After hiring Ken Hitchcock earlier this season the Edmonton Oilers went on a brief, Connor McDavid-driven hot streak that made it look like they might be turning their season around.
Now that they have followed that up by losing six games in a row, and seven out of their past eight, they are once again on the outside of the Western Conference playoff picture and looking like another season of McDavid’s prime is on the verge of being completely wasted.
In response, general manager Peter Chiarelli has attempted to go into job-saving mode and spent Sunday frantically rearranging the deck chairs on his sinking ship by making a pair of trades to address his team’s horrendous blue line.
First, he sent Chris Wideman and a 2019 third-round draft pick to the Florida Panthers for Alex Petrovic. From an Oilers perspective, it’s not likely to move the needle in any meaningful direction. It’s probably more noteworthy from a Panthers perspective only because Petrovic was one of the four defenders they felt the need to protect in the expansion draft a year ago when they lost Jonathan Marchesseault and Reilly Smith to the Vegas Golden Knights.
But that was just the opening act for the trade that would really raise some eyebrows.
Yes. That Brandon Manning.
The Brandon Manning that ended Connor McDavid’s rookie season on a play that resulted in the two players developing some pretty significant beef with one another, including McDavid calling Manning “classless” a year later.
Just a quick refresher on all of that here…
Now they are on the same team. As an added layer to the absurdity McDavid, TSN’s Ryan Rishaug noted on Twitter that McDavid and Caggiula (the player that was just traded for a player that broke McDavid’s collarbone and that McDavid called classless) were really close.
Just a remarkable day all the way around.
In the end, all the Oilers got out of it was a couple of players that might — might — be an upgrade on their third defense pairing. It is nobody that is going to make a meaningful difference for this team in its current position. That is what makes it so absolutely incredible that one of the players they happened to trade for is one that their franchise player has a history with on — and off — the ice. Even if that issue is in the past the optics of it all are incredibly bad. It’s like the roster transaction version of whatever it was that happened in Dallas this past week, where management does something to purposely anger its best player.