Ken Holland makes first big move in Oilers hockey operations: report

This could please Oilers fans. (Getty)
This could please Oilers fans. (Getty)

While his influence may well have been a factor in Craig MacTavish’s decision to bolt for a coaching position in Russia as well, newly-minted Edmonton Oilers general manager Ken Holland has reportedly pulled the trigger on his first definite moves as he looks to re-work the club’s hockey operations.

Edmonton’s vice president of player personnel, Duane Sutter, and the club’s senior director of media relations, J.J. Hebert, were dismissed by the Oilers’ new regime Tuesday, TSN’s Ryan Rishaug reports.

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With all due respect to Hebert, who was Connor McDavid’s “main handler,” according to Rishaug, the decision to part ways with Sutter carries with it the most consequence. First brought on by Steve Tambellini to serve as a pro scout and then elevated under Peter Chiarelli, Sutter was a “large part” of the pro scouting operation and has long had a voice in the Oilers ranks while they’ve struggled to identify talent through trade and free agency.

Unquestionably, Edmonton’s most significant failings under the Chiarelli regime were its trades. There’s a lengthly list of transactions that have backfired for the Oilers in the last few seasons, which include but aren’t hardly limited to: the one-for-one trade involving Taylor Hall and Adam Larsson, a series of moves that turned Jordan Eberle into Sam Gagner, and a lottery pick forfeited to acquire Griffin Reinhart.

Incredibly, Sutter was promoted three days after the Oilers traded a future MVP for a middle-pair defenseman.

With many more difficult discussions and decisions ostensibly to come, it’s shaping up to be a busy summer for Holland and the Oilers.

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