Everything Has Changed In Edmonton. Again.



This entire week has truly been a blur to me. Between winning the draft lottery, naming Nicholson CEO, hiring Peter Chiarelli as the Czar of Hockey, and me finishing up my first year of Journalism school I am certainly feeling excited.

We thought last Saturday that McDavid would change many of things in Edmonton, but now bringing in Chiarelli does that tenfold.

As we move to the summer, things that were on the table under the MacT regime, is now off the table. Everything you imagined that was impossible, suddenly becomes very possible. Even trading one of the young guys *gasp*.

Granted, if we were able to pull back an elite level defender or goaltender that is a bit of a different story.

With all of the articles being written on Edmonton, it has been challenge to stay on top of things. I read an article this morning written last week by Puck Daddy’s Ryan Lambert that provided some great insight into the dismissal of Chiarelli in Boston:

"Witness Neely’s quote from near the beginning of the mealy-mouthed, try-to-say-nothing presser held at TD Garden on Tuesday: “We got away a little bit from our identity that we had in the past. I don’t think we were as hard a team to play against as we like to be and were in the past. I thought that got us some success.”An amazing takeaway from this season, really. That’s what the Bruins were lacking? “Identity?” Being “hard to play against?” Hockey buzzwords that have never really meant anything, and certainly don’t mean anything now? Being “hard to play against” in hockey basically means “hitting people a lot,” which necessitates not having the puck. And the Bruins didn’t have the puck this season nearly as effectively as they did in the past. Why? Because they specifically sought the “identity” Neely says they don’t have; teams are, here in 2015, actually hard to play against when they control possession. The Kings, despite missing the playoffs, bear the reputation of being “hard to play against” because they are dominant. Chicago is hard to play against. The Islanders are hard to play against. Tampa is hard to play against."

In my eyes, being “hard to play against” is a more than just hitting people a lot but nonetheless that is the life and blood of the Boston Bruins. I know that’s all I think of when I think of the Bruins.

The changes Chiarelli made were clearly against what the upper management in Boston had in mind, but were changes that were necessary to “update” the Bruins to a more modern game. With all of the speed, skill and scoring in the NHL nowadays, it was time for Chiarelli to make the move and acquire a player like Brent Connelly to provide some youthfulness to the roster.

Moving a 31-year old Boychuk earlier in the year didn’t help his rep in that organization, but was another sign to what he wanted to begin to build.

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The Seguin trade was certainly a blemish on what was otherwise a very successful stint in Boston but I still feel his hands were tied in that deal, and he admitted to there being “underlying issues“.

What ended up really killed the Bruins this year was the fact that Boston was ranked 22nd in the NHL in Goals per game with 2.55 GPG. That was down from 3.15 GPG the year prior.

Edmonton ranked 26th in that category this year, with 2.35 GPG.

Chiarelli is now faced with the tough task of turning Edmonton into a contender. His to-do list is long, but his priority should be on acquiring two legitimate defenseman who can eat minutes, as well as a starting goaltender.

I really feel that Edmonton is a few pieces, albeit large ones, away from making a push into the playoffs.