Monday, 21 January 2019

How Is He Still Employed?

At this point in his career, you have to wonder if Edmonton Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli is on the phone with agent planning what his next steps are going to be because it seems very unlikely that he survives through to the end of the season after the latest volley of moves he made. His history already had many people questioning how he held onto his job with the Oilers, but the latest moves should spell the end of the Chiarelli era in Edmonton at some point soon. If the Oilers don't make a change, it might just be time to fold the franchise and start over in Houston.

After announcing that the team had waived Ryan Spooner and Ty Rattie - yes, the same Ryan Spooner who was acquired in exchange for Ryan Strome who, in turn, was acquired in exchange for Jordan Eberle - Chiarelli announced that he had signed goaltender Mikko Koskinen to a new three-year, $13.5 million deal, essentially ending Cam Talbot's time in the Alberta capital. Koskinen, I should remind you, has 31 NHL games under his belt and is already 30 years-old.

What the hell is going on in Edmonton?

In seeing Adam Larsson struggle hard this season after Taylor Hall won the Hart Trophy, in seeing Milan Lucic's struggles in his time in an Oilers uniform, in seeing how Kris Russell get $4 million per season, in seeing how Eberle was traded for a woefully-underperforming Ryan Strome only to be dealt for a woefully-disinterested Ryan Spooner only to put him on waivers, in trading Drake Caggiula for the defensively-confused, idiotically-overpriced Brandon Manning, why on earth would Peter Chiarelli commit this kind of money at a guy who arguably has had a good season behind a porous, if not invisible, defence when his comparables are taking accepting contracts for far less money? When his last four games might be a better glimpse of the future with Koskinen sporting a 4.06 GAA and an .877 save percentage? When Chiarelli already has this team in salary cap purgatory?

I had mockingly named Peter Chiarelli as the worst GM in the NHL at the end of December following the trades for Petrovic, Manning, and spare parts, but Chiarelli continues to move the bar lower and lower with every move he makes. Committing to Koskinen now when there are names like Bobrovsky, Varlamov, and Lehner potentially going to free agency makes no sense. Especially when you consider that both Koskinen's and Talbot's contracts would be off the books.

Everything about this move reeks of Chiarelli doing anything and everything to keep his job. The fact that both Bob Nicholson and Daryl Katz are allowing this charade to continue at the expense of the team and Connor McDavid's best years is both incomprehensible and rage-inducing. And I'm not even an Oilers fan.

The mess that Chiarelli has made in Edmonton won't be easy to clean up, but the first thing that needs to be done is removing Chiarelli from his position to prevent any further damage from being done. His history with the team will likely go down as one of the darkest in the team's history despite them having the league's brightest star, and that's a rather incredible amount of futility to own.

Fire Peter Chiarelli. It's the only move the team has left that will win them any support from the fans in Edmonton.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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