JONES: Chiarelli largely left himself as a general manager of lame duck


Dead ahead for the Edmonton Oilers could be dead ahead.

For the 11th time in 12 years – and for the third time in four years featuring the biggest player in the game in Connor McDavid – the Oilers appear to be a sinking ship.

Every once in a while you have to remember that it's January 10 and the Oilers are not dead yet, which in itself is an achievement. This team of & # 39; Love Me, Love Me & # 39; has managed so far to avoid another season and fall again in the lottery.

But do not look down.

On the one hand, the Oilers return from their four-game trip to the American Southwest just two points south of a playoff spot. And the team starts the final seven games with six of them at home before the extended 10-day break for the CBA. Five of these next seven games are also against teams currently out of a playoff position.

But despite early January, not mid-March, watching them play two wins together in their last 10 games indicates that it is now the Survival Season.

Edmonton is the 21st overall in the NHL and entered yesterday's game only six points ahead of the 31st Ottawa Senators. They are a team that once had a run of 8-1-1, hit a 1-6-1 that made Todd McLellan get fired, went 9-2-2 with Ken Hitchcock when he appeared and is now 2-8.

Edmonton Oilers head coach Ken Hitchcock on the bench during NHL hockey game action against the Dallas Stars in Edmonton on Tuesday 27 November 2018.

Larry Wong /


Confidence in Chiarelli next to nothing

The public's confidence in the general manager, who less than a month ago seemed to have saved himself, fell to near zero.

With the start of 9-2-2 under Hitchcock, Alex Chiasson's emergence of a PTO on the training ground produced 17 goals and the success of Mikko Koskinen, KHL goalkeeper of $ 2.5 million, who won seven straight home games until the league figured out he can not stop aside, Chiarelli looked like he might be putting his sorry season to control the Oilers in the playoffs last year.

If Chiarelli seemed to have rediscovered his genius in the 103-point playoff year two years ago, the house of cards he built collapsed with injuries to defenders Oscar Klefbom and Kris Russell.

Chiarelli did nothing to fix the need for a top right and left back in the off-season and left no remaining salary space and suddenly he bit his butt.

Now Edmonton fans fear their only remaining option is to pull the trigger for another terrible offense involving a talent like Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.

After his $ 6 million a year contract to sign Milan Lucic, who has four years to run, and the deals that led him to negotiate with Hart Trophy winner Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle and what he gave up get Griffin Reinhart, the inevitable conclusion is that halfway through his season of making or breaking, Chiarelli largely left himself as a general manager of pricked limbs.

Edmonton Oilers hockey operations president and general manager Peter Chiarelli speaks to the media about the team's recent business at Rogers Place in Edmonton on Monday, December 31, 2018.

David Bloom /


He entered the season knowing he needed to make the playoffs to save his job. The Oilers come home with 43 points in 43 games. That projects to 82 in 82 and this does not give you a playoff position.

Everyone in town can tell that the Oilers have three of the best players in McDavid, Leon Draisaitl and Nugent-Hopkins along with one of the best stories of the year in Chiasson. But they can not take action because most of the support cast that Chiarelli provided continues to be, most of the time, shaking and failing.

An insane team to cover

Klefbom is unlikely to be back until the Oilers complete the next stage of their programming and Chiarelli's latest spending on the last dollar available with his poorly managed pay ceiling – Brandon Manning and Alex Petrovic – have not yet been less incompetent. than anyone else. back there.

And who knows what you will achieve on any night in the goal of Cam Talbot or Koskinen, especially behind the defense as it is currently built.

When the Oilers are good, they can look very good. But when they are bad, they can be very, very bad. Evidence of the recent road trip. In Phoenix and Anaheim, the Oilers were good. In Los Angeles and San Jose, they were very, very bad.

They are an insane team to cover.

When things start to get better, this team dives into the bathroom. Only when things seem gloomy do they emerge from the depths of despair.

But far ahead is very likely the number of games that are likely to tell the story.

Tyler Toffoli # 73 of the Los Angeles Kings celebrates their goal with Drew Doughty # 8, Adrian Kempe # 9 and Carl Hagelin # 62 behind Ryan Nugent-Hopkins # 93 of Edmonton Oilers to take a 2-0 lead over first period at the Staples Center on January 5, 2019 in Los Angeles, California.

Harry as /

Getty Images

Home is where the opportunity is

There are seven games between now and January 22, when the Oilers hit the All-Star record. Home to Florida on Thursday with visits from Arizona, Buffalo, Calgary, Carolina and Detroit with a game in Vancouver – you certainly think this team can find some success somewhere.

In fact, it seems that only when they most need it, the opportunity may have presented itself.

The problem with this is the last time the opportunity presented itself, the Oilers had five consecutive home games to finish in December and they lost all five.

So that's a fair question.

Is he dead ahead? Dead ahead?


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