Oilers CEO Bob Nicholson said the decision to fire Chiarelli was made prior to last night's game against the Detroit Red Wings, and the news was delivered to the GM after the second period. Assistant GM Keith Gretzky will inherit many of Chiarelli's duties, the club said.
For many, the acquisition of Brandon Manning was the tipping point, and a loss to the last-place Detroit Red Wings just put it over the edge.
Right now they are three points back of the final wild-card spot in the western conference. "We have the best player in the world; we have other real great players in the dressing room". "We got some real good staff".
"He really felt that he had let the organization down in not having this team in the playoffs". Spooner was placed on waivers by Chiarelli this week after he notched just three points in 24 games. In fact, Chiarelli was sacked mid-game so that he could leave Rogers Place quietly. The Oilers are 14-14-2 since firing coach Todd McLellan and replacing him with Ken Hitchcock.
"There's something in the water here in Edmonton that we don't have right, and we gotta get that figured out", Nicholson said. The team he built went on to lose 3-2, falling to 23-24-3 heading into the All-Star break. The first-round pick sent to the Islanders by Edmonton in the trade was used to draft Mathew Barzal, the 2017-18 National Hockey League rookie of the year.
"Were not into a rebuild", Nicholson said.
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The team announced Chiarelli's abrupt dismissal in the aftermath of its third consecutive loss.
Chiarelli was originally hired to rebuild the Oilers around superstar Connor McDavid in April of 2015, but has struggled to find the right pieces to play alongside the reigning Art Ross Trophy victor.
He signed Milan Lucic to a $42 million, six-year contract that now appears to be unmovable.
The Oilers reached the playoffs once in Chiarelli's tenure, making the second round in 2017.
Chiarelli was expected to give the woebegone Oilers steady leadership with McDavid.
"We looked at the depth of the goalies that would be available next year and we really believe in Mikko", Nicholson said.