There are things about Edmonton you can only tell by living here. There’s old money here you’ll never find by looking for signs of extravagance, there’s a tremendous sense of charity that can be overwhelming if you’re in need of it, and there’s a pride and entrepreneurial spirit that likely comes from isolation and independence. And hockey fans like their defensemen tough, edgy and with a max effort. Little wonder Steve Staios flourished in the Capital.
IN THE BEGINNING
Staios was a high pick (2nd round, 1991) by St. Louis but never played for the Blues. He was 6.0, 183 and ranked 17th in that year’s draft but fell to 27th overall on draft day. One of the reasons for his fall had a major impact on his early career:
- "The Bruins believe he might be better suited to play a forward position."
Staios finished his OHL career in 1993 and played most of three years in the minors before St. Louis traded him to Boston (who were interested in him on his draft day) in March 1996. At that point the Bruins tried him out but still couldn’t make up their minds on him and a year later he was lost to Vancouver on waivers. He played fairly regularly (mostly on defense) in Vancouver and then moved on to Atlanta at the expansion draft.
In Atlanta, he began to settle in to his NHL career. He emerged as a captain and enjoyed a career season in 2000-01. Playing for an expansion team often means unusual decisions and the Thrashers let Staios go to free agency in the summer of 2001. Edmonton came calling and solved a defensive problem for most of a decade.
A LONG RUN IN EDMONTON
From the fall of 2001 through the trade deadline of 2010, Staios provided the Oilers with steady defense, rugged play and full effort. He became a team leader, a respected member of the community and one of the team’s high profile players. Steve Staios was part of the Oiler establishment, and was part of the high times that included a tremendous run to the Stanley Cup final in 2006.
After that, he pitched in on the rebuild, mentoring the incoming youth while also trying to help the young Oilers win as many games as possible. It is a tribute to his competitiveness that the Oilers sent him away shortly after deciding to go ‘full on rebuild’ and allowing him to contribute to a playoff run on a better team.
In what was very likely a one time event, Steve Staios became the first player to be traded from Edmonton to Calgary at the deadline in 2006. Coming the other way were Aaron Johnson and the draft pick that turned into Travis Ewanyk, and Oilers fans and Flames fans were both bewildered by the deal.
Steve Staios was cut from the same cloth as former Oilers Allan Hamilton, Lee Fogolin and cohort Jason Smith, and had a keen sense of community and (along with his wife) a sense of flair that drew positive attention and helped out local charities.
Steve Staios was born in Hamilton, a working class kid who never forgot his roots. He was born to be an Oiler.