Edmonton’s Crude Oil Reality

As a huge legal and moral battle is going on between the province of British Columbia and Alberta over the construction of a pipeline, the Edmonton Oilers seem to be pedaling in oil sands, and they appear to be closer to a spill catastrophe than on their way to up their production… and unlike the pipeline dilemma, not even Justin Trudeau and the Liberal Government can buy them a solution. Much like Alberta Premier Rachel Notley, Peter Chiarelli‘s popularity is rapidly fading away and by the end of May, we could very well see some new blood in both positions, trying to fix the mess left behind by their counterparts.

But how can a franchise with Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl as their cornerstones be in such a mess year in, year out? It’s a combination of things, really, but the main one appears to be poor scouting, drafting and/or player development. I mean, it’s not like the Oilers didn’t get their chances to turn things around over recent years!

Connor McDavid

Since 2007, the Oilers have drafted 88 players. 15 of those players were drafted in the first round alone and to make matters worse, only twice have them picked further than 20th overall, when they selected 22nd in 2008 and 2017)!

In those 12 years, they had 10 Top-10 overall selections. Six (6) of those picks were in the Top-5 including four (4) first overall picks! No other team in the NHL has come anywhere close to having so many quality picks in that time span.

2007Sam Gagner6th
Alex Plante15th
Riley Nash21st
2008Jordan Eberle22nd
2009Magnus Paajarvi10th
2010Taylor Hall1st
2011Ryan Nugent-Hopkins1st
Oscar Klefbom19th
2012Nail Yakupov1st
2013Darnell Nurse7th
2014Leon Draisaitl3rd
2015Connor McDavid1st
2016Jesse Puljujarvi4th
2017Kailer Yamamoto22nd
2018Evan Bouchard10th

But there is more than the poor choices in their first round picks. When a team finishes so low in the standings, it also means that they often get to select early in each round there after. But ff the 73 other picks from rounds 2-7, only eight (8) have played 100 NHL games or more.

  • *Anton Lander (215)
  • Brandon Davidson (161)
  • *Martin Marincin (185)
  • *Tyler Pitlick (177)
  • Tobias Rieder (342)
  • Erik Gustafsson (118)
  • Jujhar Khaira (133)
  • Anton Slepyshev (102)

*Second round picks

Peter Chiarelli has completed several trades but force is to admit that very few had a positive impact on the Oilers.

2015Griffin ReinhartMartin Marincin
Cam TalbotBrad Ross
Eric GrybaTravis Ewanyk
Lauri KorpikoskiBoyd Gordon
Anders NilssonLiam Coughlin
Zack KassianBen Scrivens
2016Niklas LundstromPhilip Larsen
Patrick MaroonJustin Schultz
Adam LarssonTeddy Purcell
Zach PochiroAnders Nilsson
Martin Gernat
Taylor Hall
Nail Yakupov
2017Henrik SamuelssonMitchell Moroz
David DesharnaisBrandon Davidson
Justin FontaineTaylor Beck
Ryan StromeJordan Eberle
Michael CammalleriJussi Jokinen
Greg Chase
2018Al MontoyaBrandon Davidson
Pontus AbergMark Letestu
J.D. DudekPatrick Maroon
Cooper MarodyJakub Jerabek
Nolan VeseyRyan Strome
Ryan Spooner
Chris Wideman

In addition to the trades he’s made, Chiarelli has had several free agents’ signing. Some have been pleasant surprises, most have been disappointments.

2015Andrej Sekera6 year $33M
Mark Letestu3 year $5.4M
Anders Nilsson1 year $1M
Justin Schultz1 year $3.9M
Tyler Pitlick1 year $761K
Brandon Davidson1 year $585K
2016Milan Lucic7 year $42M
Jonas Gustavsson1 year $800K
Kris Russell1 year $3.1M
Eric Gryba1 year $950K
2017Ryan Stanton2 year $1.4M
Ty Rattie1 year $700K
Brad Malone2 year $1.3M
Jussi Jokinen1 year $1.1M
2018Tobia Reider2 year $2.3M
Kyle Brodziak2 year 2.3M
Ryan Strome2 year $6.2M
Jason Garrison1 year $650K
Alex Chiasson1 year $650K

Now remember folks… this team has McDavid and Draisaitl as a draw and unlike the Pittsburgh Penguins with Sidney Crosby, the Oilers have yet to draw key free agents to Edmonton. They are still questionable in net, they still have some gaping holes on defense, and their secondary scoring is pretty much inexistant. How is that even possible?

Peter Chiarelli might be running out of time and options in Edmonton.

Peter Chiarelli lost his job as the Boston Bruins’ General Manager mostly because he painted himself in a corner, tying his own hands, by mis-managing the team’s salary cap. In three years, he seems to have done the same with the Oilers.

According to Capfriendly, Edmonton is the NHL’s team with the fourth highest cap only behind the Detroit Red Wings, the Washington Capitals and the Anaheim Ducks. Worse, they have no help in sight as they have $68.5M committed to 13 players in 2019-2020. Their only pending UFA’s are Alex Petrovic ($1.9M), Kevin Gravel ($700K), Alex Chiasson ($650K), as well as their two goaltenders, Cam Talbot ($4.2M) and Mikko Koskinen ($2.5M). Chiasson has 17 goals for the Oilers in 34 games so far, so he will require a substantial raise if Edmonton wants to retain his services. Gotta feel for those Oilers’ fans who are suffering through tough seasons year after year, only to see their team mismanaged to the point of wasting some key prime years of McDavid and Draisaitl.


Since Habs’ fans like to compare, let’s have a look at the draft history since 2007. The Canadiens have drafted 84 players in that time span. 12 of those were first round picks and only three (3) were Top-10, two (2) of which were Top-5 and none were first overall.

2007Ryan McDonagh12th
Max Pacioretty22nd
2008No 1st round pick
2009Louis Leblanc18th
2010Jarred Tinordi22nd
2011Nathan Beaulieu17th
2012Alex Galchenyuk3rd
2013Michael McCarron25th
2014Nikita Scherbak26th
2015Noah Juulsen26th
2016Mikhail Sergachev9th
2017Ryan Poehling25th
2018Jesperi Kotkaniemi3rd

You will notice that Six (6) of those 12 first round picks were selected 22nd overall or later. Now off the 72 remaining picks from rounds 2-7, the Canadiens have drafted seven (7) players with more than 100 NHL games, with Victor Mete closing in on that mark with his 82 games.

  • Yannick Weber (431)
  • P.K. Subban (607)
  • Brendan Gallagher (450)
  • Charles Hudon (102)
  • Sven Andrighetto (177)
  • Artturi Lehkonen (183)
  • Jacob De la Rose (152)

Further, if you look into both teams’ pipelines, the Canadiens are well ahead of the Oilers with blue chip quality depth prospects. The future is bring in Montreal red… but there’s a lot of work to do before fans in Edmonton can wear their Oilers’ orange with pride. Go Habs Go!

2 thoughts on “Edmonton’s Crude Oil Reality

Leave a Reply