Once upon a time in the land of Oiler, everything broke right leading up to the trade deadline. A strong team turned into an outstanding one overnight, and the Edmonton Oilers laid waste to the western conference.
Summer 2005 was like a dream for Oiler fans. The lockout was over, and free HOFers were available to Oiler management! Not quite, but there were great, great players available. Chris Pronger’s trade to our city was met with deserved shock and awe.
I damn near fell off my chair when Jason Gregor broke the news on Team 1260 late night. I think he stayed on the air until 3 or so that morning answering calls. It was like Beatlemania! Mike Peca arrived the next day and the town team – and their fortunes – took an upswing in a heartbeat.
OPENING NIGHT ROSTER 2005-06
- G: Ty Conklin, Mike Morrison (Jussi Markkanen injured)
- D: Chris Pronger, Jason Smith, Steve Staios, Igor Ulanov, Cory Cross, MA Bergeron, Alexei Semenov, Dan Smith
- C: Shawn Horcoff, Mike Peca, Jarret Stoll, Marty Reasoner (injured)
- L: Ryan Smyth, Raffi Torres, Ethan Moreau, Jani Rita, Brad Winchester
- R: Radek Dvorak, Ales Hemsky, Fernando Pisani, George Laraque, Todd Harvey
At the starting gate, this was a team without a clear starting goalie (but some interesting options), a veteran blue and an impressive group of forwards with a nice range of skills. Rookies were hard to find on the roster (Rita, Winchester above plus 7 cups of coffee from callups during the season) and the club was clearly better than the 2003-04 group that led the Oilers into the lockout.
TRANSACTIONS DURING THE SEASON
- November 11: Oilers claim C Krys Kolanos off waivers from PHX (they’d lose him Dec 19).
- November 19: Oilers trade D Alexei Semenov to Florida for a conditional pick.
- December 7: Oilers callup D Matt Greene.
Nothing much shaking during the year. There were callups and injuries, with rookies Matt Greene, Kyle Brodziak, Danny Syvret, Marc-Antoine Pouliot, JF Jacques, Yan Stastny and Mathieu Roy all making regular season appearances during 2005-06.
PREDEADLINE AND DEADLINE DEALS
- January 26: Oilers acquire D Dick Tarnstrom from Pittsburgh for D Cory Cross and F Jani Rita.
- January 26: Oilers acquire D Jaroslav Spacek from Chicago for F Tony Salmelainen and a conditional pick.
- March 5: Oilers sign C Rem Murray from Houston (AHL).
- March 8: Oilers acquire G Dwayne Roloson from Minnesota for 2006 1st rd pick.
- March 9: Oilers acquire L Sergei Samsonov from Boston for C Marty Reasoner, C Yan Stastny and 2006 2nd rd pick.
They left the station as a solid unit, and Kevin Lowe had a masterful run from late January to the deadline. The years since have made it clear that Vish is not the second coming of Sam Pollock, but that one "false spring" will be remembered forever in our town. Veteran defensemen, a proven goalie and a deep forward group with varied skills. The value contracts were there before the lockout, the impact players came via trade over the summer and at the deadline.
The result was a time to remember.