'Chiarelli deserves credit': TSN broadcaster shakes things up praising ex-GM for Edmonton Oilers' success

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This in, a controversial social media post from TSN’s Gord Miller where the high-profile broadcaster gives some credit to former Edmonton Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli for the current success of the Edmonton Oilers making the Stanley Cup final.

Said Miller: “As Edmonton advances to the Stanley Cup Final, Oiler GM Ken Holland is deservedly getting credit for his excellent moves (signing Zach Hyman, trading for Mattias Ekholm, the early season coaching change) but his much-maligned predecessor Peter Chiarelli deserves credit as well.

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“Some of Chiarelli’s moves that paid off? His management group drafted Evan Bouchard (1st rd, 10th overall 2018), Stuart Skinner (3rd rd, 78th overall 2017) and he signed Leon Draisaitl to an 8 year, $8.5m extension, a great contract that was widely criticized at the time.

“Chiarelli’s administration made mistakes, as has Holland’s, which has made several moves it would like back, but every franchise has contracts it would like to get out of and trades it would like to undo. It’s tough to predict future performance and there’s an element of luck. Holland has been beaten up at times in Edmonton, but his Hall of Fame credentials remain intact, the Oilers are a much better team now than they were when he took over five years ago. He’d be the first one to say that some of the key pieces were put in place by Peter Chiarelli.”

Miller’s praise brought out immediate reaction from many long-time Oilers fans:

Oilers fan Brad McPherson Blue Bullet Brad @BlueBullet1981
I am tired of seeing ths type of surface level analysis. Gord is demonstrating how you can come to poor conclusions when you do not go deep enough into the material. If the Oilers win, it is despite Chiarelli and Holland and anyone who has dived into this team knows that.

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Oilers Nation blogger Sid @NHL_Sid
With all due respect Gord, it took the organization until Year 9 of prime McDavid and Draisaitl to win a single game past the second round. As a fan, I’m obviously thrilled right now, but with competent management, this could and should have happened a long time ago.

Oilers fan Scott Kaufmann @ScottKaufmann7
Chia drafted decently, but couldn’t win a pro trade if his life depended on it. Not to mention his terrible signings. He laid some groundwork, but his tenure was largely an abortion.

Oilers fan Matt Henderson Arch @Archaeologuy
I will not be here for the whitewashing of history if the Oilers win the Cup. I promised to not *care* about the Brown contract, but not to deny reality. Holland stole $25M from Katz to not even go all in every year of McDavid’s prime. Nope. No way.

Oilers fan Captain Jack 🏴‍☠️ @OilersJack
Gord the Oilers are happily letting Holland walk right now. Even the Oilers don’t seem to think Holland deserves

Oilers fan Stephen Vani @SjVani92
I don’t 100% agree about Chiarelli but I get where Gord is coming from. They ARE better than when Holland took over. Win or lose, 30 teams would trade their season for ours. We have to remember that Playoff success never comes easy. Now let’s finish the job🙂
#LetsGoOilers

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Oilers fan Romulus’ Apotheosis @RomulusNotNuma
Full credit for Hyman and Ekholm, but the coaching change was largely regression to the mean. A potato would have won 2 cups by now with what Chiarelli and Holland were starting with.

Minnesota Wild fan State of Hoppy @StateOfHoppy
The NHL gives us 6 days between games and this is what it yields: Peter Chiarelli praise

My take

1. There was indeed some good work done in the draft under Chiarelli, but also a squandered pick on Jesse Puljujarvi. There were some good signings and trades, with Andrej Sekera, Cam Talbot, Patrick Maroon and Zack Kassian brought in early in Chiarelli’s tenure. But there was at least one disastrous signing in Milan Lucic, a gargantuan mistake that setback the Oilers significantly, as Lucic quickly faded as a player. Chiarelli also traded two high draft picks to bring in prospect Griffin Reinhart, a move that quickly blew up in Edmonton face. He turned Jordan Eberle into Ryan Strome into Ryan Spooner. Overall, Chiarelli deserves, at best, a C- or D+ for his work

2. Why hot give Chiarelli an F for his work? Because some horrendous bad luck hit the Oilers when he was in charge, namely major injuries to the team’s two best left shot d-men, Andrej Sekera and Oscar Klefbom in the 2017 playoffs. The Oilers won a round in those playoffs and almost beat the Anaheim Ducks. But Sekera and Klefbom got banged up in the playoff grind and were never the same after that. It was a massive blow to the Oilers, one that they’ve only recently recovered from with Holland’s trades for Mattias Ekholm and Brett Kulak.

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3. If Klefbom and Sekera had remained healthy, who knows how well the Oilers might have done in 2017-18 and 2018-19, two seasons that the team regressed, failing to make the playoffs? Now, those same two wasted years also brought the squad top draft picks, with Evan Bouchard and Philip Broberg coming into the organization. There was much short pain here, and it cost Chiarelli his job, but Bouchard is now an NHL superstar and Broberg is showing his quality in these 2024 playoffs.

It was a crooked path that took Edmonton to where it is now but we’re here. Let’s see what happens next, and maybe, in the case of Ken Holland at least, then hand out praise and blame as it is merited. I’ll wait to the end of the next major chapter, the conclusion of the 2024 Stanley Cup finals, to do so myself.

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