As a huge legal and moral battle is going on between the province of British Columbia and Alberta over the construction of a pipeline, the Edmonton Oilers seem to be pedaling in oil sands, and they appear to be closer to a spill catastrophe than on their way to up their production… and unlike the pipeline dilemma, not even Justin Trudeau and the Liberal Government can buy them a solution. Much like Alberta Premier Rachel Notley, Peter Chiarelli‘s popularity is rapidly fading away and by the end of May, we could very well see some new blood in both positions, trying to fix the mess left behind by their counterparts.
But how can a franchise with Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl as their cornerstones be in such a mess year in, year out? It’s a combination of things, really, but the main one appears to be poor scouting, drafting and/or player development. I mean, it’s not like the Oilers didn’t get their chances to turn things around over recent years!
Since 2007, the Oilers have drafted 88 players. 15 of those players were drafted in the first round alone and to make matters worse, only twice have them picked further than 20th overall, when they selected 22nd in 2008 and 2017)!
In those 12 years, they had 10 Top-10 overall selections. Six (6) of those picks were in the Top-5 including four (4) first overall picks! No other team in the NHL has come anywhere close to having so many quality picks in that time span.
But there is more than the poor choices in their first round picks. When a team finishes so low in the standings, it also means that they often get to select early in each round there after. But ff the 73 other picks from rounds 2-7, only eight (8) have played 100 NHL games or more.
- *Anton Lander (215)
- Brandon Davidson (161)
- *Martin Marincin (185)
- *Tyler Pitlick (177)
- Tobias Rieder (342)
- Erik Gustafsson (118)
- Jujhar Khaira (133)
- Anton Slepyshev (102)
*Second round picks
Peter Chiarelli has completed several trades but force is to admit that very few had a positive impact on the Oilers.
|2015||Griffin Reinhart||Martin Marincin|
|Cam Talbot||Brad Ross|
|Eric Gryba||Travis Ewanyk|
|Lauri Korpikoski||Boyd Gordon|
|Anders Nilsson||Liam Coughlin|
|Zack Kassian||Ben Scrivens|
|2016||Niklas Lundstrom||Philip Larsen|
|Patrick Maroon||Justin Schultz|
|Adam Larsson||Teddy Purcell|
|Zach Pochiro||Anders Nilsson|
|2017||Henrik Samuelsson||Mitchell Moroz|
|David Desharnais||Brandon Davidson|
|Justin Fontaine||Taylor Beck|
|Ryan Strome||Jordan Eberle|
|Michael Cammalleri||Jussi Jokinen|
|2018||Al Montoya||Brandon Davidson|
|Pontus Aberg||Mark Letestu|
|J.D. Dudek||Patrick Maroon|
|Cooper Marody||Jakub Jerabek|
|Nolan Vesey||Ryan Strome|
In addition to the trades he’s made, Chiarelli has had several free agents’ signing. Some have been pleasant surprises, most have been disappointments.
|2015||Andrej Sekera||6 year $33M|
|Mark Letestu||3 year $5.4M|
|Anders Nilsson||1 year $1M|
|Justin Schultz||1 year $3.9M|
|Tyler Pitlick||1 year $761K|
|Brandon Davidson||1 year $585K|
|2016||Milan Lucic||7 year $42M|
|Jonas Gustavsson||1 year $800K|
|Kris Russell||1 year $3.1M|
|Eric Gryba||1 year $950K|
|2017||Ryan Stanton||2 year $1.4M|
|Ty Rattie||1 year $700K|
|Brad Malone||2 year $1.3M|
|Jussi Jokinen||1 year $1.1M|
|2018||Tobia Reider||2 year $2.3M|
|Kyle Brodziak||2 year 2.3M|
|Ryan Strome||2 year $6.2M|
|Jason Garrison||1 year $650K|
|Alex Chiasson||1 year $650K|
Now remember folks… this team has McDavid and Draisaitl as a draw and unlike the Pittsburgh Penguins with Sidney Crosby, the Oilers have yet to draw key free agents to Edmonton. They are still questionable in net, they still have some gaping holes on defense, and their secondary scoring is pretty much inexistant. How is that even possible?
Peter Chiarelli lost his job as the Boston Bruins’ General Manager mostly because he painted himself in a corner, tying his own hands, by mis-managing the team’s salary cap. In three years, he seems to have done the same with the Oilers.
According to Capfriendly, Edmonton is the NHL’s team with the fourth highest cap only behind the Detroit Red Wings, the Washington Capitals and the Anaheim Ducks. Worse, they have no help in sight as they have $68.5M committed to 13 players in 2019-2020. Their only pending UFA’s are Alex Petrovic ($1.9M), Kevin Gravel ($700K), Alex Chiasson ($650K), as well as their two goaltenders, Cam Talbot ($4.2M) and Mikko Koskinen ($2.5M). Chiasson has 17 goals for the Oilers in 34 games so far, so he will require a substantial raise if Edmonton wants to retain his services. Gotta feel for those Oilers’ fans who are suffering through tough seasons year after year, only to see their team mismanaged to the point of wasting some key prime years of McDavid and Draisaitl.
Since Habs’ fans like to compare, let’s have a look at the draft history since 2007. The Canadiens have drafted 84 players in that time span. 12 of those were first round picks and only three (3) were Top-10, two (2) of which were Top-5 and none were first overall.
|2008||No 1st round pick|
You will notice that Six (6) of those 12 first round picks were selected 22nd overall or later. Now off the 72 remaining picks from rounds 2-7, the Canadiens have drafted seven (7) players with more than 100 NHL games, with Victor Mete closing in on that mark with his 82 games.
- Yannick Weber (431)
- P.K. Subban (607)
- Brendan Gallagher (450)
- Charles Hudon (102)
- Sven Andrighetto (177)
- Artturi Lehkonen (183)
- Jacob De la Rose (152)
Further, if you look into both teams’ pipelines, the Canadiens are well ahead of the Oilers with blue chip quality depth prospects. The future is bring in Montreal red… but there’s a lot of work to do before fans in Edmonton can wear their Oilers’ orange with pride. Go Habs Go!