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The Peter Chiarelli Report Card – The Bad

Yesterday, we started our look at Peter Chiarelli nearly two and a half years into his tenure as GM of the Edmonton Oilers. We started by looking at the good moves the GM has made, the positive points on his resume that will help contribute to a higher grade on his report card.

Today, we’ll take a look at the other side of the coin, looking at the bad moves that the GM has made during his time in Edmonton. Admittedly, there are less bad moves, but the impact of those moves is quite large and has had a major impact on the group you see today.

The Bad:

– One of Peter Chiarelli’s first moves in Edmonton ended up being his worst in my opinion. On draft night in 2015, Chiarelli dealt the 16th and 33rd overall picks to the New York Islanders for defender Griffin Reinhart. To me, this is the worst deal Peter Chiarelli has completed since becoming an NHL GM in 2006. The Oilers surrendered two extremely high quality draft choices in one of the deepest drafts in recent memory in order to acquire a massive bust from the 2012 selection process.

Reinhart, who is currently playing a lesser role for the AHL’s Chicago Wolves (Vegas) has proven time and again that he is not an NHL’er and likely never will be. He wasn’t close the day Chiarelli acquired him, and he’s arguably further away now.

Even if you consider Edmonton wouldn’t have taken Matt Barzal with pick 16, they still missed out on a number of potential NHL’ers, including rumored pick Joel Eriksson-Ek.

Chiarelli panicked after Dougie Hamilton was traded to Calgary, and he screwed up in a horrible way as a result.

– One year later, Chiarelli traded Taylor Hall to New Jersey for Adam Larsson. That deal, in terms of the value out and value in, is a massive loss. Adam Larsson is a legit top-four defender in the NHL, and a player who has absolutely helped the Oilers since coming on board. I like Larsson, think he is part of the core and believe he will be helpful moving forward.

The cost to acquire him, however, was far too dear. Taylor Hall is one of the top-five left wingers in the game today and he’ll garner MVP consideration for his work in New Jersey this season. This was another overreaction by Chiarelli, who dealt his second best player after an injury filled season to try and fill a hole. In the process, he ripped another major hole in Edmonton’s roster.

– The replacement for Hall, Milan Lucic, is by far the worst contract on the Edmonton Oilers’ roster. Signed to a $6 million a year cap hit for the next five seasons after this, Lucic has already begun to take the fall off the cliff. He’s proven to not be a fit on the first line, and has had major consistency issues. This isn’t the player that dominated for the Boston Bruins, or even for the LA Kings two years ago. This contract could very well hamper the Oilers for years to come.

– Fast forward to last summer and we see another major misstep by Chiarelli. This time, it’s the deal that sent Jordan Eberle to the New York Islanders for Ryan Strome. It was another Garth Snow robbery of Chiarelli, his third in a five year stretch. Eberle had a down year in 2016-17, but still came in third in team scoring and eclipsed the 50 point mark. This season, Eberle is back to his career norms and will hit the 60 point plateau in Brooklyn.

Strome, on the other hand, has been poor as an Oiler and in my opinion played himself out of the team’s plans. There is no reason to qualify him at a high number this summer, as is required. At least the Oilers aren’t pleased with this deal, signifying they may realize they made a mistake here.

– Kris Russell showed up on the good list because, as a stop-gap one-year option, he was very solid in 2016-17. As a long-term core member, however, he ends up on the bad list. Russell’s time on ice and usage has already decreased, while he still has another three years left on his contract at $4 million per. This deal is another albatross contract by Chiarelli, one that will impact Edmonton’s ability to improve their roster going forward. This is what got Chiarelli fired in Boston.

The Wrap:

As you can see, the overall list is shorter than yesterday, but the impact of these bad moves looms large. Edmonton’s horrible wing depth this season has cost the team in a major way and as we can see, Chiarelli’s moves have severely weakened the team in this regard.

Defensively, the Oilers are much better than at the end of the 2014-15 season. That said, they still aren’t good enough to compete for the Cup, that’s something Chiarelli even admitted himself last off-season. Due to the contracts he has signed, the Oilers really don’t have room to improve on this group. What you see is what you get unless you move someone like Nurse, Sekera or Klefbom. Moving one of them makes almost no sense, and I don’t see how it makes the Oilers a better team.

Peter Chiarelli gave away a franchise winger, a legit top-six winger and two high quality draft picks for one top-four defender and a bottom-six forward. That trade off has made the Edmonton Oilers a worse team, and we are seeing the effects of that this season. Ditto for Chiarelli’s horrid contract signings, which have put the Oilers in cap hell much quicker than was necessary.

Tomorrow, we’ll be back to wrap it all up and give Mr. Chiarelli a final grade for his first two and a half years in Edmonton.

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