The Edmonton Oilers front office officially reached village status today. The team added even more men to the struggle, while also announcing that Scott Howson has ‘moved on’ and that Tyler Dellow was not renewed. I will discuss both men in a moment, but let’s start with the additions:
- Keith Gretzky, Assistant GM. I imagine this means that Bill Scott, Rick Carrierre and others would come under his purview. Bob Green would also probably report to Gretzky, but that is me reading the tea leaves. The bigger question now is does this impact the role played by Craig MacTavish in the organization?
- Bill Scott, Cap Manager. This is part of his previous role, with a bunch of responsibility skimmed off and sent Gretzky’s way. No idea if this cuts off his player assessment role or how it impacts his AHL role. It is a smaller job. Smaller job=losing influence. This is fact.
- Kelly Buchberger, VP Player Development. This is the Mike Sillinger role.
- Duane Sutter, VP of Player Personnel. This is a bump up the chart, and possibly reward for good deeds at the pro level (Kassian, Maroon, etc). Bigger job=gaining influence. This is fact.
- Frank Jay, amateur scout. Insane resume via Ottawa and Montreal. His resume would include Jason Spezza and others going back to PCs days in Ottawa. This may indicate increased focus in Ontario, and I am in favor of it.
- P.J. Fenton, amateur scout. Appears to be a new scout, he was playing in Europe the last several years. Perhaps he is an addition for those leagues.
- Andre Brin, Manager of Hockey Communications and Research. Fascinating title, one of the best in recent memory. He has a very good reputation.
- Shawn May, Manager of Hockey Communications and Media Relations. Self explanatory.
- Justin Mahe, Manager of Hockey Analysis. I would guess (this is a guess) this would be providing coaches and management with ongoing established analytics updates—as opposed to pushing new innovations or uncovering new metrics. I could be wrong, but Dellow was working on another level before Edmonton hired him, imagine the stuff he was delivering by the end was cutting edge.
- Scott Howson. This was an easy call from afar, the Oilers don’t fire former Oilers.
- Tyler Dellow. I believe the Oilers will regret this decision.
WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?
- You are going to read a lot about Keith Gretzky’s uneven draft record, and that record will be used by some as a proxy for his role as AGM. I encourage you to read an article from Kirk Luedeke here, it offers an independent (from an Oilers pov) perspective on his track record. I would also suggest that his past draft record is in fact an important part of his resume—especially if Green answers to Gretzky.
- I think Frank Jay would probably wield some power—I saw some faces at the Oilers draft table that appeared new, would love to know if he had already joined the band—and that power probably means more Ontario kids in the draft pipeline beginning next season.
- Peter Chiarelli has changed his circle of influence in a fairly big way. Gretzky’s addition may mean less influence from MacT and Scott—and could mean less influence for Bob Green, although we do not know the exact chain of command at this time.
- That Nikitin trade was quite the deal. It leveled everyone. Should have listened to Dellow.
- Gretzky could endear himself to Oilers fans immediately by identifying a veteran RH defender and convincing PC to tear down the Leftorium.
I wanted Peter Chiarelli to put his mark on the front office, and today he did just that thing. You may or may not be interested in my opinion, but here goes:
- He hired someone he knows and trusts. It was predictable, people want to surround themselves with folks they value and trust. If you are surprised by this selection, I would love to know your reasons.
- He hired a very respected scout in Jay and some other staff with exceptional resumes.
- None of this matters if Chiarelli cannot build a winning roster, and the current depth chart has major holes.
- It is August.