Trading Places



Having just arrived into Vancouver from Edmonton with my team, the New York Islanders, both my room mate, Claude LaPointe and I were just getting settled in. It was a couple days before the trade deadline. The phone rings, we look at each other and because I was the youngest I had to get up to answer it.


"Hi Jason. It is Mike Milbury, (coach and gm at the time of the NY Islanders). We just traded you to the Vancouver Canucks. Thank you for your time with the Islanders. Mike Keenan will be calling you. Good Luck."


I am stunned. Claude can tell by the look on my face.

"You get traded?"

"I think so."



He laughs, "Come on, someone is messing with you! We just got here and we play them tomorrow. No way you got traded!"

I respect Claude and think he is right. I am getting jerked around. I relax.

The phone rings again.


"Jason? Hi, Mike Keenan of the Vancouver Canucks here. We just traded for you. Be downstairs in ten minutes with your stuff. Someone from the team will be there to pick you up, take you to a press conference and then to another hotel. Welcome."


So now my head is spinning. As I pack up my stuff Claude tells me this is great for me. I shake his hand and I am gone, just like that. Just over an hour later I am sitting in a new hotel, the newest member of the Canucks.

With the trade deadline only a few weeks away, the anxiety for some players will start to increase as their names are mentioned in trade rumors. Everyone deals with that differently, but they are happy when the deadline passes. I have seen players cry with sorrow, shed tears of joy or display anger and disbelief after being told they were traded.

I doubt very much that Blake Wheeler was thrilled to be sent to Atlanta last year knowing how good a shot at the cup the Bruins had. Watching them win must have torn him apart. The flip side of that is a guy like Thomas Kaberle. Even though he wasn’t great in the playoffs he got a cup. Thank you very much Boston!

Up until the trade deadline, really take a hard look at the player’s faces who get traded. It will tell you if they are happy or pissed because they think they just got screwed. Either way, all they can do is just move over to the next hotel.

Healthy for once?

…Can we all agree that the Oilers are a much more competitive team with a healthy roster or have the last couple weeks been a lucky run? I think they are competitive. Yes the depth may not be there yet but I think it is easier to fill out the depth rather than the top end talent.

Maybe we should wait and judge them on the games from the end of January to the end of the season.

    • Jason Strudwick

      Yes I did play against the team I was traded from the next night. I was just a little nervous. But even if I do say so myself I had a good game and fought the player I was traded for, Gino Odjick! I was upset with him because he told the media he didn’t mind getting traded but getting traded for a nobody was a slap in the face. I knew I would probably lose the fight but I couldn’t help myself.

  • vetinari

    I remember the scene in “Moneyball” where the GM tries to tell the young assistant GM to just give it to the player straight and to the point. Paraphrasing, he said something like, “if you were going to be shot, would you want one to the head or four to the body.”

    Milbury doesn’t strike me as a “warm and fuzzy” kind of guy, but a call at the hotel seems a little impersonal and harsh, especially with a young player.

    @ Struds – if you were a GM, would you have gone about it any different than Milburry or is straight and to the point the way to go?

    • Romulus' Apotheosis

      Moneyball was great! lots of gems. But I suspect they made things look at little more cut and dry in the trade dept. than they actually are.


      that’s a great story! Must be surreal to change everything on a dime like that, esp. if you have a family.

      I agree the welcome back to health has had an impact… but there goes RNH and Barker’s play is very, very touch and go.

    • Jason Strudwick

      I didn’t mind the way he handled telling me. Either way the result was going to be the same and to be honest I was very happy to be going to Vancouver.

      I think it is bad when a player hears it first from a reporter or sees it on tv before his team can tell him he has been traded. That is wrong but it happens. I have seen players in utter shock when their name flashes up on the screen and their are heading to wherever.

  • Jordan McNugent-Hallkins

    I would love to read an account of the other side of the trade. I bet it went something like this.

    Gino Odjick: “…Islanders? Damn. Really? Who for?… Jason who?”

    Another beauty, thanks Jason.

    I remember back in ’06 thinking that I would feel bad for Marty Reasoner if the Oilers won. He was a great soldier but the return the Oil got for him near the deadline (Samsonov IIRC?) was prett relevant to the playoff success that year, so I guess I wouldn’t have felt too bad.

    I was watching the Leafs/Oilers with my friend (a Leafs fan) last night and we started talking about Mats Sundin. I suggested it was too bad that such a fantastic player never even got a chance to play in the Cup Final. This sent my friend on a regrettably lengthy diatribe on how lucky “that bum” T. Kaberle is.

    I guess it happens both ways almost every year.

    • Naughty

      I just watched Moneyball on the weekend and I thought it was good, not great.

      While watching the movie I kept thinking about Stauffer and how he kept mentioning the book Moneyball back when he was doing Total Sports. I’d like to hear his thoughts on the movie.

      Also, the movie would have had more impact I think if buddy actually took the Red Sox offer and went on to win the W.S “using the moneyball team build philosophy” as mentioned in the writing at the end of the movie.

      Instead, he chose to turn down the 12.5 million offer? I mean, couldn’t he have used statistics to tell him that was an idiot to not accept that offer and win a W.S?

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Have to wonder if Steve has any waiting requests to be traded to take into consideration. This is one aspect of running a hockey club that seems to have gone quiet since the Souray debacle. Maybe someone gets dealt none of us expected. 3 yrs of virtual last place hockey isn’t for everyone.

    • Quicksilver ballet

      Y was MPS called up? The guy needs to stay down there for a while not be tossed around like a yo-yo. I would have been alright with harti or green again even cornet

      • Quicksilver ballet

        Not much they can do really. They have so little depth at the forward position they had no other option. This is Edmonton, not the Detroit Red Wings. In Detoit he wouldn’t play his first NHL game till probably next season. In Edmonton, close enough was the best the Oilers could do at the start of last season. Hopefully the way the Oilers have mismanaged Paajarvi and Lander won’t hurt them longterm.

      • A-Mc

        Puck Possession off an Offensive zone start can make or break a game in the playoffs.

        I dont think it’s unreasonable to pickup a faceoff guy if your team is really hurting in that department. I dont know what Phoenix’s situation is with regards to Draw %’s.

  • Romulus' Apotheosis

    The move is fine by me as long as they play him on one of the top two lines! Top 6 talent let’s see him get some time there without being jerked down after two shifts without a goal!

  • A-Mc

    MPS is back up?

    I wonder if they are trying to showcase him?
    I wonder if they are trying to give him 1 last shot for the season, in an attempt to see which hole he fits and will fit next season.

    I have to think that if Management was absolutely sure that Paajarvi would be with the club for the next couple years, they would call up someone else to fill the Forward hole. I suppose this IS some 2nd line ice time though…

    • A-Mc

      Its only 2nd line ice time if they actually play him there. Thats been the probably all season, playing him with guys on the third and forth that can’t get it done either.

  • A-Mc

    PS: I really like listening to Ralph Krueger. he’s not afraid to call a spade a spade and identify what the team is not doing very well. I feel like I’m getting a more honest reply from Ralph than if the question was asked of Tom.

  • Naughty

    This will draw the ire of a few but, i will say it anyway

    Trade EDM to LA

    From Edm

    Hemsky Paajarvi Sutton 3rd Rounder 2012 5th Rounder 2012 1st Rounder 2013

    From LA

    Penner Bernier Hickey 1st Rounder 2012

    Penner is a FA at seasons end, can and will walk away, unless you can get him for 1.5 mil

    Then Send Khabi to Tampa or anyone else for a 5th – 7th Rounder

    • Jason Strudwick

      Earth to Naughty. Earth to Naughty. You’re fairly high! The air must me thin up there. Come back down before you do some permanent damage to yourself.

    • Twiggs

      You sir, are mentally unstable! The donair market in Edmonton would be unable to support the return of Mr. Dustin Penner. That and he is a plug. Plus you are trading away a developing player (MPS) and a proven player (Hemsky) and banking on more draft picks.

      I don’t mind deals that involve trading Hemsky but the return has to be better than Penner.

      • Naughty

        The kings desperatley want rid of Penner, I DONT WANT PENNER, we will relieve them of that cap hit, and not re sign him in the off season, Hickey though unproven has similar upside to MPS, though he is a Dman, and Bernier might not live up to the hype, but at the goalie position thats more than we have now. not that im standing up for Penner, but since your so mentally astute “Twiggs” tell me who had more goals while Penner was in Edm, Him or Hemmer. Think on that for a week and get back to me. The “Return” as you cant seem to understand is pretty well 3 first round picks (bernier Hickey former) and not Penner, we would take him on to get the deal done.

        Also @Gitagrip

        That deal is lopsided for the Oilers, and no, Im not High, good one though well thought out.

        • book¡e

          Naughty, so glad you are back, however it appears you are still wobbly from the after affects of your trip. Unless Lombardi has photos of Dithers and some farm animals Bernier isn’t going anywhere. They have no depth in the crease. LA isn’t going to challenge this year and he can let Penner’s deal run out at no charge all by himself. Everyone is free to make a pitch to Hemmer July 1, again at no charge. Keep having those pipe dreams though. They are entertaining!!!

  • Romulus' Apotheosis

    Was interesting to hear Brian Burke talk last night about trying to make a trade for bigger forwards because the Leafs need size up front but “nobody is selling”. He sounded frustrated. People dumping on ST for not making a trade have to realize that what the Oilers need (power forward, puck-moving dman) simply aren’t readily available or the asking price right now is way too high.

  • Time Travelling Sean

    Bernier and Hickey and a 1st.

    Bernier is 11th overall?
    Hickey 4th.
    Their first may be 16-25.

    For a player that won’t help atm(MPS) and a struggling player(Hemmer) and a 36 year old D-man who is more of a defensive d-man.

    So an unproved 10th overall, and a struggling 13th who can walk away at years end for an 11th,4th, and 20th overall pick?

    • a lg dubl dubl

      Bernier is in the same boat as DD, Hickey is still an unproven dman, and a pick that might not make the club for the next 5yrs.

      Maybe Hemsky and DD for that but otherwise HELLZ NO!!

  • book¡e

    Struds – you need to give us an insider perspective. What role does ‘attitude’ play in the decisions made by coaches. Are there many attitude problems in the NHL or are they rare. Are there any on the Oilers – who?

  • ubermiguel

    Struds, love your writing and your hockey stories, they reminded me of “The Game” by Ken Dryden. You should think about putting together a book someday.

    • Jason Strudwick

      I guess when you are around the game as Iong as I have been you collect a few funny stories!

      Wait till I start telling you about all the healthy scratch bag skates I was a part of! You wouldn’t think it but some of them turned out to be great stories!