Should the Oilers Believe Boston's Peter Chiarelli?

The Edmonton Oilers and the Boston Bruins are talking. Fans have been waiting a while for confirmation of what they figured was an obvious future discussion between the two GM's, but the recent NHL combine created the stage for these two team bosses to have a chat.

The question now, is should news coming out of that conversation be news Oiler fans and more importantly Steve Tambellini should believe?

From a recent ESPN article by Pierre Lebrun,"Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli and Oilers GM Steve Tambellini briefly chatted this week at the combine in Toronto." Lebrun goes on to add, "Right now, the Bruins remain undecided on which player they like most, Taylor Hall or Tyler Seguin."

This sounds an awful lot like a strategy being employed by a GM who doesn't want to lose his shirt obtaining the player all reports until now suggest was/is Taylor Hall.

Are we to believe that Chiarelli, despite no real changes in his roster and his need for a winger, believes Seguin can be that winger, while Bergeron, Krejci and Savard clog up his center spots?

As unlikely as that seems, Chiarelli is wise not to tip his hand. My guess, is that both GM's remain fence sitters (at least in the public eye) and for this type of back and forth to go on until just before that first pick is selected, when finally one GM gives in as if the two were playing a game of chicken.

If Tambellini sticks to his guns, the GM who gives should be Chiarelli.

Edmonton being a much less talented team, could use both a stud winger and a stud center, thus their conflict revolves more around drafting the better player versus the better prospect. Yes, the Oilers need a center, but outside of Hemsky and Penner, have no real proven depth at wing either and would be stupid to completely ignore that other glaring weakness.

If Chiarelli appears to be "helping" the Oilers, he deflects attention away from the real truth... the Bruins still want Hall.

Chiarelli's claims that any team might want to consider Seguin for his strength at wing and that it would be wise to start Seguin there while he learns the NHL, is a bit of a stretch. Seguin's ability to play wing wouldn't be why you'd draft him. He's a natural center, he's taken huge strides in one hockey season at center and he's made his claim as a possible top pick in that position. Chiarelli is simply playing a game of positioning to lessen Taylor Hall's value as the top winger in the draft. Boston's needs are a bit more defined there and they'd rather not give up to much to fill them.

Perhaps Chiarelli's thought is, convince the Oilers Seguin can do both equally well and Seguin then becomes a natural choice for the Oil, who in turn leave behind Boston's real need in Taylor Hall. Might the Oilers be considering Seguin anyways? Sure, but Chiarelli's odds are better the Oilers take the natural center and less popular fan and media choice if he personally adds his two cents like he's publicly doing now.

Admittedly, we did an article a couple of weeks back stating the importance of having versatility at both positions in any player, arguing that gift being a strength in your draft selection. It's obviously a factor the Oilers are considering.

I only believe it to be a major factor if you don't require filling one position more than another. Chiarelli and the Boston Bruins to me is/are that exception.

Their lack at wing is much more glowing than their lack at center and I'm still not sold you'd draft Hall to play in the middle nor would you draft Seguin to be your star winger.

If what Chiarelli is doing works, thus costing the Oilers a greater return, is yet to be seen. Hopefully, Tambellini and company call that bluff and realize Chiarelli is just trying to add a little fuel to the fire, so as not to give up his 15th overall pick or a player/prospect he'd rather not lose.

Unless the Oilers truly are sold on and want Hall more than Seguin, they must see these commnets for what I believe they are and truly drip every last drop from the Bruins bucket. Edmonton won't be hurt by drafting either Hall or Seguin and if Boston doesn't bite, the Oilers are still completely in control of the first overall pick. A betting man would see the Bruins hand and bet that the Bruins will never get closer than a few minutes prior to draft time without ensuring they've got their man.

Tambellini simply saying to Chiarelli ahead to time, "if you give me this... I'll leave Hall alone. If you don't, the Oilers will be taking him and nothing less than our asking price will do." Does that have to be true? Of course not, but they key is what you can get Chiarelli to think. It's much more likely Chiarelli will believe the Oilers who need both positions filled, than the Oilers currently believing Chiarelli's latest comments.

The only lose scenario for Edmonton, is the slight chance Chiarelli is actually telling the truth. But even if he is, Tamebellini's cards will be on the table knowing full well, he's laid out a reasonable deal to walk away from Hall and that Chiarelli won't gamble when push comes to shove if Chiarelli isn't wanting to make massive changes to his whole roster which adding another top center might require.

With the facts, a little gamesmanship and logical thinking, the worst Edmonton can do is take the player they really want first overall, which is a pretty good day for Oiler fans. Hopefully by the draft, the Oilers have decided who that player is.


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