I don’t go to Vegas often but always play the slot machines. The first time I visited, played the card tables (blackjack) and barely had time enough for the free drink. Man those folks know how to count to 21. My plan in Vegas is to bleed out slowly, and the slot machines are just my style.
Peter Chiarelli is a riverboat gambler in the trade market. Not only is he unafraid to lose a trade’s value in order to correct his roster, he is willing to do it again and again as a member of the Edmonton Oilers. You can see the reasoning, there is enormous pressure to balance the roster in order to improve, but the asset cost is going to break the bank in a quick hurry.
Based on observation, Chiarelli appears to be making massive trades for specific need, and trying to grab back value from smaller deals. That is a risky way of doing business because you can only lose so many deals before you have compromised the roster. Chiarelli is building to win one Stanley Cup in my opinion. Short sighted? A bad idea? If he delivers a Stanley to Edmonton by 2020, I doubt it will matter.
PETER CHIARELLI TRADES 2015-16
- June 26, 2015: Traded No. 16 (Mathew Barzal) and No. 33 (Mitchell Stephens) to the NY Islanders for D Griffin Reinhart. The reason for making this deal is to move up the development time line. If Reinhart had been able to come into camp fall 2015 and establish himself as an NHL defensemen we could argue the merits of the deal. That didn’t happen, this was a major loss in assets.
- June 27, 2015: Traded No. 57 (Jonas Siegenthaler), No. 79 (Sergei Zborovsky), No. 184 (Adam Huska) to the NY Rangers for G Cam Talbot and No. 209 (Ziyat Paigin). The day after a devastating deal, Chiarelli solved a massive problem when acquiring Cam Talbot to play goal. I count this as a win, all four prospects are progressing nicely. A quality trade.
- June 27, 2015: Traded Martin Marincin to Toronto Maple Leafs for No. 107 overall, traded No. 107 overall (Christian Wolanin) and Travis Ewanyk to Ottawa Senators for Eric Gryba. I prefer Marincin and believe he is the better defender, but Eric Gryba has filled a role for coach Todd McLellan and that has value. One new item: Wolanin is progressing very nicely and may end up being a bigger part of this deal.
- June 27, 2015: Traded No. 206 pick in the 2016 draft (Otto Somppi) to the Tampa Bay Lightning for No. 208 pick in the 2015 draft (Miroslav Svoboda). Both prospects have progressed nicely, probably won’t impact the NHL but you never know.
- June 30, 2015: Traded Boyd Gordon to Arizona Coyotes for L Lauri Korpikoski. This was a bad, bad trade. Gordon had one year left and Korpikoski two, with both veterans struggling in the years after the deal. Edmonton eventually bought out their end of the trade. A strange little deal.
- July 6, 2015: Traded Liam Coughlin to the Chicago Blackhawk for Anders Nilsson. A brilliant trade from the moment it was made. Coughlin is a distant bell prospect, Nilsson stepped right in and helped the Oilers in goal. This was the first of several “value winners” by Chiarelli that somewhat offset the big Reinhart deal.
- December 28, 2015: Traded Ben Scrivens to the Montreal Canadiens for Zack Kassian. There was risk but this trade has worked out extremely well for the Oilers. I’ll count this as a second “value winners” by Chiarelli during his first season in Edmonton.
- February 24, 2016: Traded Phil Larsen to the Vancouver Canucks for the No. 126 choice in the 2017 draft. This pick ended up being dealt to Arizona Coyotes in order to move up and get Stuart Skinner. I count the trade as a win on the front end, we’ll talk back end later.
- February 27, 2016: Traded Anders Nilsson to the St. Louis Blues for No. 149 overall (Graham McPhee) selection in 2016 draft. Good value at the time, might have been tempting to sign Nilsson but the value is fair at the deadline.
- February 27, 2016: Traded Justin Schultz to the Pittsburgh Penguins for No. 91 overall pick in 2016 draft (Filip Berglund). I was in favor of this trade and was pleased with the return. Schultz has thrived in his new surroundings and the Oilers received a solid prospect. Both teams a winner.
- February 27, 2016: Traded Edward Purcell to the Florida Panthers for No. 84 overall pick (Matt Cairns). Another good deadline deal, the Oilers add two third-round picks at the deadline plus a fifth and sixth.
- February 29, 2016: Traded Martin Gernat and No. 93 (Jack Kopacka) in the 2016 draft to the Anaheim Ducks for Patrick Maroon. A monster win, the kind of trade that can alter careers (and has in the case of Patrick Maroon). Maroon’s range of skills has proven to be a fine addition to the top line and this represents the third “value deal” of Chiarelli’s first Edmonton season.
- Significant losses: Mathew Barzal, Mitchell Stephens.
- Significant gains: Cam Talbot, Patrick Maroon, Zack Kassian, Anders Nilsson
The nature of being a fan is remembering the negative and the Reinhart deal hurt this franchise. On the other hand, Peter Chiarelli made a series of smaller trades that gave the team more depth and structure. The Talbot trade is still underrated by many in my opinion, a quick glance at the Flames struggles in net since 2015 reminds us of what might have been.
PETER CHIARELLI TRADES 2016-17
- June 29, 2016: Traded Taylor Hall to New Jersey Devils for Adam Larsson. Deal was one-for-one. In what felt like deja vu all over again, Peter Chiarelli gave up an enormous amount in order to acquire an immediate upgrade on defense. Larsson’s performance during the 2016-17 eased the pain for many Oilers fans, while the loss of Hall fractured the portion of the fan base that finds itself twisting in the wind to this day. The Oilers are a ridiculous money maker but may never have the universal appeal enjoyed the morning of this trade. Fracture. From Chiarelli’s point of view, the trade accomplished what the Reinhart deal could not: Give balance and structure to the defense.
- October 7, 2016: Traded Nail Yakupov to the St. Louis Blues for No. 82 selection (Cameron Crotty) in the 2017 draft and Zach Pochiro. I don’t think there can be a winner in this deal but I don’t blame Chiarelli or McLellan for Yakupov’s exit. The selection ended up being packaged with the Phil Larsen pick in the Stuart Skinner trade-up at the June 2017 draft.
- February 1, 2017: Traded Mitchell Moroz to the Arizona Coyotes for Henrik Samuelsson. This was a low-level deal designed to jumpstart one or the other, or both.
- February 28, 2017: Traded Brandon Davidson to the Montreal Canadiens for C David Desharnais. I might be the only one who considers this a worthwhile trade. Peter Chiarelli’s job is to improve his playoff team at the deadline and Desharnais was effective in limited playing time. My only real complaint is that Desharnais should have played more.
- March 1, 2017: Traded Taylor Beck to the New York Rangers for Justin Fontaine. A small deal.
- Significant losses: Taylor Hall, Brandon Davidson
- Significant gains: Adam Larsson
Fewer trades is a good sign, the roster functioned very well all winter. The weights and measures available to us via analytics suggest Chiarelli lost the Hall-Larsson trade in a major way. The trade had the potential to derail Peter Chiarelli’s run as Oilers general manager but the 103-point season and playoff success turned it into a (mostly) non-story one year later. Whatever measure you use, Adam Larsson helped calm the blue and contributed to an efficient, value-wise top pairing.
PETER CHIARELLI TRADES 2017-18
- June 22, 2017: Traded Jordan Eberle to NY Islanders for Ryan Strome. Last week of June is Peter Chiarelli’s sweet spot for these kinds of trades. Barzal/Stephens, Hall, Eberle in exchange for Griffin Reinhart, Adam Larsson and Ryan Strome. There is a segment of Oilers fan who may not forgive PC even if he wins Stanley. I believe that to be true.
- June 24, 2017: Traded No. 82 (Cameron Crotty) pick and No. 126 (Michael Karow) to Arizona Coyotes for No. 78 (Stuart Skinner), all picks in 2017 draft. The price was dear, too dear, but I’ve always liked an organization to have the courage of their convictions. Skinner is a very interesting goalie prospect, we’ll see how it works out.
- Significant losses: Jordan Eberle
- Significant gains: Ryan Strome
Another trade in the last week of June that sends tremors across Oilers Nation. Chiarelli didn’t have to make the trade for cap purposes, although wiggle room is clearly preferable. I think this trade was made for utility (Strome can play center) and for style (Eberle is a smaller winger who doesn’t match the Chiarelli style ala Brad Marchand). I don’t think we can argue this trade makes Edmonton better on the surface, but then again Strome is going to get a major push (better linemates, zone starts, power-play opportunities) and his boxcars may surprise. If Strome plays half the season (or more) with Connor McDavid, his boxcars could shine like a diamond. This trade could look very good a year from now, depending on how much wind-aided offense we see.
If Peter Chiarelli had been more patient, allowing deals to come to him, the No. 16 pick in 2015, Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle might still be on the team. Chiarelli isn’t that kind of general manager and there was a great deal of urgency to turn north when he arrived in town.
The trades that come in the final week of June are spectacular in their eye popping value gaps but the smaller deals (and the Talbot trade) bring Chiarelli’s record closer to even. Bottom line is that he can’t keep losing those June deals and cobble a winning roster, so the Eberle trade has to be the last one we see.
No matter where you come down on the Chiarelli trade record, I think we can agree that if he can bring Stanley to Edmonton by 2020 PC will be here for the long term. If you are hoping for multiple Stanley’s, you may be disappointed. I think this first one is going to be terribly expensive. Already is.