Peter Chiarelli is out as the general manager of the Edmonton Oilers after three-and-a-half seasons.
TSN’s Ryan Rishaug reported the firing following the Oilers third straight home loss, 3-2 to the Detroit Red Wings. The Oilers are in position to miss the playoffs for the 12th time in the past 13 years. Through 50 games this season, the Oilers have a 23-24-3 record and are currently three points back of the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference with three teams in front of them.
The Oilers reached the postseason and topped the 100-point in Chiarelli’s second season with the team, but regressed badly last season, missing the playoffs by 17 points.
Both Chiarelli and head coach Todd McLellan were retained last spring, though McLellan was fired by Chiarelli 20 games into this season and replaced by Ken Hitchcock.
Chiarelli exits Edmonton after having made a series of moves to reshape the franchise with mixed results.
The biggest acquisition of Chiarelli’s tenure was that of McDavid through the NHL draft lottery. The native of Richmond Hill, Ont., has emerged as a generational superstar. Arguably the game’s best player, McDavid already has two Art Ross Trophies, a Hart Trophy and Ted Lindsay Award to his name through three seasons.
While McDavid is an unbridled success, Chiarelli’s other decisions have not paid dividends.
Chiarelli traded Taylor Hall to the New Jersey Devils in June of 2016 for defenceman Adam Larsson. While Larsson has been a serviceable performer for the Oilers, Hall has blossomed into a star for the Devils, winning the Hart Trophy last season.
The trade of Jordan Eberle to the New York Islanders also didn’t work out as planned. The winger was dealt following a postseason in which he only tallied two points in 13 games in exchange for Ryan Strome. Eberle is on pace to record his seventh straight season of 20 or more goals this year, while Strome posted 34 points last season and was traded to the New York Rangers for Ryan Spooner in November. Spooner was waived by the Oilers two months later.
Big-ticket signings did not pan out for Chiarelli either. After scoring 23 goals in the first season of a seven-year, $42 million deal with Oilers, Milan Lucic has struggled to produce in Edmonton.
The 31-year-old winger went 29 games without scoring a goal last season and is on pace for career-worst offensive totals this season.
The Oilers have $31.1 million committed in cap space – 39 per cent of this year’s cap – to McDavid ($12.5 million), Leon Draisaitl ($8.5 million), Lucic ($6 million) and Oscar Klefbom ($4.17 million) through 2022-23, when Lucic and Klefbom’s contracts will expire.
A native of Nepean, Ont., Chiarelli joined the Oilers after eight seasons as the GM of the Boston Bruins. Chiarelli’s Bruins were Stanley Cup champions in 2011, defeating the Vancouver Canucks.
Chiarelli, 54, broke into the NHL in 1999 as an assistant GM with the Ottawa Senators, following years working as a player agent.