The NHL trade deadline is less than a week away, which means general managers across the league are assessing their team’s performance thus far and needs moving forward. Oilers President of Hockey Operations and GM Peter Chiarelli addressed the Edmonton media on Tuesday and gave his own assessment of his team.
“I’m disappointed where we are in the standings,” said Chiarelli. “Just in this last little stretch, I’ve felt that kind of our energy level or work ethic has waned a little bit. Why is that? Well, there are a number of reasons. Leading into this stretch though, I was generally satisfied with some progress we were making on some levels. Obviously, our D is a work in progress, well-documented by (the media) but rightfully so. It’s something we have to improve. Nice to get some forwards back from injuries. I still haven’t had the chance to review the whole team in its totality, which is kind of unfortunate. I don’t like where we are right now. This last little bit has been disappointing, especially at home.”
It has been difficult to assess the roster in the way Chiarelli would like to because of the constant flow of injuries the Oilers have suffered through. The team that has been on the ice this season hasn’t been the complete team since even out of the pre-season. Oscar Klefbom is just the latest example of how an injured player disrupts the roster structure and evaluation process.
“You’d like to see when people are in their proper spots you get a real good assessment of what they are,” said Chiarelli. “Then you can project if they’re going to be on an uptick. We can criticize our defence and these guys do play hard, but not having Oscar in hurts my ability to assess our group. He’s a big, strong defenceman who can push pucks and push bodies. But that’s tough luck for us and we’ve got to figure it out.”
Despite disappointment in his team, which is 3-6-1 since the All-Star break, Chiarelli thinks he’s done the right thing by exercising patience and not rushing a move that wouldn’t bring back the right return.
“I’d like to think I’m not taking that approach and not being reactive,” he said. “There was a time this year when we were close in a lot of games and you could feel good about the effort and you could feel good about the structure and lately there hasn’t been that. The structure has been there but kind of the effort and attention to detail and focus hasn’t. That’s a little disconcerting. I knew there would be heavy-lifting here, and there still is. But I’m a fairly measured person and that won’t change when we’re building this team.”