With things recently taking a turn for the better in Edmonton, Oilers CEO and vice-chair Bob Nicholson gave general manager Peter Chiarelli a somewhat conditional vote of confidence.
The Oilers have gone 8-2-2 since Ken Hitchcock replaced Todd McLellan as head coach, vaulting the club into the top wildcard spot in the Western Conference entering Friday's games. That run has allowed cooler heads to prevail in northern Alberta after a troubling start to the season, with Nicholson saying his general manager's job is safe if the team makes the playoffs.
"Yeah. There's no question." Nicholson told Daniel Nugent-Bowman of The Athletic. "I think there's a lot of things that Peter hasn't gotten credit for. He's really started to build. You're starting to see some of them come up now with the (Caleb) Joneses and the (Evan) Bouchards. We have a lot of assets, which this organization hadn't had for a while. Peter deserves a lot of credit for that."
Edmonton had lost six of seven contests when McLellan was let go Nov. 20 and many wondered about Chiarelli's job security going forward in what seemed to be another lost season.
Chiarelli joined the Oilers in 2015 and has faced plenty of scrutiny for some of his personnel decisions since taking over. Edmonton has made the playoffs once during his tenure, advancing to Game 7 of the second round in 2016-17.