The Edmonton Oilers have announced they’ve hired former Boston Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli as general manager and president of hockey operations.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It didn’t take Chiarelli long to find new employment after he was fired last week by the Boston Bruins. By getting the president of hockey ops gig as well as the GM job, he’s ensured he won’t be second-guessed or risk having a power-hungry boss giving him the boot after a difficult season. I confess I’m surprised he also got the GM gig, expecting Craig MacTavish, who’s only been in the job two years, would get an opportunity to prove himself to Chiarelli.
It’s a good move by the Oilers. They desperately needed to do away with the perception of the “old boys’ network” dominating the Oilers front office. It was time for both an experienced hand in the management chair, as well someone from well outside the Oilers organization with a proven record of success. Chiarelli’s hiring could also mean interim coach Todd Nelson won’t be back, at least not as head coach next season.
Chiarelli is joining the Oilers at a time of significant excitement, as the club recently won the NHL Draft Lottery and are all but certain to select Connor McDavid with the first-overall pick. Chiarelli’s predecessor said there was zero chance he would trade that pick, and I feel safe in assuming Chiarelli won’t deviate from that plan.
He’s also inherited a foundation of talented young forwards but little else throughout the Oilers lineup. Chiarelli isn’t afraid to make bold moves, which could mean one or two of those young forwards could be shopped. He must find a proven starting goaltender, a top-two defenseman and skilled checking line depth if the Oilers are to move up into playoff contention.
It’s a tall order, but Chiarelli built upon a foundation of promising young forwards in Boston, turning the Bruins from a laughingstock into a Cup champion. He could very well do the same in Edmonton.