Oilers fire Chiarelli; Nicholson to oversee hockey ops in interim

Dave Sandford / National Hockey League / Getty

The Edmonton Oilers fired general manager and president of hockey operations Peter Chiarelli, the club announced Wednesday.

Bob Nicholson, the team's CEO, will oversee hockey operations in the interim.

Assistant GM Keith Gretzky will take on more responsibility until a new GM is hired, according to The Associated Press' Stephen Whyno.

The shakeup comes hours after the club stumbled into the All-Star break with a third consecutive defeat on home ice. It's the second major change in Oilers leadership this season, following the November move to fire Todd McLellan as head coach and hire Ken Hitchcock as his replacement.

The decision to dismiss Chiarelli was made before the Oilers' loss to the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday night, according to TSN's Darren Dreger, and the move itself was carried out before the game's conclusion.

Chiarelli exits after three plus-seasons with Edmonton. He joined the organization in 2015, two months before the Oilers won the chance to draft Connor McDavid first overall.

Since then, Edmonton's inability to capitalize on landing a generational talent - qualifying for the playoffs just once in McDavid's first three seasons and currently standing at risk of missing out once again - has largely been attributed to roster decisions made by Chiarelli.

Most notable among those franchise-altering moves were the separate trades of Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle, which landed the club only Adam Larsson and Ryan Strome in return, as well as the free-agent signing of Milan Lucic on a seven-year, $42-million deal in 2016.

Edmonton also raised eyebrows with another move one day prior to Chiarelli's dismissal, giving goaltender Mikko Koskinen a three-year, $13.5-million extension after just 27 games with the team.

The Oilers currently sit below all but three teams in the Western Conference standings, owning a 23-24-3 record and 49 points.

Oilers fire Chiarelli; Nicholson to oversee hockey ops in interim
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