Edmonton Oilers: Top 10 moments from 2015

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Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The Edmonton Oilers Hire Peter Chiarelli

On April 23rd 2015, the Edmonton Oilers made  monumental hire: the team announced that Peter Chiarelli would be hired as General Manager and President of Hockey Operations.

Fired shortly after missing the playoffs with the Boston Bruins in 2015, Chiarelli replaced Craig MacTavish and Kevin Lowe in their hockey posts. Sure, the two would still be within the organization (MacTavish as an assistant General Manager, Lowe as a vice chairman on the business side of the organization).

Chiarelli was the first ever General Manager that the Oilers hired that had previous General Management experience.

1979-2000: Glen Sather (who was a helluva manager)

2000-2008: Kevin Lowe

2008-2013: Steve Tambellini

2013-2015: Craig MacTavish

Seriously. That’s quite an amazing stretch of not hiring someone with previous experience as a General Manager. With this hire, this was for me at least, the saying that the Old Boys Club was finally dead* . Sure, Chiarelli had two questionable moves that did not help his case near the end in Boston (The Tyler Seguin Trade, where the behind the scenes video had Cam Neely meddling and the Johnny Boychuk trade), but Chiarelli fronted a bad Bruins team when he took over in 2006. Things definitely changed as he slowly, but surely, improved the Bruins, eventually winning the Stanley Cup in 2011 and making an appearance in 2013.

A month later, Chiarelli would hire my #3 moment on the list, Todd McLellan as head coach. A proven NHL coach. In terms of roster movement, it’s a tad early to call trades a win or loss: The Griffin Reinhart trade cost the 16th overall pick and a 33rd overall pick and he’s currently playing in Bakersfield, while Cam Talbot is only starting to play like a starting goalie again (where it cost Chiarelli a 2nd, 3rd and swapping 7th rounders in the 2015 draft). Chiarelli would also move Boyd Gordon for Lauri Korpikoski, Prospect Liam Coughlin to Chicago for Anders Nilsson. Chiarelli would make a splash, signing Andrej Sekera to be a top pairing guy the Oilers have lacked for so long and centre Mark Letestu.

So far, some of these moves look questionable. Was Letestu an upgrade over Gordon? Reinhart was an overpayment, but addressed an organizational need. Sekera had a slow start but is arguably our best defenceman and Anders Nilsson looks like a steal.

Regardless, this is Year One for Mr. Chiarelli. So far, it’s so good. I’d take his hire over the others all day.

*I know there’s cynics out there that will point out BUT THEYRE STILL THERE1! They aren’t in a position of power.