Quick Strikes: the Two Sides of General Managing in the NHL

Let’s see if I remember how to do these...

The Bolts

Unlike some General Managers in the National Hockey League, Julien BriseBois has a clear and logical plan for the Edmonton Oilers going forward. He has planned ahead, done his homework on all aspects of the team, and has an answer for all questions surrounding the roster. Can you tell what I’m getting at? We’ll get to that later. Patience, young reader.

Anyway, Tampa Bay Lightning GM JBB provided a “State of the Bolts” update on the franchise. It’s a very good read. Very uplifting. [NHL dot com]

Rookie defenseman Erik Cernak has been a pleasant surprise, so much so it certainly sounds like he could be in Tampa to stay. “He’s too good for us to send back,” BriseBois said. “He makes us better. He balances our right side and our left side. He and Ryan McDonagh turned out to be a really good pair. There’s chemistry there.

The Lightning have been scoring a lot of goals this season. 163, to be exact. But the win against the Montreal Canadiens opened a question: why do we have to out-score our problems? What if we can’t? [Tampa Bay Times]

“If there’s one thing that we need to improve a little bit, our goals against,” coach Jon Cooper said before Saturday’s game. “We’re probably one higher than we should be.”

Dan Girardi grabbed a mic for the aforementioned Habs game, and provided some great footage from the evening. Enjoy five minutes of Mic’d Up with Uncle Dan!

Captain Steven Stamkos has broken a lot of records this month. Dave Mishkin breaks it all down on the second-last day of the month. [NHL dot com]

December has been a record-shattering month for the Lightning, who still have one more game to play before the calendar turns. Their 12 wins and 25 points in the month are both new franchise-highs. Individually, Nikita Kucherov already has posted a franchise-best 28 points this month. And Steven Stamkos has set a franchise record by scoring 14 goals in December.

The Prospects

Tampa Bay Lightning prospect Radim Salda got in his first game of the tournament for the Czech Republic, and played really well! They lost to Canada, but that’s besides the point! [Raw Charge]

“As I looked ahead to the games on December 29th even before this year’s tournament began, I knew that this day would be pivotal. Not only would these games yield telling results for final group rankings, but it also gave us some really good matchups. Rather than spoil it all now, I’ll just let you read, because yesterday’s games did not disappoint.”

It’s an understatement, but Slater Koekkoek has been a very good soldier for the Tampa Bay Lightning organization. He’s now getting some time to show off his stuff whilst on a conditioning stint with the Syracuse Crunch. So far, so good. [Syracuse]

“He fits in right away. And the style he plays, he knows the way we play here. It’s very similar to Tampa Bay,’’ Groulx said. “So for me, it was only a matter of him getting comfortable quickly. I think he needed a few minutes, but then he was a general out there. I’m very happy with his performance.’’

The Game

First, a letter.

Dear Edmonton Oilers,

What did you expect? Did you expect Peter Chiarelli to change every fibre in his being and turn into a good general manager simply because he was on his “last chance”? Did you really expect Peter Chiarelli to evaluate players and systems properly for a change, while keeping the exact same “brain trust” in the front office of Rogers Place? Did you expect Peter Chiarelli to win a negotiation with someone, anyone?

No, and you were foolish to think otherwise.

Fire Peter Chiarelli.


The rest of the hockey world, who is laughing at you.

P.S. You are so so so lucky Connor McDavid has been brainwashed into being loyal to a shipwreck of a hockey team. You are so lucky he hasn’t already tried to leave. I don’t know why he enjoys Milan Lucic and Kris Russell‘s company so much. I hope, for the love of the sport, that Newmarket, Ontario’s own sums up the courage to leave that Western Canadian hell-hole and play on a good team in the playoffs. Hockey is being robbed of that, and Peter Chiarelli, Bob Nicholson, and Daryl Katz are to blame.

First, the Edmonton Oilers traded former Ottawa Senators Uber-rider Chris Wideman to the Florida Panthers (where Mike Hoffman resides) and a third-round pick for a worse (and more expensive) defenseman in Alex Petrovic.

Panthers trade Alex Petrovic to Oilers for Chris Wideman and 2019 third-rounder
Oilers Acquire Alex Petrovic From Florida

Then, a few hours later, Chiarelli called the Chicago Blackhawks, which is never a good idea.  The full trade was Drake Caggiula and Jason Garrison to Chicago for Brandon Manning and Robin Norell. So, the Oilers traded one of their better NHL wingers (seriously) and a healthy scratch for the problematic defenseman that broke Connor McDavid’s clavial. Cool. Cool.

Blackhawks trade Brandon Manning, Robin Norell to Oilers for Drake Caggiula, Jason Garrison
Trade: Oilers send Drake Caggiula to Chicago Blackhawks in Exchange for Brandon Manning

For those who substribe to The Athletic will be able to read why Manning was such a problem for the Blackhawks, and that the Oilers once again don’t know what they’re getting into. But size, right?

I highly recommend reading this entire thread. It is ... incredible. I put Chiarelli’s first move as Oilers GM below, but it gets much worse both before and after that fateful day.

Fire the guy. Honestly. It’s beyond time.