It got good about five seconds in. All quotes are Peter Chiarelli and can be found from his media availability on April 11th, 2018.
On Milan Lucic’s dumpster fire of a season and what does he have to do to live up to the deal
First, I’m confident that he can get back to where the expectations lie for him, where are those expectations? he’s got to obviously produce more, I actually liked his skating this year, he put a lot of work in this summer for his skating, he didn’t...there’s a lot of areas of his game that were subpar, finishing, for a large part, his defensive zone play, but he’s still young in the big picture, he’s still of tremendous character...”
Do you have your boots on yet? Pull ‘em up tight.
Look, I don’t think that Lucic fumbles to another 1 goal in 46 games in 2018-19, but let’s be real, unless he can catches speed at age 30, he’s not really built to move. It’s embarrassing that you brought the guy in to play alongside Connor McDavid, but he’s a third line player right now. Will that change? Probably not. He’s not having a tonne of success with Ryan Strome as his centre, he had one goal and eight points since Christmas and he costs six million dollars a year. What’s to remotely not hate?
What has to change moving forward?
We have to play at a higher pace and pace isn’t necessarily speed...thinking more quickly, moving the puck through all three zones more quickly...it’s across the spectrum. Is that a personnel issue? As a manager I have to look at that...I think our speed starts at the back end, and getting up the puck up through the zones quickly, that’s not putting all the onus on the defencemen but that’s part of it...that’s an area where we’ll have to tweak. We’ve got some young forwards that we’ll challenge that have some speed, so...we have to look at team speed a little bit. I’m a firm believer that you think and you execute more quickly and you become a faster team. We weren’t a slow team last year... I think a lot of it is mental too...so then, personnel aside, you have to look at how you play the game. Generally I wasn’t happy with our execution this year, and that starts with your passing...I don’t think we supported well...Without support...you’re not playing a fast game.
I swear to God we did this a couple of Junes ago when the Oilers traded Taylor Hall to fix the defence.
On special teams and the coaching staff
“We didn’t have success on the special teams this year...we made some tweaks in the middle of January...it rebounded...Our PP was disappointing this year...On the whole, it was challenging for our coaches this year. This comes from the top down, we’re all under evaluation...I think Todd is a very good coach, but we’re under a period of evaluation with him and his staff...certainly we didn’t perform as expected...”
Your free evaluation period has expired. You’ve been terrible.
When Matty asks why the team doesn’t have any wingers who can help on the top six
“I think we have right wingers, I think our scoring was actually more than adequate this year, so I disagree with you on that, Jim...I think centres are more important, I think wingers are easier to find, they’re more important, they carry out larger responsibilities in games...The lack of performance from the wingers is a concern, does that mean they’re not good enough? Maybe...”
I think our wingers...they’re obviously not good enough as a whole when you look at our performance this year, but I don’t think you should just pin it on the wingers.”
GM thinks that 20th in scoring is “more than adequate”. Wish I could say I’m surprised. Credit to Jim Matheson for asking this question. The look on Chiareli’s face was pretty good.
When Terry Jones asks you how much management affected the players, or vice versa:
“The players...I think, maybe, but for two or three, I think the players as a group, their performances were subpar. I’m not saying my performance was above par, but both played a part, Terry”
When Stauffer asks you about Cam Talbot’s workload and backup goaltender
I know we have contracted goalies for next year in Cam and Al Montoya, but that’s...something we’ll have to look at closely...That’s one of the things we’ve got to look at”
60 games is a lot. Talbot has appeared in 140 over the last two combined years.
Other miscellaneous quotes
“Who’s doing the evaluation of the coaches? I’m doing the evaluation of the coaches...”
“I gotta dig deep.”
“We’re not going to dismantle this team...I expect this team to be in the playoffs next year.”
WHAT TO TAKE
- This is Chiarelli’s team. He likes his team. He’s not ruling out a trade, but this is the brunt of it. He wants another top four right shot defenceman. Maybe the next one won’t cost Taylor Hall.
- Chiarelli hinted that he’s looking at a winger for the top six. That’s good, because we’ll be depending on Kailer Yamamoto and Jesse Puljujarvi next year not to fail without one.
- Chiarelli didn’t sound like he was going to fire Todd McLellan
- Chiarelli says he’s accountable for the season, but that the players (save for two or three) should be held more accountable. We’re not a slow team, says the man who’s employing a player for five more years who was brought in to play with Connor McDavid who can’t keep up with Connor McDavid.
- Oh, and Lucic will get back where he needs to be, says Chiarelli. He’s right where he needs to be right now, and that’s on the third line.
- Al Montoya is under contract, but he might not be the guy next year.
Are you impressed? I sure as hell am not. The lights will be bright and hot this offseason as Chiarelli must improve this team by a solid 20 points next year. Piece of cake, yeah?