aPRIL 13, 2018 | 11:01aM ET
OILERS GIVE GM CHIARELLI VOTE OF CONFIDENCE
Peter Chiarelli, GM
Edmonton Oilers’ CEO Bob Nicholson addressed the local media Thursday afternoon following the dismal season his team endured. There was a lot of speculation regarding the future of team President and GM Peter Chiarelli, as many began to question his capabilities of leading this team.
“Chiarelli will be the General Manager next year,” Nicholson stated, adding that he “really believes in his plan.”
It was just three years ago Chiarelli inherited the franchise in a downward spiral, and has since put his stamp on things. Of course, his tenure with the club got started off on a fantastic foot, as the Oilers won the 2015 NHL Draft Lottery, which allowed them to draft generational talent Connor McDavid.
Chiarelli began molding his roster to his liking, locking up Milan Lucic to a mega contract, a deal which has since warranted a ton of criticism. He continued to make additions, adding goaltender Cam Talbot, along with signing veteran defensemen Kris Russell and Andrej Sekera over the course of the next two summers.
But the true heavy backlash against Chiarelli came last summer when he shipped out Jordan Eberle for Ryan Strome. The summer before, he had made a similarly questionable one-for-one deal when he swapped Taylor Hall for Adam Larsson, a move that was made to add to the desperate Edmonton defense.
Edmonton’s atrocious season added to the backlash, as the Oilers struggled with getting consistent productions from wingers; the team’s success in the prior season distracted from the subtraction of Hall. This year, Eberle and Hall each had great seasons with the Islanders and Devils, respectively, while the latter is a favorite for the Hart Trophy.
“I believe that Peter really thinks through everything he does,” Nicholson said of his GM. “I really believe that he understands where our gaps were this year.”
The vote of confidence from his boss should be good for Chiarelli, even though the fans in Edmonton are not pleased with the club missing the playoffs for the 11th time in 12 seasons. After a year of such promise and progression, this down year is not what the Oilers’ faithful was expecting, especially with McDavid leading the charge.
Chiarelli will have another stab at turning things around in Edmonton, but his leash may not be so long if things do not improve next season.