Tuesday night, before Game 4 of the OHL Western Conference Finals, we had a chance to talk with new Edmonton Oilers GM and President of Hockey Operations Peter Chiarelli. He was in town to check out the downtown Erie scenery. Ok, in all seriousness, we know why he was in Erie.
The Oilers own the number 1 pick in the NHL Draft. Everyone in the hockey world is expecting them to pick Connor McDavid with the top pick. But we got to ask him directly, “Is there a scenario out there anywhere, in which you would consider trading the number 1 pick?”
“I would never say never,” Chiarelli told us. “If we decide to take this player, Connor McDavid, who is a hell of a player, we would be passing up a hell of a player if we did trade the pick. But in this business, you never say never.”
Remember that Craig MacTavish did say that he would never trade the number 1 pick. Could it be that Chiarelli is really contemplating any other possibility as this point? One would assume not, but hey, Tyler Seguin got traded, right?
“I am really happy to be part of a group that has a chance to take this player.” Chiarelli added, which prompted Erie Otters Beat Writer Victor Fernandes to ask, “So does this mean that you are taking Connor McDavid number 1?”, to which Chiarelli responded, “That’s not what I said.” They are at least letting the process work itself out.
We also got to ask Chiarelli if he would do anything different in Edmonton. “I’ve got a way of managing that has developed over the years. I like to make informed decisions and get as much information as I can, so I’m not gonna stray from that.”
Finally, we got to ask Chiarelli if he had any regrets from the way he handled things in Boston. “You know, I thought I did my best. We had a good group of people. Nobody is perfect in this business. We went to the playoffs for 7 straight years. We won the Cup. We got to a Finals. We won the President’s Trophy. We had a pretty good run. It unraveled some of the decisions we made. We try to learn from them and try to be better next time around.”
Next time around is quite the opportunity. The chance to pick this generational talent is staring him and the Oilers right in the face. Is McDavid too good to pass up? Is there a trade out there that could happen? At least to Chiarelli, maybe. Least we have something to monitor from now until the draft.
I am a fully credentialed writer who covers the Columbus Blue Jackets, Cleveland Monsters and Erie Otters as well as the Ontario Hockey League and NHL Draft. The 2021-22 season will mark eight seasons with the Hockey Writers. I am also the site’s Credentials Manager.