Peter Chiarelli was relieved of his duties as general manager and vice president of hockey operations of the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday during the team’s 3-2 loss to Detroit after nearly four full seasons on the job. Sure,he was the one who drafted Connor McDavid,but he was unable to get the right team around him and the search to get the right man who can is underway.
From his trading for Griffin Reinhart to swapping a future MVP in Taylor Hall for Adam Larsson to overpaying to bring in Milan Lucic during a time when the league was going in a different direction to not getting enough value for trades made in the past that would make the team better, Chiarelli’s time in Edmonton wasn’t well spent.
Oilers CEO Bob Nicholson will take on hockey operations duties while Keith Gretzky will be the general manager in the interim.
“There’s something in the water here in Edmonton we don’t have right,” Nicholson said at a news conference. “And we’ve got to get that figured out.”
While the team is only three points out of the playoffs,they have lost their last three games and are in danger of missing the postseason for the 12th time in 13 seasons.
Since reaching the Stanley Cup Finals in 2006, the Oilers have qualified for one playoff berth,have won one playoff series and have had eight different head coaches as well as three different general managers. Whoever the team hires next will be the fourth in that time span.
“I truly believe we’re not into a rebuild,” Nicholson said. “We have the best player in the world. We have other real good players in that dressing room … Do we have to supplement that better? Yes. But I really believe a lot of the solution is right in the dressing room.”
The last move made by Chiarelli was signing goaltender Mikko Koskinen,30, to a contract extension worth $4.5 million per season. He has played 32 career NHL games.
The search begins for a new general manager and it’s anyone’s guess who the team may bring in to not only try and fix the mess that Chiarelli has left behind,but to get the right group of guys around McDavid in order to compete for not just a playoff berth,but a Stanley Cup as well.
I honestly think the firing of Chiarelli,as well as Todd McLellan’s departure in November came a little too late. If the team way serious about fixing what was broken last season, they would’ve made a smarter decision to find a better coach and general manager during the summer. While that’s behind us now,it makes fans like myself wonder what,if anything,can be done to get this team back to prominence and if it can be a quick fix. Talented players like McDavid only come around every so often and if the team isn’t going to build a competitive team around him,he will eventually want to leave and understandably so.
The Edmonton Oilers can NOT screw this up. They HAVE to get this choice right if they want to let the rest of the hockey world know they’re serious about putting together a winning culture and commit to it. After all,their track record since 2006 isn’t a favorable one that says otherwise.