While Peter Chiarelli was able to return the Boston Bruins to glory, he wasn’t able to do the same with the Edmonton Oilers, and it cost him his job early Wednesday morning.
The Oilers fired Chiarelli as president of hockey operations and general manager, according to multiple reports. It’s unclear whether the Oilers will officially name an interim GM, but Sportsnet John Shannon’s reported Keith Gretzky will take over Chiarelli’s duties in the coming weeks leading up to the Feb. 25 trade deadline.
The timing of the decision is quite telling. As TSN’s Ryan Rishaug, who broke the news, pointed out on TSN’s “SportsCentre,” teams around the NHL are gearing up for the deadline. That makes it harder to get permission to speak with possible candidates, and it’s just rare that these sorts of things happen midseason.
But as Rishaug notes, Edmonton just couldn’t justify Chiarelli calling the shots any longer.
“I think the timing of this, it’s maybe less about who comes in right now in this moment and more about the organization no longer being comfortable with Peter Chiarelli having his hands on the wheel hurtling toward an important trade deadline for this team,” Rishaug said on “SportsCentre.”
Improbably, despite a ridiculous run of good luck in the draft lottery, Edmonton once again finds itself in the midst of a rebuild. Already on their eighth coach in 11 years, the Oilers must now find a new architect with hopes of building around Connor McDavid, arguably the best player in the NHL.
Edmonton hired Chiarelli just 10 days after the Bruins fired him following the 2015 season. Despite a 103-point season and a trip to the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs in 2017, the Oilers never really took the next step under Chiarelli, whose run of questionable trades and draft picks have the club stuck in neutral as McDavid enters his prime.
Edmonton’s loss to Detroit on Tuesday night, their third straight, dropped them below .500 on the season, just five points clear of last place in the Western Conference.
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