After a disastrous 2017-18 season, the Edmonton Oilers were expected to make significant changes to get back on the fanbase’s good side and become a Cup contender once again. It was the sort of thing that was written in the sky. After all, before the end of the season, Oilers team president Bob Nicholson made comments suggesting that things were about to change drastically in Edmonton.
“We have a plan and we are going to get it right. There will be some change, but we are not going to make those until the end of the year.”
“I think we want to make sure that we get the right culture in the dressing room,” had said Nicholson as per Sportsnet. “Fans will buy in if they can understand the plan once we make the changes.”
Unfortunately for the fanbase in Edmonton, general manager Peter Chiarelli has - once again - changed his mind. According to Mike Zeisberger of NHL.com, who spoke directly to Chiarelli in a lengthy one-on-one interview this week, the Oilers are not looking to make a big splash this offseason.
"We're not going to do anything significant, generally speaking," Chiarelli answered when asked about the blueprint for the upcoming season. "We felt the year before wasn't an anomaly. We felt we'd made significant progress (in 2016-17) on a number of different levels and [this season] things went south on a number of different levels. We really don't want to throw out the baby with the bathwater here. From the planning perspective, we've got some holes we've got to look at filling. I'm told by a number of different people -- and it's legitimate -- that we need a power-play defenseman. That's something that we'll look at. Doesn't mean that these players are just out there."
With that reply, Zeisberger asked the Oilers GM directly if fans should now expected little changes in the offseason. Fans were upset to read his very "all over the place" answer...
"Obviously you can build around Connor and we plan to and we continue to do so. The expectations on him alone are so high. And he'll meet them. But you need a strong supporting cast, you need a strong leadership group, you need good goaltending. You look at all the teams that [Wayne] Gretzky played on, you look at all the teams that [Mario] Lemieux has played on, you look at all the teams that [Sidney] Crosby plays on, they're strong, strong teams around them. So, we have to do that."
We can understand why fans aren't happy with Chiarelli changing his mind once again. At first the Oilers were expected to trade their first round pick. Now, it seems they won't. They were reportedly looking to add a scoring winger, and potentially a quality defenseman. There are no longer any mention of these potential moves...
So, what is next, Peter?