Generational talents like Connor McDavid should keep your team in contention for as long as they play. However, the Edmonton Oilers have continued to flounder for the past two seasons, despite outstanding play from the young star. In light of this, the Oilers fired GM Peter Chiarelli on Tuesday night after three-and-a-half years with the team.
This continues the franchise's rebuild in management
There is no immediate replacement in line for Chiarelli, so Kevin Lowe, Craig MacTavish and Scott Howson will fill in for Chiarelli, according to ESPN. The NHL trade deadline is Feb. 25, so it's poor timing for the team, but Tuesday's loss to the bottom-feeding Red Wings was apparently the final straw. In fact, Chiarelli was fired mid-game so that he could leave Rogers Place quietly.
Peter Chiarelli was fired during the second intermission of last night's game, according to Bob Nicholson. Wanted to give him a chance to leave the building quietly.— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) January 23, 2019
Chiarelli was frequently criticized for not fielding enough talent around McDavid. After Chiarelli joined the organization in 2015, the Oilers made just one playoff appearance (2017). It was understood by most that the Oilers' brass would be on a short leash this season, and 49 points in January simply wasn't good enough to keep Chiarelli around.
Chiarelli, of course, is responsible for the trade that sent Taylor Hall to the Devils for Adam Larsson in 2016. Hall won the Hart Trophy with the Devils last year. On Monday, Chiarelli signed goalie Mikko Koskinen to a three-year extension worth $13.5 million that also included trade protection. Koskinen does have a save percentage of .910, an improvement from last year, but the second-year goalie seems unproven for that deal.
The Oilers are by no means out of the playoff hunt, but they appear to be trending in the wrong direction. Clearly, they're hoping head coach Ken Hitchcock and the think tank can, for the time being, right the ship in Edmonton.