owned up to the whole thing, but why take the blame on yourself when the damned fans are the ones that want to watch a winner.


Yeah, you could say that Kyle Dubas was young, hip, and loved spreadsheets like no other, but the thing he couldn’t do was grow a duster that projects power and manliness. Sure, Dubas could grow some nice stubble and it was pretty cute that he was joining in on the annual playoff tradition, but what the Leafs actually need is a man that can Magnum P.I. his way into their hearts and minds. The Leafs need a guy that can switch up his facial hair (and look) at a moment’s notice to try and turn the team’s juju around, and that’s the exact flavour of adaptability that you get with Pistol Pete. Style and rugged manliness, that’s what it’s all about my friends.


There’s little doubt that the Toronto Maple Leafs are a talented team with plenty of firepower, but it’s also fair to suggest that they’re far from perfect. Led by an array of top-end talent that can produce (regular season) offence en masse, many folks think the Leafs are missing some key pieces on team friendly deals that can help them win now and in the future. With Peter Chiarelli, however, conventional wisdom is meaningless and I think that bodes well for the Leaves. Yeah, you could say that drafting and developing players is an important to-do for any organization, but I would argue that this plan takes way too long and the best approach would actually be to trade your first round picks and depth players for mediocre guys that may or may not ever contribute at the NHL level.
Yeah, you could say that the Oilers would be better off if Chiarelli hadn’t traded for Griffin Reinhart and had instead used that first round pick to select Mathew Barzal, but I strongly disagree because we all know how strapped for cash the Oilers are and were in the years that followed, meaning they wouldn’t have been able to afford him anyway. Personally, I admire a guy that passes up the chance to draft a low-key star in favour of trading for a defenceman that only played 30 games with the Oilers. Frankly, it’s smart asset management to bring in a guy that can’t play on your team because then you get to save the money you’d have needed to pay him. Same goes with Strome for Spooner. Yeah, it would have been nice if Edmonton had kept Strome through his struggles and shored up their depth at centre, but I will also admit that it was pretty damned sweet to have Ryan Spooner’s stink lingering around just long enough to get Sam Gagner back from the Vancouver Canucks. That’s just good asset management, friends.


The Leafs have already tried a new-school guy with plenty of knowledge of how Excel works, but they haven’t had a GM with as much experience as Chiarelli since Lou left. Not to mention, Peter Chiarelli went to Harvard. Did you know he went to Harvard, Toronto? DID YOU KNOW THAT?! Sign the man. The rest of the NHL… ugh… I mean, you won’t regret it. I promise.

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