Peter Chiarelli held his postseason media avail yesterday. It was an unusual Q and A, I came away thinking he is convinced the players and coaches were the problem last year. Full stop. The frank approach to the questions was refreshing but I’m not sure it presented the general manager in a good light. “I’m trying to be accountable here” is one quote I’ll remember, especially framed against “subpar” players and coaches who “didn’t perform.” It was a Teflon Pete avail, almost like his answers might be used against him in an upcoming evaluation. Strange strange press conference. As for the Oilers summer: Expect change in coaching, but the usual: Assistant coaches, men on expiring deals, the Mandelbaums, maybe they’ll fire Morey Gare again.
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- New Lowetide: Trading the first-round pick: Oilers ponder summer (will link)
- New Jonathan Willis: Important Oilers don’t over commit when addressing D
- Lowetide: Finding the Oilers first-shot scorer.
- Lowetide: Oilers summer to-do list short and sweet.
- Lowetide: Draft 2018: The Oilers and Russia: A draft tragedy.
- Lowetide: Draft 2018: The Oilers and the Republic of Finland
- Lowetide: Draft 2018: The Oilers and Sweden.
- Lowetide: Draft 2018: The Oilers and the QMJHL.
- Lowetide: Draft 2018: Oilers and the WHL.
- Lowetide: Draft 2018: Oilers draft history and the OHL
- Lowetide: Draft 2018: The Oilers and the NCAA.
— EDM Prospect Watch (@EDProspectWatch) April 12, 2018
A nice pass by the new guy to the other new guy for the Condors only goal last night. Mike Griffith from Bakersfield.com has details, Marody centered Vesel and Dave Gust to form an all college line. The team plays again tonight in San Jose.
Chiarelli had some encouraging words about Jesse Puljujarvi, saying he played a cleaner game upon return. He correctly identified JP as being a dangerous player upon recall, and then the air went out of his tires later on. He’s 19. Patience. As I’ve said many times, the only question about Jesse Puljujarvi surrounds his future role as a mature NHL player. He might be a 35-goal power forward or a tough two-way winger who can score 20 a year.
I have three comparables for JP’s second year, they are above. The late-season dive in production hurt Puljujarvi’s numbers but I think you can make a case that the Oilers man can hang with this group. For the first 33 games of his season (about halfway), JP’s 5×5 60 scoring number was 1.82, he was 33, 8-5-13 at that time.
Puljujarvi’s time with Ryan Strome (236 minutes) was good in possession (50.32 Corsi for 5×5) less so in production (1.27 5×5 per 60). It is vital for one of Connor McDavid or Leon Draisaitl to help bring this young man along. JP spent 252 minutes with 97 (1.91 5×5 60 scoring) and 99 minutes with Draisaitl (2.5 5×5 60 scoring) this season. Whatever the eyes are telling the coaching staff, math is screaming the opposite. Kid can play.
Quick thoughts on the avail
I was driving for the entire press conference, so didn’t pick up any visual cues. Based on what I heard:
- Chiarelli seemed at times defensive, other times to deflect. Whatever he feels about his role in this team’s lack of success, there was no coming to Jesus moment. Irksome for fans, perhaps instructive for those being evaluated by PC (mirror his behavior, Todd! Blame the ice).
- He defended Lucic. No surprise. Any general manager who agreed to that contract with a player he knows is going to do the same. I read lots of rage tweets about this area, remember when a GM signs a guy he is “his guy” and that doesn’t change. I do think he’d trade Lucic if he could, but isn’t going to tell us.
- The pace versus speed thing is (imo) a talking point. Edmonton has forwards who can’t get to the play on time, that’s a fact. Too many of those players. I did like his comment about breakouts, this team has ridiculous skill, get the damned puck to 97.
- He’s going to replace one of the assistant coaches, maybe two of them.
- I have time for his point about forwards growing into roles, think we saw that with Puljujarvi and others. However, his point about getting enough offense from his group of forwards is questionable. Edmonton’s 5×5 scoring was mid-pack but ignores the power play. Returning this group would be negligence.
- The “I’m trying to be accountable here, but…” line is one I think Chiarelli will grow to regret. Todd McLellan took responsibility. Unless I missed it, PC did not.
- Looks like a substantial goalie is coming in to play behind Cam Talbot. I’m well pleased.
- Not blowing up the team is wise, pleased about the Nuge words. I’m not thrilled with trading the first-round pick, but options are limited and it is the most agreeable (Nuge, Klefbom, JP) asset out.
- The comment from players about lack of commitment was important, I believe. For me, the special teams issues were at least partly due to not buying in, especially the penalty kill. Acknowledgement is a key element in turning things around.
- I liked the words on Puljujarvi, looks like Rattie is coming back and as I said yesterday there’s a chance Andrej Sekera gets bought out or traded.
Overall, a surprisingly (and unnecessarily) defensive media avail for Peter Chiarelli. He’s a Harvard man and I went to the Columbia School of Broadcasting, so offering advice from my end is kind of silly. I will say that my knowledge of this city and its doings allows me to say that more media avails during the season would do Peter Chiarelli well. People don’t see him during the bad times, don’t see him acknowledge his own role in this past season, well, let’s just say there’s a way we do things out west and Todd McLellan knows them.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
A busy morning and a wonderful group of guests on the way. Scheduled to appear:
- Aaron Portzline, The Athletic. Columbus Blue Jackets are in the playoffs and strong enough to push deep. We’ll preview a fantastic series.
- Rob Vollman, NHL.com and ESPN. Rob has new NHL equivalency numbers, we’ll discuss the Oilers top prospects and what their NHLE’s suggest. Plus playoff experience and how much it helps.
- Frank Seravalli, TSN. We’ll check in on Frank, who has been doing incredible work in Humboldt and Saskatoon. We’ll also talk some playoffs, including Bruins v. Leafs and about the Chiarelli avail.
10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. It’s all happening!