Dreger on Oilers’ confidence level in Chiarelli

With the trade deadline approaching next month, a magnifying scope rests squarely on Oilers general manager Peter Chiarelli as the team battles for a playoff berth.

Darren Dreger had a Wednesday afternoon radio hit on Winnipeg’s TSN 1290.

At one point, the Insider was asked if Daryl Katz and Bob Nicholson “have the confidence to let him trade away a young player, or even what could be a very high first-round pick, at the deadline.”

“Well, I’m going to say yes for the moment - otherwise fire him,” said Dreger. “And I’m not being flip, that’s just the reality of the situation. Daryl Katz is the owner. If he doesn’t like how Peter Chiarelli is operating as we have this conversation, then he should fire him. I mean, that’s just the hard knocks of life as an NHL general manager. Chiarelli has been through it before, obviously, in Boston.

“So I believe that they still have confidence in Chiarelli. Otherwise, allowing him to scour the league and look for a forward and Top-4 defenseman, you’re right, doesn’t make a lot of sense.

“In saying all of that, I’d be very surprised if ownership and senior management - and Chiarelli is probably going to be part of these discussions - don’t have some real difficult conversations during the All-Star break. Because beyond the obvious, which is the days leading up to February 25 - the trade deadline - then there’s a bunch of trigger points after that.

“So if you don’t have 100 percent trust in your general manager, then you’d better remedy that situation sooner rather than later. Because you’ve got the deadline looming, then obviously you’ve got the draft after that, you’ve got free agency - these type of organizational-shifting  decisions are never-ending.”