This is going to be a memorable day for Oilers fans. In the history of the franchise, dating back to the WHA years, there have been precious few men to hold the title.
OILERS GM’S, 1972 TO PRESENT
- Bill Hunter 1972—1976
- Bep Guidolin 1976—1977
- Brian Conacher 1977—1978
- Larry Gordon 1978—1980
- Glen Sather 1980—2000
- Kevin Lowe 2000—2008
- Steve Tambellini 2008—2013
- Craig MacTavish 2013—
Peter Chiarelli has been in EDM meeting with Bob Nicholson for past two days. EDM won't confirm, not yet anyway, news conference for Fri…
— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) April 24, 2015
…but all signs point to him taking over all hockey operations for the Oilers. If Chiarelli was to take job there, he wanted full autonomy.
— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) April 24, 2015
I mentioned on Wednesday (“Chiarelli as President of Hockey Ops (with a slight chance, say 20%, he is also named GM”) this might happen and in most ways it makes more sense. Chiarelli is younger than MacTavish, so making Chiarelli the mentor has some issues (why pass along information to the older man? Hire the younger) and Chiarelli has relationships with other GMs in the league that could be beneficial in negotiating deals. It seems to me Edmonton’s best option is to use the new hire as the point man.
The only things that could possibly be a worry? Chiarelli’s draft record is not stellar and we don’t know if a process that involved several candidates was involved here. Bottom line: As I mentioned the other day, he would have been on my list of bona fide candidates and that does have merit. We await word on how exhaustive this process was over the last several weeks.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN FOR THE PROSPECTS?
We’ve talked about this many times, but in a very real way ALL of the prospects currently in the system are orphans. It is human nature for a GM to have an attachment to players he brought into the system, but those ties are cut as of this morning. This does not mean Chiarelli will be trading players for 10 cents on the dollar, but it’s also true the assets available to him this morning haven’t made specific impressions on him.
You may recall several prospects of note were quickly discarded by MacT when he took over (notably Teemu Hartikainen, who had actually been called up in the days after the new GM took over) and that could happen here. I don’t think it’ll be a huge issue, but there’s a chance we’ll see subtle shifts in the organization’s depth chart as the days roll along. We may also see a trade to acquire a Chiarelli favorite from the Bruins, someone like Malcom Subban or Alexander Khokhlachev.
Overall, the top prospects will remain the top prospects. Darnell Nurse, Leon Draisaitl, Laurent Brossoit, the best kids will have extreme value just like they did yesterday. The culling of the RFA herd (we discussed at length) may chime a different song but the differences should be minor. It may also impact the signing of Finnish goalie Eetu Laurikainen, who has apparently signed with an NHL team that might be the Edmonton Oilers.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN FOR THE NHL PLAYERS?
It could mean a lot. The team is apparently close on a deal with Derek Roy, but Chiarelli would know Carl Soderberg very well. Is that a better fit? Yes it is. Anton Lander emerged in the middle of last season, does he have the same traction with a new GM (and possibly new coach)? It may not be close to the same situation in autumn.
Will they trade Jordan Eberle for Milan Lucic? No. It’s a poor move on the face of it. If they can find a way to include Dougie Hamilton? Sure. I don’t think either happens. Edmonton could help Boston in their efforts to ease cap issues but there is no obvious fit. Boston’s defensemen with high value are old and expensive, and goalie Tuukku Rask isn’t going anywhere.
WHO WILL THE OILERS TARGET?
It’s important to make clear there’s a difference between targeting and securing. The two most important pieces are in goal and a top pairing defender. Could the Oilers acquire Cam Talbot for Nail Yakupov? Would Chicago send Brent Seabrook over in exchange for Martin Marincin and the Penguins’ pick? Would that second-round selection be enough to get Craig Anderson out of Ottawa? Is there a deal that could get Marc-Edouard Vlasic out of San Jose?
WHAT ABOUT THE DRAFT?
No. 1 overall is probably decided and there’s not a hockey man alive in a position of authority who would trade it. The Pittsburgh pick has high value, and if Timo Meier remains available (I don’t think that will be the case) Chiarelli may use it (he would have access to Oilers scouting lists and as Matty mentioned yesterday Meier is held in high regard). Otherwise, and most likely, I suspect the pick will be used to acquire a solution at defense or center.
CHIARELLI’S DRAFT RECORD
It is not good. Chiarelli hired Wayne Smith early in his regime and a year later made him scouting director.
- Mitch Cole, July 2013: Since Smith took over the scouting department in 2007, Bruins’ draft picks have played in a combined 144 NHL games, and have a stat line of 14 goals, 23 assists and 37 points. That excludes Dougie Hamilton and Tyler Seguin, of course, who were both top 10 draft picks. Add that to the fact that none of the Bruins’ draft picks from 2007-2009 have yet to become regular NHL players, and it becomes clear that a change was needed. Source
CHIARELLI’S DRAFT PICKS WHO HAVE PLAYED IN THE NHL, 2007-14
- Joe Colborne 160
- Jordan Caron 153
- Ryan Spooner 56
- Craig Cunningham 53
- David Pastrnak 46
- Michael Hutchinson 41
- Seth Griffith 30
- Zach Trotman 29
- Lane McDermid 21
- Zach Hamill 20
- Brian Ferlin 7
- Justin Florek 4
- Alexander Khokhlachev 4
- Maxime Sauve 1
- Jamie Arniel 1
- Malcom Subban 1
The best Bruins pick (outside the two high ones, Tyler Seguin and Dougie Hamilton) is a marginal NHL regular, a depth guy, and I’ll give credit for two of those (Colborne and Jordan) plus Spooner looks like he’s found his way. Pastrnak and Hutchinson also look good and guys like Trotman, Griffith and Malcom Subban will probably be heard from sooner than later. I will say that Pastrnak has an ‘Eberle feel’ early days and that’s a positive.
In the same time frame, Oilers have enjoyed seven top 10 selections so the comparable is difficult. Still, if we exclude all of them (Gagner, Paajarvi, Hall, Nuge, Yakupov, Nurse, Draisaitl) we still get:
- Jordan Eberle 356
- Riley Nash 178
- Anton Lander 132
- Martin Marincin 85
- Linus Omark 79
- Oscar Klefbom 77
- Tobias Rieder 72
- Teemu Hartikainen 52
- Tyler Pitlick 27
- Brandon Davidson 12
- Alex Plante 10
- David Musil 4
- Phil Cornet 2
- Bogdan Yakimov 1
- Curtis Hamilton 1
- Tyler Bunz 1
- Johan Motin 1
- Milan Kytnar 1
The Oilers were still drafting higher and their list is clearly better at this time. There are six on this list (Eberle, Nash, Lander, Marincin, Klefbom, Rieder) who are either clearly established or on the way as NHL regulars—Edmonton’s list in the same time period is superior and trending well.
CHIARELLI’S BEST TRADES
- Feb 10, 2007: Acquired Andrew Ference and Chuck Kobasew from Calgary for Wayne Primeau, Brad Stuart and the pick that turned into TJ Brodie (it was a fourth-round selection).
- July 23, 2007: Acquired the rights to Carl Soderberg from St. Louis for Hannu Toivonen.
- June 24, 2008: Acquired Johnny Boychuk from Colorado for Matt Hendricks.
- March 4, 2009: Acquired Mark Recchi and a second-round pick from Tampa Bay for Matt Lashoff and Martin Karsums.
- September 18, 2009: Acquired draft picks that turned into Tyler Seguin, Dougie Hamilton and Jared Knight from the Toronto Maple Leafs for Phil Kessel.
- March 3, 2010: Acquired Dennis Seidenberg and the rights to Matt Bartkowski from Florida for Byron Bitz, Craig Weller and the draft pick that turned into Alex Petrovic.
- June 22, 2010: Acquired Nathan Horton and Gregory Campbell from Florida for Dennis Wideman and the picks that turned into Derek Forbort and Kyle Rau.
- February 15, 2011: Acquired Chris Kelly from Ottawa for the pick that turned into Shane Prince.
Your mileage may vary but I’m comfortable listing those deals as helpful (and remember they were trying to, and did, win the Stanley Cup) and a few of them match what Edmonton will be trying to do this summer. Trades like the Boychuk and Horton deals are exactly what the Oilers need to do this summer, although the assets available to Chiarelli are decidedly inexperienced (or draft picks).
I’d suggest that Mark Fayne and Justin Schultz might be suddenly available with the GM changeover (remember, the new GM won’t be attached to any of the free-agent signings) and some opportunities may open up because of it.
CHIARELLI’S WORST TRADES
- February 3, 2007: Traded Kris Versteeg to the Chicago Blackhawks for Brandon Bochenski.
- June 26, 2010: Traded Vladimir Sobotka to the St. Louis Blues for David Warsofsky.
- February 18, 2011: Traded Blake Wheeler and Mark Stuart to Atlanta for Rich Peverley and Boris Valabik.
- February 18, 2011: Traded Joe Colborne and the pick that turned into Rickard Rakell to Toronto for Tomas Kaberle.
- June 23, 2012: Traded Benoit Pouliot to Tampa Bay for Michel Ouellet and the pick that turned into Seth Griffith.
- July 4, 2013: Traded Tyler Seguin, Rich Peverley and Ryan Button to Dallas for Loui Eriksson, Reilly Smith, Matt Fraser and Joe Morrow.
- October 4, 2014: Traded Johnny Boychuck to the NY Islanders for two second-round picks and a conditional third.
- March 2, 2015: Traded two second-round picks to Tampa Bay for Brett Connolly.
The Seguin and Boychuk trades probably got him fired, although Nathan Horton leaving sure as hell didn’t help the Bruins or Chiarelli. I don’t think we can say he’s clearly the best GM candidate available and there is concern about how wide the net was cast this spring for help in the front office. That said, Chiarelli is a clear upgrade from MacT at this time and his track record suggests he will aggressively pursue immediate solutions to problems and he has no issues with thinking big.
That’s good if you want the team to improve immediately but it will come at a price. How much? We wait.
MY OWN OPINION
This is a good day. When we all look back on the period 2008-2015 (the first portion of the Katz ownership era) we’ll see violent careening from one plan to another, we’ll see chaos and we will see the nadir of the organization. The men who love this brand enough to devote much of their lives to it, who were so talented they could play the game at its highest levels, we unable to adapt as executives despite very hard work and the best of intentions.
Peter Chiarelli may not be the best choice, but he brings clarity and direction and credibility to the group. He instantly upgrades the reputation of the brand in the industry and sends an exhausted fan base a clear message for a brand new day.
Breath easy. Our long nightmare is over.
I have been a part of exactly one mass firing in my life and it is still painful. I lost a lot of good friends on that day, many have never spoken to me since the moment it happened. I was retained, they were let go. Those individuals were fabulous people and fantastic professionals, my staying absolutely had everything to do with the work that remained. We all moved on but there is still a wall the remains these years later.
It’s a sad day, ladies and men. As fans, we can look forward to a new day, but I would hope we keep the comments civil and respectful. It is one of the things I appreciate most about you, the ability to keep it from getting personal. I expect we’ll all be challenged today, but if we have respect and have a care we can avoid getting into needless arguments on an emotional day.
Thanks very much.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
As you might imagine, this will be a very fluid day on the show. I’ll be on 10-2 today with a bunch of guests and the scheduled ones may or may not appear depending on the avail and what’s happening. SCHEDULED to appear:
- Steve Lansky, Big Mouth Sports. Steve goes all the way back to the 1980s as an Oilers observer and will have great insight on a historic week.
- Kent Ridley, Ridley Scouting. Kent’s CFL draft guide is out, it’s a very deep draft this season.
- Antony Bent, FC Edmonton. A HUGE win this week and we’ll discuss the team early in the 2015 campaign.
- Kirk Luedeke, Red Line Report and New England Hockey Journal. Kirk will help us with Chiarelli’s track record and his time in Boston.
- Jeff Chapman, Copper and Blue. We’ll get Jeff’s opinion on an insane week.
McDavid Friday! It’s going to be exactly insane! 10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. It’s all happening!