Miro Satan was drafted by Barry Fraser and the Edmonton Oilers during one of the darkest periods in team history (1993). His incredible development over a small period of time should have represented a major victory for the organization, but they sent away over 300 goals and a long NHL career for very little return. 

Satan serves as a cautionary tale: don’t give up on prospects too soon–especially those who are delivering results! 

Satan impressed the Oilers with his talent immediately, they were talking about him as a potential NHL player in the fall of 1993–just months after he was drafted. In 1994-95, his first season in North America, he scored 24 goals in 25 AHL games at the age of 20. If you look back through AHL history, guys who can score 24 goals in 25 games at the age of 20 are going to have very short minor league careers unless they get injured or have no free agent option. 

In 1995-96 Satan made his NHL debut, effective in a depth role (scoring 18 goals) and finding his way among a tremendous group of young wingers (Dean McAmmond, Mariusz Czerkawski, Ryan Smyth, Kirk Maltby); that group of wingers would eventually cause a logjam that saw Satan (and Maltby) sent away for very little. 

In 1996-97, Smyth exploded with a tremendous offensive season and Czerkawski gave the team some impressive secondary scoring. McAmmond was fleet of foot and could play more roles, and so Satan played fewer minutes, eventually getting himself traded at the 1997 trade deadline. 

Why did the Oilers do it? Well, in fairness they did have a large number of terrific wingers. There were also other reasons, as mentioned in this article:

  • Sather: "Miro? He had the ability with us but he wasn’t playing all that much. But there was another part of the agenda. They were talking about him going back home (over his contract). The ultimate thing is, it’s my decision to trade a guy, nobody else’s."
  • Ron Low: "He could always score but he was a streaky scorer."

The Oilers made a massive error, making the call on a skill player because he was inconsistent (there were also rumblings about his ability to play away from the puck–something Buffalo seemed able to life with over the years). The Oilers–at the time of the trade–had seen Satan pump 35 goals in NHL nets in 126 games. That’s about 23 goals per 82 games–a 2line scorer in most every era, certainly the late 1990’s. Add the fact that he was just a kid and that’s a resume for a future 40 goal scorer, which is exactly what Satan did in 1998-99. 


Miro Satan had a long and productive career–winning a Stanley with Pittsburgh–and the Oilers got squat. Had they kept him? Well, Satan scored 35 goals in 2005-06 the year Edmonton went to the SCF’s. That season, they needed to add a left winger (Sergei Samsonov) and did so by sending the pick that eventually became Milan Lucic to Boston. 

The draft is a long and winding road–and a great selection on draft day needs time to develop. Miroslav Satan screamed ‘first shot scorer’ from the moment he was drafted, but Glen Sather chose to send him away because his coach wasn’t playing him. The club spent the next 15 years looking for a first shot scorer. A painful lesson about the value of skill. 

  • Lowetide

    youre too kind lowetide. it wasnt very little they received, it was nothing.
    you knew this guy was a scorer from the time he lit the olympics up in 1994 with 9 goals in 8 games. still dont understand the deal.

  • The Soup Fascist

    Barrie Moore and Craig Millar = squat? The Devil you say, LT.

    So 15 years ago the Oilers had an overabundance of young talented wingers and traded the wrong ones away in an attempt to address a lack of capable defencemen and depth at center.

    Sure glad the Oilers organization have learned from that experience and avoided that land mine this time arou….. Oh!

    An interesting and timely article, LT.

    “Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it”.

  • The Soup Fascist

    The greatest Oiler name ever.

    Ron Low seemed to need a certain level of “blue collar” in a player to really connect with him. He was good for several players but just didn’t know how to handle Satan right.

    LT: your cautionary tale message seems timed. Are you saying this amidst this ominous silence in the contract talks with PRV?

  • Lowetide

    Hug the Post: It does seem curious. Paajarvi doesn’t have the scoring resume Satan did, but he’s a really valuable young player. We’ll see, the silence is deafening.

  • MarcusBillius

    Trading Magnus, for an upgrade in another area would not be a bad thing. And we should definitely want Magnus to have a very good and successful career. Trades should work well for both teams, and the thing is, that the Oil just have to make sure, that they receive a fair return for any players that they may trade. How about Magnus and Sam Gagner, for Cody Fransen and the Leafs first rounder. The Leafs get a good centre and winger, and the Oil get their number one D-man for now and the future.

  • Tikkanese

    Sore subject. I saw Satan play for the Detroit Vipers in the old IHL against the Chicago Wolves, and I knew during that game that the Oilers had a heck of a player.

    I got a customized a Miro Satan Oilers jersey (hard to come by in Chi-town – I still have it) and a few weeks later he was traded.

    Reminds me of how the Oilers mismanaged Omark. Not every player fits like a square peg into a square hole, especially when it comes to Europeans.

  • Tikkanese

    I’d say the return for Maltby wasn’t minimal. We got Dan McGillis for him who gave us a few good years. Then, Slats traded him for Janne. So, no, I wouldn’t say the return was minimal for Maltby.

  • Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)

    There are two lessons in the article….young players like PRV and our 1st round pick at 7th are our future…they are part of what keeps the cupboard stalked….

    we can’t afford Letang….literally and metaphorically…..if we go after a top four Dman…do so using 2nd round picks, veterans, and B grade prospects…

    NOT our 7th, PRV or Klefbom…

    • Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)

      I could be wrong…..but can you remember Detroit ever giving up a top prospect and two first round picks to get any player??? And their first rounders are usually late first round picks….

  • Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)

    Also, has Detroit EVER given out an 8 year 56 million dollar contract to anyone not named Nicholas Lidstrom or Pavel Datsyuk??

    Kris Letang is NO Nick Lidstrom….

  • Jprime

    russ99 is on the mark re Omark and Satan.

    Another lesson: don’t hire an idiot for a coach.

    I remember Sather’s comments at the time were to the effect of “I don’t know why the coach won’t play him more, but to be fair to the player I have to trade him if his coach doesn’t see the player I see.” I don’t recall any talk of contracts or moving at the time, but if there was I couldn’t blame Satan.

    Ron Low referred to Satan as a “ballerina” in one press quote. Satan played a game for the Oil with a collapsed lung–some ballerina! Shows how reality can’t get in the way of perceptions for some guys once they’ve made up their minds about a player, especially a Euro.

  • Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)

    On an unrelated note…..

    Bob Stauffer is reporting that Chicago is asking for a 1st and two 2nds for Dave Bolland……

    Dave Bolland IS Shawn Horcoff…..

    We’d be giving up a first and two 2nds to get Shawn Horcoff who we already own!?!?!

  • MarcusBillius

    What goal scorer *isn’t* streaky? I mean, there are times when Stamkos will go for 10 goals in 10 games and then have a 5-game drought.

    I’m just pissed because I sold my Satan jersey. =/

    • LinkfromHyrule

      depends how many other teams are interested in him. I would think it might be easier to pry him out because of his bad season, but the cost still won’t be nothing. Maybe a 2nd rounder and PRV or a prospect. Philly has a lot of cash invested in their defense so they might be willing to offload for less