Next to Greatness: Oilers set to name Keith Gretzky as assistant GM

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The Edmonton Oilers are reportedly going to name Wayne Gretzky’s younger brother Keith as assistant GM, according to TSN’s Bob McKenzie.

Keith Gretzky began his scouting career in 2001. Most recently, he served as the Boston Bruins’ director of amateur scouting, where he undoubtedly made an impression on current Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli.

He also served as the Arizona Coyotes’ director of amateur scouting, with some overlap alongside his famous brother.

The move is by no means official – McKenzie believes it will be announced in the “near future” – yet plenty of people are already making jokes, often about nepotism.

Oilers blogger Lowetide speculates that a Keith Gretzky hiring could begin a domino effect as Chiarelli swaps out pieces of the old guard for “his guys.”

If the Gretzky hiring occurs, we can assume someone is moving out from the inner circle, the brain trust. I am not going to guess—if you have been following the Oilers for any length of time you know where the smart money is being laid.

On one hand, Gretzky deserves an opportunity to stand on his own merit, outside of Gretzky’s shadow and without the baggage associated with Edmonton’s long run of incompetence.

On the other, it’s difficult to totally deny feelings that “the more things change, the more they stay the same” in Edmonton.

Chiarelli’s hiring someone he’s familiar with while analytics-minded hire from days past Tyler Dellow wasn’t kept on board:

The Taylor HallAdam Larsson trade is the blaring headline of a bold off-season for the Oilers. For better or worse, Chiarelli is clearly putting his stamp on this team.

It remains to be seen if he can turn it into a great one.