Former Boston Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli has only been in Edmonton for a little over a month, but he’s already made some huge changes.
The new director of hockey operations and general manager for the Edmonton Oilers, Chiarelli has made quick work of dismantling the club’s scouting department. The first few to go — which included head amateur scout Stu MacGregor and head pro scout Morey Gare — were long-tenured, high-ranking members of the team’s scouting division; now, he’s dismissed a few more.
#Oilers amateur scouts Brad Davis & Kent Hawley, pro scout Dave Semenko, Director of Coaching & Special Projects Billy Moores also relieved.
— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) June 22, 2015
MacGregor and Gare were both somewhat expected moves, with the club’s likely successor for MacGregor already in the system and a few weeks still to find a replacement for Gare. Seeing the slew of additional personnel relieved as well, though, seems a bit more alarming to the casual bystander.
The timeline for the dismissals that Chiarelli made may seem a bit laggy, since there’s been a month for the new manager to dismiss those he wants gone and potentially begin bringing in new talent. It’s also strange to see so many dismissed with so little time before the NHL draft — the second round of announced dismissals was reported on Monday morning, with the Entry Draft beginning on Friday.
Chiarelli was frank in his assessment of the team’s scouts, though — and based on what he said, there may be more out the door.
“We have to get better drafting and developing players.”
Chiarelli is coming from a team that has some of the best scouted and drafted players in the league brought in under his tenure; he selected Brad Marchand as a third round pick, helped with the trade that enabled him to draft Tyler Seguin and Dougie Hamilton for Phil Kessel, and dealt Dennis Wideman and one of Boston’s three first round picks in 2010 for Nathan Horton and Greg Campbell. He also drafted David Pastrnak in the bottom of the first round just last summer, and his personnel managed to assemble lines that effectively utilized Milan Lucic as a first line winger and boosted Reilly Smith‘s production to top six numbers. Things fell apart in 2014-2015 with the limited cap space provided, but it’s hard to deny that Peter Chiarelli knows what he’s talking about with both drafting and development.
For the Oilers, though, things need to be changed in a fairly significant way during not just the draft — they need improvement during free agency as well, particularly in net. Unless Chiarelli already has people in place to take these positions, he may have just made a bit of a misstep moving forward.