Published: Sun, February 10, 2019
Sports | By Juana Wells

Struggling Edmonton Oilers fire GM Peter Chiarelli

Struggling Edmonton Oilers fire GM Peter Chiarelli

During the second intermission of their game against the Red Wings on Tuesday night, the Oilers met with president of hockey operations and general manager Peter Chiarelli and told him he was sacked.

In April 2018, Chiarelli received a vote of confidence from Oilers CEO Bob Nicholson at a postseason news conference following Edmonton's 12th-place finish in the Western Conference. Nicholson said at a news conference in Edmonton that Keith Gretzky will assume GM responsibilities for the time being, including the point role ahead of the February 25 trade deadline.

The Oilers fired head coach Todd McLellan in November and replaced him with Ken Hitchcock.

The Oilers lost their third in a row on Tuesday night, falling to the Detroit Red Wings at home. However, the Edmonton Oilers have continued to flounder for the past two seasons, despite outstanding play from the young star.

Chiarelli was originally hired to rebuild the Oilers around superstar Connor McDavid in April of 2015, but has struggled to find the right pieces to play alongside the reigning Art Ross Trophy victor.

According to Nicholson, it's up to the current roster to lift the Oilers into a playoff spot once they resume play in February following the All-Star break and bye week.

Chiarelli traded away Hart Trophy victor Taylor Hall for struggling Adam Larsson. They knew the team was going to be drafting a generational talent in Connor Mcdavid that June, and now they have a guy who has won a Stanley Cup and had a reputation as one of the most respected General Managers in hockey in charge of building the supporting cast.

"Were not into a rebuild", Nicholson said. We have good leaders.

In recent days, local bloggers and columnists had been calling for Chiarelli to be fired and some fans at the Wings game chanted "Fire Chiarelli!" Hall won the Hart last season and led the Devils to the playoffs. The first-round pick sent to the Islanders by Edmonton in the trade was used to draft Mathew Barzal, the 2017-18 National Hockey League rookie of the year. He also traded away dependable scorer Jordan Eberle for what ultimately became Ryan Spooner, who was put on waivers this week.

Chiarelli was frequently criticized for not fielding enough talent around McDavid.

There is a new leadership group for the Edmonton Oilers. Beyond the Strome for Spooner deal, Chiarelli sent 24-year-old forward Drake Caggiula to Chicago for bottom-pairing defenseman Brandon Manning. The thinking behind trading Talbot out of town comes from the team recently re-signing goalie Mikko Koskinen to a three-year extension.

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