#Oilers POHO/GM Peter Chiarelli had a presser yesterday and I will say this again--it's refreshing to hear him speak because he sees what we see and gives clear evidence, not "visually better" excuses.
He laid out the season improvements but noted that it was "a taller midget". Not the most PC-thing PC could say, but we got the point. There was an improvement in Corsi possession in the 2nd half of the season--yeah, #BecauseMcDavid.
He said one and more likely two guys were untouchable. This, too, is refreshing. We are of course assuming McDavid and one of Hall, Talbot, and Draisaitl being the other.
After hearing Hall's post-season interview and his praise for McDavid, he seemed to be projecting that he wants McDavid as captain. That's mature and humbling for him and it's not a slap in the face if McDavid becomes captain. Messier had Gretzky as captain until the Great One was traded.
Pete "likes size" and noted adding Maroon and Kassian were good additions that way. This is important to not because it has already changed the culture of the team to a more gritty style. And now you can see guys like Hall and Yak getting into tussles more. I think we can expect to see a couple more gritty-skilled guys added this Summer.
He was honest in his answer about backup Laurent Brossoit being called up to get a taste and that he needed to improve. It appears highly likely that an NHL veteran backup goalie will be added and Brossoit sent back down to Bakersfield. I can't help but wonder if goalie coach Schwartz is having a negative effect on goalies. I mean, Nilsson was playing quite well then something happened. Same with Brossoit. Both are tall goalies and perhaps their style doesn't fit with Schwartz's ideas where Talbot's does. I could be wrong and Brossoit and Nilsson just simply didn't follow Schwartz's techniques.
Chiarelli mentioned that if players like Nurse weren't called up early, it was because the defense and the team were playing better. That said, I think he knew it was going to happen anyway. I mean, when you start the year with Ference and Nikitin, to a lesser extent Fayne, and a pile of green rookies, what would you expect to happen?
Chia obviously sees the need to add not one, but two quality defensemen this off-season. Names like Hamonic, Shattenkirk, and Vatanen have been talked about. There are also UFA guys he can just sign like Alex Goligoski (DAL) 30yrs, 0.45 PPG, Keith Yandle (NYR) 29yrs, and Roman Polak (SJS) 30yrs to watch for, but I think they need right-shot guys, hence the original three names listed.
On the upcoming draft, it doesn't sound like Chiarelli is going to trade the pick--not with that amount of quality players this year in the top 5, but perhaps only if you can pull a top right-shot defenseman from another team. If the draft lays out normally, Toronto would likely pick Matthews as their new centreman and rebuild from there with the Oilers selecting winger Laine, who is being compared to Mario Lemieux.
Say what? I think if that happens, then you have your new core of McDavid, Hall, Draisaitl, Laine, Nurse, Talbot and this gives you room to move Eberle, Yakupov, and possibly Nugent-Hopkins for top defensemen.
Something has to give, or the Oilers will only get slightly taller.