Public sentiment has not been kind toward the Oilers lately, so what might Peter Chiarelli have in store on the horizon?
A pair of weekend losses to the Calgary Flames and Carolina Hurricanes did not leave a good taste in the collective mouths of the Oilers’ fan base, and it was followed up by roster moves Monday that only brought back some of the reasons for the disdain toward the team’s general manager.
“When I sent that tweet out - I’m not a guy who really checks my mentions a lot anymore, and I absolutely do not believe in getting in Twitter fights with anyone for any reason,” began Elliotte Friedman during a Monday afternoon radio hit on Calgary’s Sportsnet 960. “But I knew as I pressed ‘tweet,’ I just knew what the reaction was going to be. And I don’t think that anybody is surprised that that’s how it came out.
“Look, the past is the past. You have to learn from it, but you can’t keep throwing good money after bad. If you just believe that Spooner can’t help you anymore, then that’s the move you have to make regardless of what the trade tree is going to be, or what anyone is going to make of it.
“I wonder if they’re trying to clear some room to do something. If Rattie goes down to the minors, he doesn’t count anything against your cap. And if Spooner goes down to the minors, you save $1.05 million.
“So part of me kind of wonders if the Oilers are trying to create some flexibility to do something. That’s going to save them about $2 million. We’ll see.
“I heard some rumors the other day about maybe having some interest in Burakovsky. Now, somebody threw cold water on that to me today. We’ll see.
“But I’d be very curious to see if it’s just a change, or they’re trying to clear some room to do something.”
Burakovsky, who will turn 24 in a few weeks, is on a two-year, $6 million contract, after which he can become a restricted free agent eligible for arbitration.
As the conversation on 960 continued, Friedman was asked about the team being hell-bent to make the playoffs this season - which he agrees they are - providing the Insider the chance to cover some of the ground he explained last week.
The key note on the deal front from Monday’s segment was this: “I think if they trade one of their young assets, whether it’s a pick or a young player, I think they’re only doing it for something that’s controllable. I don’t think they’re doing that for a rental. I don’t believe that’s the plan.”
Another Oilers-related issue followed on 960.
Friedman was basically asked about Chiarelli’s potential future with the team, how GMs aren’t usually dismissed in-season, and how that translates with the lack of confidence in Chiarelli when it comes to making trades.
“I think everybody is wondering the same thing,” noted Friedman. “If you’re going to make a change - look, I think there were probably people who woke up this morning expecting or thinking that something might happen today. I know people were on high alert. Obviously nothing has happened.
“I think if you’re going to do anything, you’re going to do it now, or at least this week. But I don’t know. I don’t have any evidence that that’s going to happen 100 percent. I think we’ve all kind of wondered if it would happen. He’s under a lot of heat, there’s no question about it.
“I think if there’s anything going on there right now in terms of what they’re doing as a team in terms of a potential move, I’m sure it’s a collaborative effort as much as anything.
“I mean, the bottom line is if you do want to make the change, you have people there you can put on an interim basis who know what that organization has been up to. Keith Gretzky is a guy who has been intimately involved, for example. You could make him the interim GM, if you wanted to. I’m not saying that’s going to happen, but you could do it, and then try and see if you could figure something else.
“But like I said, if you think anything is going to happen where there’s going to be a change, it would be sometime this week. But there’s no proof anything is going to occur.”
It was several minutes later during that segment where Friedman broke the news of the Oilers’ contract extension for Mikko Koskinen, and then reacted to it.
Contract-related info via CapFriendly