Edmonton Oilers: It’s Time Peter Chiarelli Got Some Credit

SUNRISE, FL - JUNE 26: Edmonton Oilers General Manager Peter Chiarelli addresses the audience as NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and Oilers head coach Todd McClellan look on during Round One of the 2015 NHL Draft at BB
SUNRISE, FL - JUNE 26: Edmonton Oilers General Manager Peter Chiarelli addresses the audience as NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and Oilers head coach Todd McClellan look on during Round One of the 2015 NHL Draft at BB /

It’s time Edmonton Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli finally the credit he deserves for purging the poor locker room culture that haunted the team before this season and building a team that can compete for a playoff spot.

The Edmonton Oilers are 8-2-2 since they fired Todd McLellan and hired legendary NHL coach Ken Hitchcock. The funny thing is, the Oilers had a great run under McLellan earlier in the year. After starting the season winless in Europe, the Oilers went on an 8-2-1 run. Both coaches have had the same lineups save for Ryan Strome and Ryan Spooner, yet one found a way to get very little out of it and the other has found a way to get the most out of it.

The Myth Surrounding Chiarelli

There’s a narrative out there that Chiarelli has lost the majority of his trades and that’s 100% false. In fact, it’s not even close. If someone tells you that, they’re lying to themselves. In my estimate, I’d say he’s won nearly at least 2x the trades that he’s lost.

If you want to say he lost the Hall, Eberle, Strome, and Reinhart trades, that’s fine. If you’re going to say that he overpaid Lucic and Sekera, I can’t argue that either but you have to credit the wins as well as the losses.

I’d say he’s won the following deals involving the following players.

I will say that he should’ve done better with the more significant trades. There’s no doubt about that, but his job was to come in and rescue a floundering franchise whose core was rotten. Andrew Ference spoke to it, and plenty of media-types have voiced their understanding to what the former Oilers captain has said. Basically, the only media who are sour about Ference’s comments are the ones who never played at that level and don’t understand what the 2011 Stanley Cup winner was speaking to.

I would imagine he was under instruction to get that locker room under control and those were the sacrifices he needed to make to clean up the mess from the previous regime. Chiarelli, Nicholson, Gretzky, and whoever else is part of the Red Wine Summits decided when the Old Boys Club was ousted; the focus would flip from small-skilled players with poor attitudes to physical players with character and outstanding work ethic.

We won’t talk about the job he’s done rebuilding the Oilers prospect system either. That was a black hole before he joined Edmonton and now it’s close to overflowing with prospects. Next Season, the Bakersfield Condors are going to be stacked.

Just This Season

Chiarelli was blasted for signing Mikko Koskinen to a 1-yr deal worth $2.5M, and as soon as the fans and media found out he was given a no-movement-clause, they lost their tops. Alex Chiasson was brought in on a recommendation from current Oilers assistant coach Glen Gulutzan, and he earned a spot. Not a lot of folks thought that either of these players would be performing as well as they have so far, myself included, but those same people also refuse to give Chiarelli credit for finding these two gems. Quite the shame that is.

What about Kevin Gravel or Tobias Rieder? In Gravel’s case, he might be the best no.5 defenseman in the NHL right now. He’s been outstanding this year. As for Rieder, it’s a shame he injured his shoulder when he did. He was really coming on, and now that’s back, the Oilers actually have twelve proper NHL forwards they can deploy night-in and night-out.

The Oilers could’ve traded Jesse Puljujarvi a million times over by now. They could’ve dealt Ryan Nugent-Hopkisn, Oscar Klefbom and Leon Draisaitl with ease but Chiarelli has hung onto them and continues to show patience with this team. The fact that the Oilers are as close as they are to the top of the Pacific Division shows us he’s being rewarded for said patience. Don’t tell me the Pacific is the worst division in the league either. Obviously, the Metropolitan is giving that moniker a run for its money.

The cherry on top is Hitchcock though. The fact that Chiarelli was brave enough to to contact a coach who’d said he’d had enough and convince him to return to the bench one more time, well that should guarantee praise for the Oilers GM, right? Wrong. Fans and media are saying it was Bob Nicholson who did it and that’s a bunch of garbage. It’s not Nicholson who does the hiring and firing, it’s Peter Chiarelli.

It’s a sad state of affairs when after all this time, all of this losing, there are some that can’t find a way to give Peter Chiarelli the credit where it’s due.

I hope that the Oilers make the playoffs and I hope he’s nominated for Executive of the year again because he doesn’t deserve the vitriol he’s getting.