Just What the Oilers Needed + Trade Rumors and Comments on the Coaching/GM Hotseat

I’ll get the rumor and commentary on the coaches/GM out of the way before my rant to save you some time.

The Trade Rumor

Alex Petrovic is being looked at by the Oilers. According to Bob McKenzie, he’s getting little to zero TOI in Florida right now and short of demanding a trade, is looking for a way out. He probably wouldn’t cost much as the team apparently doesn’t view him as even a bottom 6 defender and would be a better option than Eric Gryba in my humble and professional opinion.

The Coach/GM Rumor

I posted a blog yesterday about a note that was passed to me by one of my sources. I wanted to get it out ASAP because it was right after the game and let you fine people get a gander before everyone went to sleep but I didn’t have much time to comment on it. So I can now.

When my source contacted me and told me the Oilers were looking at possibly changing coaches, I thought it was a terrible idea. The Oilers GM being on the hot seat, well that comes with the territory of a team that is struggling but I really do think the record of the Oilers is on the players right now. The team is WAY better than it is performing. I know that, you know that, the pundits (most of them) know that, the coaches know that, and the players know that.

You see, the thing that has changed since Bob Nicholson, Peter Chiarelli, and Todd McLellan came into the picture is that of player accountability and I like that after seeing the OBC coddle and protect Hall and Co. for all of those years.

The Oilers would be making a huge mistake by firing McLellan and/or Chiarelli and it would look terrible on the ownership. 20 games a season doesn’t make and if one or both were fired, the team would be back to square one as there would be a 3-year transition phase again for the new coach or GM. Yet the people who claim to be smart about hockey and write about it are foaming at the mouth like rabid dogs as they fire blame at the GM.

As my friend Sean said in the tweet above, fans want blood or results and when they don’t get either of them… See the gif below.

THE RANT

First off, this is much easier to write when the Oilers have just won a game. So I admit to cherry picking the timing a bit here.

Ya know, I’ve been battling my fellow Oilers fans online this week over the job that Peter Chiarelli has done this past season (as well as seasons before that) and they really only have a few arguments OR in other words, they can’t let go of the past and love re-hashing it…

  • He’s traded out skill for size
  • He’s screwed over the salary cap (It’s apparently going up to $80M btw…)
  • He downgraded the roster

Yes, he did trade out skill for size but how else were the Oilers going to compete in the Pacific? He did hand out some big contracts but he certainly didn’t put the Oilers in a place where they can’t recover. I do not believe he downgraded the roster. If you’re talking about Eberle, there’s more on that below.

Now, we know two things about Peter Chiarelli from his time in Boston,

  1. He isn’t afraid to trade a popular (aka young) player
  2. He builds teams that consistently make the playoffs.

These are undeniable facts, no?

In Chiarelli’s 9 years with Boston, his teams made the playoffs every season but the first and the last. Not only that but in those 7 playoff seasons the Bruins finished 1st in their division 4 times and made the Stanley Cup finals twice, winning once.

Do you know who Chiarelli didn’t trade in that time? Patrice Bergeron, Zdeno Chara, Tuuka Rask, Milan Lucic, or Brad Marchand. Sure Wheeler, Seguin, and Kessel went but not his core.

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As GM of the Oilers, he has built a roster that went from having plenty of small highly skilled forwards and annually missing the playoffs to making the playoffs with a bigger, more physical set of players. But let’s be honest here, Kassian, Lucic, Larsson, and Maroon were a huge factor in the Oilers making the playoffs and nearly advancing to the Western Conference Final. Everybody loved them for it because that’s what it took to succeed in the Pacific Division. I still believe that to be true today and if the Oilers had a schedule laden with Pacific Division teams to start the year, we wouldn’t be sitting here having this conversation.

So you can’t just all of a sudden look at the Oilers record right now and say Peter Chiarelli is a bad GM. He’s not. His record proves that despite the players he’s traded away and the contracts he’s given out that he is indeed a good GM. His firing from Boston is even debatable.

Was Taylor Hall for Adam Larsson a fair trade? No. Hall is obviously a better offensive player but Larsson is obviously a better defensive player! Defense, something the Oilers weren’t getting from Justin Schultz, Brandon Davidson, Adam Clendening, Mark Fayne, Jordan Oesterle, Adam Pardy, Griffin Reinhart, Andrew Ference, or Brad Hunt.

Let’s say the Oilers go into the 2016 season with the defense they had plus Hall plus… Demers. I imagine it’d look like this:

Sekera-Demers
Klefbom-Fayne
Nurse-Davidson

Am I missing someone?

I am not convinced that the Oilers would’ve made the playoffs with that defense and I hope you aren’t either.

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The trade wasn’t simply about the on-ice product. I mean Lucic has kept pace with Hall’s goal totals though. I’m of the belief that the trade was made to shake up the team in part because there wasn’t any accountability being held by the Old Boys Club. A group of men who were accused of coddling the kids a bit too much in the decade of darkness and are being blamed still to this day for the Oilers current record.

Moving on to the Eberle trade. When a top 6 RW is traded for a 3C, it doesn’t look fair does it? But with the possibility of an offer-sheet on Leon Draisaitl looming and after a complete no-show by Eberle in the playoffs, there was pressure on Chiarelli not only from the fan base but from other GMs.

There are few more moving parts with the Oilers picking up Strome though, right? And don’t tell me that he was traded to replace Eberle because he wasn’t. I had this out on Twitter and there are some who believe that makes this trade even worse. Meaning that Chiarelli made the trade knowing that he wouldn’t have someone to replace Eberle’s 20 goals last year… Untrue. He did.

Eberle has 7 goals today and Drake Caggiula and Ryan Strome combined have 7. Bingo Bango! Bob’s your uncle. I’d check Nuge’s goal totals as well. Lastly, are Anton Slepyshev, Zack Kassian, Mike Cammalleri, Jujhar Khaira, Iiro Pakarinen, and Jesse Puljujarvi going to only score 2-3 goals this year?

The same thing happened when Hall was traded. Fans and pundits alike cried about who was going to score Hallsy’s goals. Who stepped up to replace those goals? Everyone! The whole team chipped in and added to the offense and the same thing will happen this year.

You see, in the game of hockey, one man cannot do it on his own. Gretzky, Lemieux, Crosby, nor McDavid could or can. It takes a team to win and it takes a team to score. Therefore, Chiarelli made this trade so that he could have an offensive-minded 3C thus giving him that ability to move RNH up into the 2-hole behind McDavid and to use Draisaitl as a RW thus stacking the top 6.

That’s a nice list eh? At this very minute, Ryan Strome is a mere 4pts behind Jordan Eberle all while making nearly 30% of Eberle’s salary… Criticize that trade all you want but these are the numbers…

They complained Chiarelli didn’t acquire someone to put in Andrej Sekera’s spot until he returned from knee surgery.

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Also untrue. Enter Darnell Nurse.

He’s the best possession defenceman in the NHL right now according to Corsica…

Amongst dmen with 300 min TOI and at 5×5 Darnell Nurse is No.1 in:

  • Corsi For %
  • Corsi Against per 60
  • Expected Goals For %
  • Relative Expected Goals for %
  • Fenwick For %
  • Fenwick Against per 60
  • Shots For %
  • Shots Against per 60

As for the other categories that aren’t more offense leaning, Nurse is in the top 5 or top 10 at worst.

So don’t complain to me that Chiarelli didn’t find a suitable replacement for Sekera. He did what a good GM does, he put faith in the players he has. Said faith is now being used against him as the Oilers sit in 28th place with 18pts.

Last night the Oilers had a good 40 which, this season so far, is usually the other way around. A good 20 is what we’ve been getting more often than not. But after getting their asses handed to them by St.Louis in what is being called their “rock-bottom” moment, the boys came back hard to beat the Red Wings in a sparsely populated Little Caesar’s Arena. What’s up with that by the way?

Did the players win that game as they lost 8-3 against the Blues or was this win a product of Peter Chiarelli’s doing? I mean if the Oilers losses are all on Chiarelli, then the wins should be too, no? #PickALane

Next up are the Buffalo Sabres and Arizona Coyotes. Do not underestimate them! I would like the Oilers to take those 4pts of course but the boys have come up on these teams in the past thinking that they’d be an easy win and lost… Badly. But if the Oiler do end up winning both games and the Ducks and Sharks don’t pick up any themselves, they’ll still be in 2nd last place in the Pacific but they’d have made up significant ground which is a lot better than what we’ve been dealing in.

Grab a t-shirt, hoodie, blanket, throw pillow (or a punch pillow as I call them), a travel mug, or even a onesie for the young one over at the BLH Teepublic page! Black Friday Sales will be going on all week, so that means up to 30% off on everything! Click the image below to head over and see if anything tickles your fancy!

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Beer League Hero Written by:

I’m the Beer League Hero! I am from Camrose, Alberta but I make my home in Taipei City, Taiwan. I’ve been through the ups and downs and the highs and the Lowes, the Bonsignores and the McDavids, the Sathers and the Eakins but I’ll never leave my Oilers, no matter what!

They’re with me until the end and then some. GO OILERS GO!

  • Bryan_Griffin

    Very good read, thank you!

  • starvin buffalo

    WRONG: on so many levels. Like hall for larrson. YES we needed Larsson badly but one for one is a AWFUL deal. Peter couldnt even get the 2nd round pick we gave up for him. 1 for 1 he lost out on that trade.
    Reinhart deal= Fail
    Lucic= overpaid on term and money for an aging vet
    Sekera= overpaid on term and dollar
    We all love Dri but 8.5…….
    also when Sekera was hurt yes Peter looked from within but shocker, Edmonton has struggled on Dfence for years and even last year our Dfence just passed. Everyone knows that if we lost anyone in our top 4 D that our Defence was going to be awful. Yes Nurse has been huge but below him our D has struggled. Peter hasnt done anything to address this.

  • Dean Minault

    I blame the Golden Knights…if they haven’t taken Griffin Rienhart, who was the glue that held this team together, the Oil would be outta this predicament!!! Jus sayin