Is it composition or is it execution? Who knows these days with the Edmonton Oilers. If you look at Peter Chiarelli, he is the one who’s turned Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle, Justin Schultz, Mat Barzal and Anthony Beauvillier into Adam Larsson, Ryan Spooner, Filip Berglund and Griffin Reinhart.
The Taylor Hall trade is something I’ll somewhat defend, the Oilers made the playoffs the year after and you’ll overpay everyday of the week for a right shot defensemen who can eat up the minutes that Larsson does. But at the same time they traded the league MVP. The Eberle trade happened a year too soon, Chiarelli traded him for Ryan Strome to save $3.5 million but that was used on cap space and Eberle had 59 points compared to Strome’s 34.
The most inexcusable trade was trading the 16th and 33rd picks for Griffin Reinhart, those picks turned out to be Mat Barzal who won the Calder trophy and then pick 33 turned into 27 and the Islanders took Anthony Beauvillier who is looking to be a fine top 9 forward. At the time I would of preferred Ryan Pulock (32 points in 66 games in 2018) or no trade at all, but there are many reports out there that the Oilers would of selected Joel Eriksson Ek at 16 which adds to the dysfunctional management title Oilers brass has been given.
Todd McLellan had some great years with San Jose but never could get over the hump and it seemed his time was up after missing the playoffs in 2015. He was scooped up in Edmonton with a rookie Connor McDavid, the next year he made the playoffs and looked to be on his way.
Nowadays you look at where this team is at now and you’re tempted to call Joel Quenneville to see if he’s interested. There is the old saying ‘you can’t bring a knife to the gunfight’ and that’s how I see this. It happened in LA, Chicago and now it’s happening in Edmonton. McLellan has not been given the pieces to compete, plain and simple. But at the same time, he left Milan Lucic on the Oilers powerplay for almost an entire season, he started this year with 5 left handed shots on the powerplay, he has not been able to motivate Jesse Puljujarvi by playing him on the 4th line. His special teams were amongst the worst in the NHL.
Now at the same time you look at McLellan and who was his best option for the Powerplay? Ryan Strome? Ty Rattie? No and No. You can’t fault him for much but every GM seems to use a “get out of jail free card” by firing their coach, and this tweet by Chiarelli’s former player Marc Savard says it all.
(Jason Franson/The Canadian Press via AP)