Is Ex-Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli the Right Fit for Edmonton?


Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

The Edmonton Oilers overhauled their front office Friday, announcing the addition of former Boston Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli. Edmonton is eying a turnaround after years of losing hockey and Chiarelli will be given a prime chance to leave his imprint on the franchise’s return to success.

Chiarelli will serve as the club’s president of hockey operations in addition to his accustomed GM duties. Patrick LaForge, who had been the president, stepped down. Former GM Craig MacTavish will remain in the front office and serve an undetermined role.

This past season the Oilers finished finished 28th out of 30 in the NHL standings. They’ve missed the playoffs for nine consecutive seasons. They hold the first overall pick in this summer’s draft and have held it in three of the past five seasons.

Several solid pieces and ultra-talented players are already in place in Edmonton. Rumors indicate they’ll draft phenom Connor McDavid with the first pick in the draft in June.

MacTavish and prior to him, Kevin Lowe, both failed to succeed as GM’s after leading the Oilers to triumph as players. Chiarelli marks a major change in philosophy, but is he the right fit for a team and fan base starving for relevancy?

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Chiarelli is a Harvard graduate. He understands the ins and outs of the game. He’s a modern thinker and knows building a strong defense is essential to finding postseason success. Despite Chiarelli’s demise in Boston, based on his winning track record, he’s exactly what the Oilers are in desperate need of. He’ll waste little time in enacting his vision for the future of the team.

“I am honored to join such a great organization with a long history of success,” Chiarelli said of the move to Edmonton. “There is a strong, young core here with good complementary players. I hope to bring it to the next level with a measured approach.”

Upon joining the Bruins in 2006, Chiarelli rebuilt the underachieving club from the net out, brining in Tim Thomas, Zdeno Chara and several other defensively responsible players. He also employed defensive mastermind Claude Julien as coach. Boston won a Cup in 2011, made the Cup finals in 2013 and won the President’s Trophy in 2014. The man knows how to craft a winning blueprint.

The Oilers last won a Cup in 1990. With offensive juggernauts in Taylor Hall and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins roaming the forward lines, offense is not an issue in Edmonton. Look for Chiarelli to immediately bolster the team’s defensive ranks moving forward as the Edmonton looks to leave its dreary years behind.

He is an active trader and is not afraid to make bold decisions. He’ll acquire the necessary building blocks needed to win sooner rather than later. He’ll most certainly push a what’s been a rebuilding team into a contending team in the coming years.

“We are delighted to bring a person of Peter’s considerable hockey knowledge and experience to the Edmonton Oilers,” Nicholson said in a statement. “Peter has had success at all levels of the game and we look forward to his leadership,” said team CEO Bob Nicholson of the hire.