The Edmonton Oilers fired general manager Peter Chiarelli on Wednesday.
CEO Bob Nicholson will oversee hockey operations until a new general manager is hired, the team announced.
The Oilers (23-24-3) are in seventh place in the Pacific Division and dropped their third consecutive game Tuesday, a 3-2 loss to the Detroit Red Wings.
Chiarelli, 54, had been general manager since April 2015. He previously spent nine seasons as the Boston Bruins’ general manager and led the team to a Stanley Cup in 2011 and a Cup Final in 2013.
The Bruins fired him days before the Oilers hired him.
It is expected that assistant general manager Keith Gretzky, Wayne’s younger brother, will assume some of the GM responsibilities.
“We are not in a rush but as soon as we find a GM that we feel is right for the culture of the Oilers, we’ll name that person,” Nicholson said, according to NHL.com. “When that will be, there is no deadline on that. ... We have to get the right one.”
Wayne Gretzky, the NHL’s all-time leading scorer and an Oilers legend, is vice chairman of the Oilers Entertainment Group.
Under Chiarelli’s leadership, the Oilers were 137-133-25. They finished 47-26-9 in 2016-17, when they made the playoffs for the first time since the 2005-06 season. The Anaheim Ducks defeated them in the second round of the Western Conference playoffs.
Todd McLellan, whom Chiarelli hired as coach in 2015, was fired in November after the Oilers started 9-10-1 this season. Ken Hitchcock replaced him and has guided the team to a 14-14-2 record after a 9-2-2 start.
“When we made the coaching change, I really thought the team played well,” Nicholson said, per NHL.com.
“We saw that we have it within the players in the dressing room to play at a top level in the league. We slipped again. Some of the moves we made have not worked and I felt that Peter had done everything that he could to make this team better, so we needed a new direction.”
—Field Level Media