Oilers overhaul front office after disappointing season
EDMONTON, Alberta (AP) — The Edmonton Oilers made sweeping front-office changes Friday after another disappointing season.
Patrick LaForge stepped down as president and chief operating officer while Craig MacTavish will move from general manager to a job yet to be determined.
Peter Chiarelli, let go as general manager of the Boston Bruins this month, was appointed president of hockey operations. Kevin Lowe will leave hockey operations but remain vice chairman of Oilers Entertainment Group.
The shake-up comes days after Bob Nicholson was appointed chief executive officer of OEG and given authority over all aspects of business and hockey operations.
The Oilers finished 28th in the 30-team league and have not made the playoffs since reaching the Stanley Cup final in 2006.
Edmonton, however, won the draft lottery and is expected to select junior phenom Connor McDavid with the No. 1 pick. With their three previous top picks in five years, Edmonton selected Taylor Hall (2010), Nail Yakupov (2011) and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (2012).
Chiarelli will report to Nicholson and be responsible for all aspects of hockey operations.
“We are delighted to bring a person of Peter’s considerable hockey knowledge and experience to the Edmonton Oilers,” Nicholson said in a statement. “Peter has had success at all levels of the game and we look forward to his leadership.”
Chiarelli was hired as the Ottawa Senators’ director of legal relations in 2000 and was promoted to assistant GM in 2005. He moved to Boston the following year and spent eight seasons as the Bruins’ GM.
“I am honored to join such a great organization with a long history of success,” Chiarelli said. “There is a strong, young core here with good complementary players. I hope to bring it to the next level with a measured approach.”
Chiarelli guided the Bruins to a Stanley Cup victory in 2011, but he was gone after the team missed the playoffs. He also served as a member of the management group for Hockey Canada’s national men’s team at the 2013 world championship and 2014 Olympics.
Lowe, a former star defenseman with the Oilers, spent eight seasons as GM before moving into the president of hockey operations role in 2008.
“I support Bob in the changes he has implemented and I am very excited about the bright future for the Edmonton Oilers, the city of Edmonton and Oilers fans everywhere,” Lowe said.
LaForge joined the organization in 2000 and was responsible for growing the sports and entertainment portfolio of OEG.
MacTavish’s future with the team was unclear. Nicholson would only say that Chiarelli likely will speak with MacTavish in the coming days.