Dreger: Feels like Chiarelli operating on borrowed time

The Oilers picked up a win Monday evening, but the amount of pressure facing Peter Chiarelli hasn’t eased up even a little bit.

Darren Dreger had a Tuesday morning radio hit on Montreal’s TSN 690.

At one point, the Insider was asked of the general manager if there was “much of a fear of him doing more damage that’s going to be even harder to undo” as the trade deadline approaches.

“Well, there is a fear among the fan base and the media picked up on it in Edmonton, and I think it’s a fair point,” said Dreger. “I still think that Peter Chiarelli is a good NHL general manager. You can’t wipe away his resume and his history. He’s done some good things. It’s just when you look at the body of the work in Edmonton, a lot of what he’s done has gone sideways, so it has not been good.

“And now, as our colleague Ryan Rishaug noted yesterday, he and the scouting staff of the Oilers are scouring the league looking for help up front. Well, good players aren’t falling off trees, and the problem that the Oilers have is they don’t have to peddle. Obviously they can dangle their first-round pick, but what if things go horribly wrong. Now, the way they played last night it doesn’t seem that’s likely, provided they can apply some consistency to their game. I mean, they’re nibbling at a playoff spot in the West as well.

“But to play devil’s advocate, if things go off the rails entirely and you’re moving that first-round pick, you better be damn certain that whatever is coming back is can’t miss, that it is going to be exactly what Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins need up front to help them play a more consistent game.

“So it does feel like he’s operating on borrowed time because every owner in every market, certainly in the Canadian market, pays attention to the vibe in the community. And the vibe in the community is targeting one man - and that’s Peter Chiarelli.

“So I’ll give him credit, he’s trying to ignore all the noise, but it’s hard to work in that sort of pressure-filled environment - that’s what he’s trying to do.”

With the 7-2 victory over the Buffalo Sabres, the Oilers are one of four teams with 47 points in the Western Conference vying for the final Wild Card spot.