Oilers general manager defends weekend trades for defencemen

The Edmonton Oilers GM defended his two trades, saying he had no choice but to look for established defencemen.

One player in the deal, Brandon Manning, has a history with Connor McDavid

Edmonton Oilers have reached the NHL playoffs only once in Peter Chiarelli's tenure. (John Shypitka/CBC )

Edmonton Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli says he had no choice but to hit the trade market to shore up his team's battered blue-line.

On Sunday, the Oilers acquired three new defencemen, including one who has some history with captain Connor McDavid.

In the first deal, the Oilers got Edmonton product Alexander Petrovic from the Florida Panthers for Chris Wideman and a conditional third-round pick in the 2019 NHL draft.

The Oilers later got defenders Brandon Manning and Robin Norell from the Chicago Blackhawks in a second deal that sent Jason Garrison and Drake Caggiula the other way.

Though the Oilers are currently on a five-game losing streak, Chiarelli said the trades weren't a knee-jerk reaction but necessary moves to add some defensive help while Oscar Klefbom, Kris Russell and Andrej Sekera are on injured reserve.

"With the information we know on our injured players, we felt it was time to bring in some established defensemen," Chiarelli said.

"I understand the feedback that these aren't top-four defencemen," he said of Manning and Petrovic.

"But they are good, solid defenders. They both defend hard. They both move well, and it was something we felt we had to do at this point in time."

McDavid once called him 'classless'

The trade for Brandon Manning was somewhat controversial with Oilers fans because of his history with McDavid.

Brandon Manning is one of three defencemen acquired by the Edmonton Oilers on Sunday. (Kyusung Gong/Associated Press)

In McDavid's rookie season in 2015, the all-star centre broke his collarbone as a result of hit by Manning. The following season, McDavid called Manning "classless" after an on-ice scuffle with the defenceman.

But Chiarelli said he consulted with McDavid last year about a potential trade for Manning and received the thumbs up.

"We were speaking with Philadelphia on acquiring Brandon Manning, and I pulled Connor aside and asked him if he had a problem with this," Chiarelli said. "And he said no.

"He said that, in fact, he would like a defensive player that would help us. I told him in advance that we had made the transaction."

Petrovic, 26, has one assist this season, while Manning currently has a goal and two assists. Norell is playing for Djurgardens in the Swedish Hockey League.

Both Petrovic and Manning will be in the lineup when the Oilers play the Winnipeg Jets on Monday at Rogers Place.