Thursday, June 29, 2017


There's some real shit going down in Edmonton, huh?  I wrote a bit about this already, but some more stuff happened (or is about to) so I wanna unload on the Oilers, or more specifically their GM, a little more.

So, Peter Chiarelli.  There are some die-hard cheerleaders, and the water-carriers in the media, who will defend everything he does to the death, I mean there are still people who think he won the Hall trade, but generally speaking these are the same people who think Matt Hendricks is the reason the team was good last season, so for the most part you can just ignore these folks because they're obviously idiots.  Chia is certainly not a guy who shies away swinging for the fences, he gets up there and he takes his cuts, which is more than I can say for a lot of NHL GMs who are terrified to make a trade because they're worried it might not work out.  Chia doesn't give a shit, he'll trade anybody if he think's it's a good deal, the problem is, what he thinks is a "good deal" and what's actually a "good deal" are frequently a long way apart.

The first time he dealt away a young star was the Kessel trade, which worked out great for Boston but only because the Leafs were atrocious that year.  That got him Seguin and Hamilton, so full credit to him, he hit this one out of the park.  Problem is, he then traded Seguin for Loui Eriksson and some spare parts, and people tend to forget about this one but he also traded Blake Wheeler for Rich Peverley, and boy that didn't age well.  He also mangled the Bruins' salary cap to the point where they had to give Johnny Boychuk to the Islanders, which I think was the last straw for his Bruins bosses.

Now people will say, "yeah but he won a cup" and that's true, you can't take that away from him, but when he was hired the Bs had Bergeron and Krejci down the middle, Chara on the blueline, and Tim Thomas in net.  He didn't build a cup-winner so much as inherit it.  Anyway, a couple of years ago the Bruins finish 9th and miss the playoffs, and Chia gets canned, so the Oilers scoop him up.  And what's the first thing he does as Oilers GM?  He trades a 1st and a 2nd for Griffin Reinhart, who spent most of the last 2 years in the AHL and is now a Vegas Golden Knight.  In fairness, he also got Cam Talbot out of New York, and that worked out pretty well.

Now the Oilers stunk for a decade, but that's OK, because it meant they got to pick at or near the top of the draft a bunch of times in a row (including falling ass-backward into Connor McDavid).  And what do you get when you have a bunch of high picks?  You get a bunch of talented young players.  And what does Chia do with talented youngsters?  That's right!  He trades them!  Last summer it was Hall for Larsson, and this summer it's Eberle for Strome, and right now the smart money is next summer it'll be Nuge for a new zamboni and some port-a-potties for the concourse.

Any way you spin it, the Oil just didn't get good value for either of those guys, but that's not all Chia did.  Last summer he gave big money and term to his old Bruin buddy Milan Lucic, now I didn't hate this move but if his play drops off at all that contract is going to be a problem, and this offseason he re-upped Kris Russel to a 4X4 deal, like I said last time I think Russel's OK but he's not with 16 million bucks.  So I don't love the Russell extension, but now it comes out that Florida is under orders to slash $$ from their payroll, and the guy they want to move is Jason Demers.   He makes a little more money than Russell does but unlike Russell, Demers can actually pass the puck and doesn't spend all of his time trapped in his own end, and if you could have him for a song why on earth would you take Russell instead?

On to Draisaitl and McDavid.  We all know that offer sheets basically never happen in the NHL, but there was some chatter on the interwebs that maybe some team out there would try and offer-sheet Draisaitl.  I guess this story got enough traction that Chia got asked about it in an interview, and he went on record saying that the Oilers would match any offer made.  Now that is just a damn stupid thing to say, because if I'm an NHL GM and I hear that, why wouldn't I drop a 4-year, 40-million dollar offer on him just like, "have fun with that, idiot".  Like I said it almost certainly won't happen, but it really, really should.  And why should NHL GMs want to force Chia to over-pay Draisaitl?  Because McDavid is on the verge of signing a deal that's going to pay him 13+ million dollars a year, that's why.  Now no matter what it ends up costing, McDavid is worth it, no question, if he's not already the best player in the world, then he will be soon.  But 13 million bucks is a lot of cake, so if you can make him over-pay for Drais, then maybe you force him to make some other questionable moves, like what happened with Boychuk...

In completely unrelated news, the Oilers announced today that they'd be buying out Benoit Pouliot, and there's so much wrong with this that I don't know where to start.  Now sure, he had a rough year, and he's got 2 years left at 4 million per, but by buying him out, that becomes 4 years at 1.33 million per.  So yeah, you're freeing up some space now, but at the expense of space down the road, which is when you're actually going to need it.  And rather than buying him out, could you not have moved him someplace by agreeing to retain half of his salary?  Surely some team out there would be willing to take a chance on him for 2 million a year, that's less than friggin' Matt Martin makes for crying out loud.  And if you CAN'T move him even if you retain 50%, then could you not just ride this out for 1 more year, and then buy him out next summer, when it'll hurt you less?  Send him to the AHL?  Something?  Maybe they've got big plans for that 2.75 million in cap space this season, but if that's the case then Oilers fans should REALLY be worried.

So yeah, there's Chiarelli, digging into the batter's box and flailing away, hoping to connect on a no-doubter.  I want the Oilers to be good, I really do, and I expect that next year they will be, but I just look at his body of work, and it seems to me the misses far outnumber the hits, and the task gets a hell of a lot harder after this year because Connor's salary increases by a cool 10 million bucks, and does Chia really seem like the right guy for the job?  I dunno.  When the Oilers win the cup in 4 years, don't forget to remind me what an idiot I am.


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