Peter Chiarelli will. not. give. away. information. As a fan I’m both delighted and enraged. After the MacT “I’m not going to tell you where the treasure is even though it’s over there” era, this could be quite depressing—unless we see results. In his latest on the record spoken word today, Chiarelli talked to Bob Stauffer, said a lot of things about a lot of things, and we’re left examining syntax and parsing sighs.
ON THE DRAFT AND WHAT THEY’RE LOOKING FOR
- Chiarelli: “I wanted to make sure that they dug a little deeper or maybe dug in a different place. When they’re talking about specific players, just make sure that when they were digging they were highlighting the harder areas of the game; where they exist in this player. It’s more of just re-adjusting a focus and letting them know what our philosophy is. It’s about maybe directing traffic a little bit in the course of a meeting.”
I take this to mean they’ll focus on guys like Lawson Crouse, Pavel Zacha, Evgeni Svechnikov, Jesse Gabrielle, Brandon Carlo, Keegan Kolesar, Loik Leveille and others, but that’s fine there are solid players there. It might mean small players like Anthony Beauvillier and Travis Konecny get passed over, but if they’re looking for game roosters those guys certainly qualify. As with most of the interview, I’m not actually sure much was said.
- Chiarelli: “The size thing is something that’s important and that may be another kind of vetting process that we go through with later on, before the draft. Right now, we’re interviewing a lot of these kids at the combine and they know that I place a certain level of emphasis on size, a certain level of emphasis on grit, and we don’t dismiss skill. They know these are areas that they have to check off when they’re interviewing these kids. It’s more about the beginning steps of imparting my philosophy. It’s really just a higher level of due diligence and just all of us, collectively, rolling up our sleeves and pecking away at it. A lot of it right now is evaluation. It’s interviewing, it’s assessing, but it’s also all the personalities involved getting to know each other too.”
Beyond ordering up a player from 1986, there aren’t many big men who are gritty and skilled—and that is a fact. Crouse is 6.04, 215 and I imagine if there’s a poster boy for Chiarelli in this regard it’s Crouse. It could mean the Oilers trade up and grab the big winger—that’s always been possible—but I’m going to argue it’s unwise. Zacha is 6.03, 215, Svechnikov 6.03, 210, Jordan Greenway is 6.05, 225, and Brandon Carlo (6.05, 205) is a big defender. If the Oilers want to just draft by mass, Chris Martenet is 6.07, 198 and Keegan Kolesar is 6.01, 217.
Again, I don’t think there’s much in these words we can point to as a change in direction. If Crouse moves from 9 to 5, so what? Zacha 11 to 8? It’s simply not a draft for Edmonton to go out of order—unless, as stated above, they deal up for Crouse or Zacha.
Source for the above is here.
ON TRADING PICKS IN 2015 DRAFT
- Chiarelli: “I certainly would look at moving any of those picks for something that would – immediate help, yeah – something that would help us right now, but also that could grow with our organization. So you should talk about, relatively speaking, a younger player. But I’m not ruling out anything. That’s a lot of picks and it’s good to have a lot of picks to develop players, but we also want to hit the ground running too with some more game-ready players.”
This is an astute observation by a veteran GM. He is willing to move a pick, but since the selection is going to be productive (as an Oiler) for seven season or more (if he works out), then getting one year or even two years of a good player isn’t enough. Of all the things he said today, this is the most encouraging.
ON LEON AND DEREK ROY
- Chiarelli: “Leon had a terrific year and playoff. I’d rather be in a position to see a number of competitions at camp and make some determinations at that point. I don’t want to guarantee any spots to anybody. Having said that, I did really see a level of improvement in Leon in the course of the year. I saw him sporadically at the beginning, but I saw him more at the end. Then there’s also the option of maybe one of those players going on the wing, one of the younger players, if it merits – if they merit a job. So we look at a lot of different things. I know Derek Roy had some success last year with Yakupov and I haven’t ruled that out yet. But there’s a lot of different things we’re looking at for one of those centers, whether it be someone we draft or someone we acquire or someone who is already in our system.”
Several interesting items there. Leon’s progress has him in the conversation and that may include the wing. We discussed cap bonuses this morning, that’s still an issue (although the comments section straightened out a few things, including Calder bonus) but if Draisaitl earns it there’s an opportunity waiting. The Roy item is fascinating, and tells us the ‘size’ and ‘grit’ emphasis does indeed march in lock step with skill. Perhaps Roy plays 3C with Yakupov and moves over when Draisaitl arrives? Anyway. We talk about these things as if injury has no impact on players and seasons.
ON FREE AGENCY
- Chiraelli: “You have to be prepared to overspend a little bit, and over-term, so to speak, these guys if you’re going into free agency. You have to plan out a little bit more. It’s a market that we’ll look at. It’s a pool of players and we want to improve our team… There may be players on teams who need to get rid of that will be available because of cap constraints. So we’ll look at that market. There will be players to look at and distressed trades and normal trades and the free agency market, so we’ll look at all of them.”
I think they might look at Cody Franson and Carl Soderberg—specific and young talents—but the days of hiring mid-30’s blue is hopefully behind us. Antti Niemi, well past 30, is probably a player of interest.
We tried to tell them. We really did. I’m very happy for Jeff Petry, bet Peter Chiarelli wishes he had the opportunity to get something done with a defensemen of that calibre before July 1. Maybe he’ll trade for the right to talk contract with Cody Franson. That would be a fine idea.