A Deadline to Remember

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.


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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. 

    • Chris.

      Prendergast would have screwed up that pick… It was only a year later when like he took on an obvious project (Plante) at 15th overall, and traded up to grab a BCHL player who was commited to play in a marginal ivey league program (Nash) at 21st…

  • Mac

    Total long shot here but heard tonight LA might be looking to move Jonathan Bernier. How about Devan Dubnyk and a draft pick for Bernier? Would that be enough? Would you do it?

  • Jodes

    Kevin Lowe was the man that year.. Every trade paid off in spades. Unfortunately he also must of traded away his mojo, because since then he’s been brutal!

    Speaking of brutal, why do I feel that tomorrow Tambellini will “have the guts” and make a trade that will set the Oilers back even further? Maybe not a Ryan Smythe trade, but something similar?

    Its truely been painful being a fan since that magical run.

  • book¡e

    I think that Lowe was a good GM up to and including that point. I think he just hit burnout. It happens all of the time to scouts and others in the management business. When he gave his ‘stepping down/up interview’ he admitted that he was burnt out from the process, that he couldn’t handle it, and that it was causing him to make mistakes. He didn’t itemize the mistakes, nor did he leave the organization, but he did admit making them.

    I think he maintained his confidence in his decision making though until he was again ‘sobered’ with the results following the year or two after Tambelinni came on and it was still ‘management by committee’.

    With that said, I bet with a year away now that he has some decent insights to offer again and contributes more positively to the management of things than he did a couple of years ago.

  • Mac

    I lived in Ca near San Jose IT WAS SO SWEET to watch those games. The Detroit series was incredible on the edge of your seat hockey and my DVD recorder wasn’t working. AHHHHH I would kill to see those games now!!!! When they took out SAN JOSE I found going to work in an Oilers Jersey was so sweet!

  • Sir Smoka Lottt

    I picked straight oilers that year in my playoff pool and I took Fernando with my last pick.Ended up winning 3200 and shut everybody up cause they thought I was crazy taking Oilers.

  • Jodes

    I just read that the Wild were talking Penner for 2nd rounder + more picks and the Oil would have to take Chuck Kobasu (sp?) and his $$. WTH if ST can’t get more than a 2nd, a couple late round picks and have to take on a bad contract/player?!? that sounds like a bad deal for us. But that makes me very scard of what is going to happen here.

  • I would much rather the oilers do nothing tomorrow, then make deals like the one mentioned above.

    For once we are dealing from a position of strength, and if the right deal isn’t there I would like to see them walk away.

  • I very nearly tear up when i see Roli’s pic and i get that warm and fuzzy feeling when i look at 44 again in Oilers duds…like a little boy on a stormy nite and you know nothing bad’s going to happen when Pronger’s on the ice ….SH!T!!!!

    • Quicksilver ballet

      As that season unfolded i remember watching Pronger on our blueline and couldn’t help but think to myself, what the heck is a guy like that doing here. Some games i’d have to pinch myself to remind me that it was real…and we had five years of Chris to look forward to.

      As i had a look back at that 06 run and the atmosphere in the building i couldn’t help but feel the building the Oilers play in is just fine. I wouldn’t be so quick to force that new building down everyones throat. We gather there for the team that is on the ice and for the entertainment they provide. I can’t buy the arguement that larger concourses, more luxurious luxury boxes and more space for marketing oportunities is going to improve the entertainment on the ice. The new building won’t revitalize Edmontons downtown, it may revitalize a 6 block area but the rest will certainly remain the same. Replace the seats, punch out the concourse sections and Rexall will be fine for another 20 yrs.

  • …I had been off the Oiler or for that matter any hockey bandwagon for a lot of years when the Summer of 2005 brought the second coming of Chris[t]. The City Hall freak show gathering near blew me away with all it’s hype and hope being dispensed…fast forward through the season and then the run…well, we all just SNAPPED!!! we went through the league and to the final and we all got so outta control and then we show up at the breakfast table one morning after game seven and there’s a sharp knife we get to slit our wrists with sitting in front of us…

    my son would’ve said “…whata nightmare…”

    Pronger was gone forever and there nothing but blackness…

  • O.C.

    ST has the upper hand, he doesn’t have to pull the trigger. The other side should always overpay today, or the deal doesn’t happen.

    Roli for a first was one of the best moves the Oil ever made.

    • Kodiak

      I think the Wild traded that pick to LA along with Patrick O’Sullivan for Pavol Demitra. LA took Trevor Lewis with it. I think thats how it went down anyway.

      Roli for Trevor Lewis seems like the steal of the century now.

  • TSN panel from The Reporters tout Terry Jones column about THIS being the defining moment for our GM…i think ya maybe it’s a defining moment for this GM this year … cuz maybe our GM won’t survive this year to next…i can only hope

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Don’t want to poo-poo the Cup Run of ’06 too much….but as I recall, the only reason that team even made the playoffs was because of a Vancouver Canucks’ collapse. They weren’t that great during the regular season, and they backed into the playoffs.

    They got hot during the playoffs, and it was one of the better (and worst) things that ever happened to this franchise.

    I don’t really look back on that team all that fondly, to be honest with you. The playoff run was entertaining, but the aftermath hasn’t been too great.

  • justDOit

    Sadly Bill is right, but to continue his thought, the only reason we made it to the finals was because Detroit was pretty banged up heading into the playoffs. Datsuk had some type of upper body injury (shoulder?), and there were many players on that team who had just played in the Olympics.
    It was magical, but not without some luck as well, but isn’t that a part of any Cup run?