Who is actually making the decisions?

Who is actually making the decisions?


Who is actually making the decisions?


Peter Chiarelli has finally been put out of his misery. The fans have been gifted a small reprieve but, in light of the Koskinen signing just being announced, does it logically follow that Chiarelli was still making the decisions at the time of the signing? I mentioned on the Oilers Rig Radio yesterday that the only way (in regards to Chiarelli) the Koskinen signing made sense was a) Chiarelli is not getting fired OR b) Chiarelli is not really making the decisions. Obviously Chiarelli was fired so point b likely has some teeth. So who is actually making the decisions?

Last week Jason Gregor wrote this in his game-day blog over at Oilers Nation:

Yamamoto and Puljujarvi were drafted as offensive players, but neither is producing much in the NHL this season. Yet tonight the Oilers will dress both on the right wing.

Is this really what is best for the players and the long-term future of the Oilers? How can so many people in the organization believe this? A source has told me this is not just Peter Chiarelli’s decision. Many in the organization want Puljujarvi here. This is why even if they fire Chiarelli I’m not sold it fixes the underlying problem of the organization.

Gregor is as plugged in to the team as anyone in the local media. It is also not the first time I have read (or heard) a mainstream media member hint that there are numerous voices who have a say in player personnel decisions. It is very easy to see how this could be true; the Oilers have been making the same mistakes for years:

  • Overpaying Free Agents
  • Poor Pro Scouting
  • Poor Amateur Scouting
  • Losing trades
  • Rushing young players into the NHL lineup
  • Overvaluing gritty, grinding players over skill
  • Can’t develop or coach goalies

There are likely more, but the point is made. So at the dawn of rebuild 4.0 (5.0? which one are we on?) it is a fair question to ask, “who is actually making the decisions?”

The Oilers have three members of their management team who are also former NHL general managers. Kevin Lowe was the GM of the Oilers from 2000-2009. MacTavish held the same position from 2013-2015. Scott Howson, who is a long-time member of the Oilers management team, left the Oilers for a period when he took the position of GM with the Columbus Blue Jackets from 2007-2013. Through the decade of darkness and now at the beginning of the next one, it is not a stretch (based on the evidence) to suggest these three men are still heavily involved in player personnel decisions. The mistakes have been the same for over a decade and the same three guys are still employed within the organization. It may just be a coincidence, but does a simple coincidence seem likely? It doesn’t to me but it is possible I may need to be fitted for a tin foil hat.


Given the timing of both the Koskinen signing and Peter Chiarelli’s dismissal I find it tough to believe that he was solely responsible for the decisions that have put the Oilers in a brutal position (with regards to player personnel and the salary cap). Local media has hinted that there are unnamed others within the Oilers organization who are heavily involved in the decisions. A good bet is at least three of them are pictured above. Why? the same mistakes were being made long before Peter Chiarelli arrived in Edmonton. It is hard to explain what has unfolded any other way. While Chiarelli needed to go and he made things worse, the firings should not stop with him. The entire management team needs to go otherwise the mistakes will continue. There is just no proof to the contrary.

Maybe it is just me.

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