Seven Oilers You Miss (But Probably Shouldn’t)

The Edmonton Oilers have had a lot of pretty forgettable players over the last decade. 

That’s resulted in a lot of irrational cult love. 

Let’s face it. 

Outside of Edmonton’s unfairly well-stocked collection of offensive first overall picks, pretty much any player on the roster for the last ten years has been replacement level for their position at best, and absolutely abhorrent at worst. 

“BUT CATHERINE, WHAT ABOUT TEDDY PURCELL?”

no. 

“SAM GAGNER!”

no. 

“TOBIAS RIEDER!”

do you mean Kale Kessy?

“JEFF PETRY!”

that one… we’re not talking about that one. 

Were some players booted from the system due to bad management? Sure. 

I joke about the Rieder trade all the time, but that one hurts (thank you, Tambellini! Never change!). The Andrew Cogliano trade kind of stings, too, especially given how much he could probably have helped the team’s forgettable supplementary offensive corp over the last few years. 

When your team doesn’t give you a whole lot to be happy about, though, you get Hockey Player Stockholm Syndrome. You start to love those you shouldn’t, and question every departing player – after all, what did management do to ever make you think they’d let go of the right pieces? 

With that, here’s a trip through memory lane – taking a look at a handful players you probably hated to see leave, even when your heartbreak didn’t make much sense. 

*disclaimer: if I left a player off, yes. It was because I personally hate you, and I was definitely trying to snub you and your Favorite Player Ever on purpose.*

1. Mark Arcobello

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Dude played just 78 collective games in an Oilers uniform, but how much do we love him? 

Answer: too much. 

Arcobello stands at just 5 foot 8 (on a good day), and was a supplementary scorer at best. A good one, sure, but that was it.

His tiny stature and willingness to score during Edmonton’s darkest hours, though, earned him enough love to make his parting sting. He developed a cultish following during his 78 games, which resulted in Youtube video tributes and tears when he left. 

Did his departure probably hurt the team’s scoring depth? Absolutely – but complaining about the loss of Mark Arcobello was like complaining that someone stole your car’s radio when they also stole your transmission. We miss Marcobello – but let’s be honest. We may miss him a little bit too much. 

2. Tom Gilbert

I’m pretty guilty of being irrationally attached to Tom Gilbert, but his affable personality during the team’s darkest hours made it hard to hate him. 

The loss of Tom Gilbert on the blue line wasn’t great, I get that (although the Nick Schultz the Oilers saw wasn’t nearly the Nick Schultz the Flyers are seeing now, trust me). It wasn’t Andrew Cogliano trade level bad, but it wasn’t wonderful – and as time has gone on, that particular trade has looked less and less defensible. 

Of all the players we sometimes wax nostalgic for, though, this is one we maybe need to let go of. 

3. Ilya Bryzgalov

Remember when we were more excited about a player off the ice than we were about them on the ice, because the team was playing entire shifts down a man for no reason at all sometimes? 

What a magical time in Oilers history. 

4. Steve Macintyre

Who’s got two thumbs and didn’t care at all about Steve Macintyre and his contribution to the Oilers? 

This gal!

I know I’m fairly alone in that sentiment, though. A lot of Oilers fans had a real soft spot for the grit Macintyre brought to the table during the 26 games – literally, he played only 26 games – in which he managed to draw into Edmonton’s lineup. 

Claimed off of waivers by the Florida Panthers in 2009, people were legitimately upset about this departure. If that’s not Stockholm Syndrome… 

5. Richard Bachman

Look, I know that every single one of you reading this were DEFINITELY not one those frantic, almost desperate fans who wanted Richard Bachman to become a starter after he had like, 1.5 good NHL games a few years ago. I’m totally talking about a strawman, right? 

None of us also totally thought that he was going to DEFINITELY SAVE THE SEASON in 2015 when he got a shutout either, right? 

You’re all liars. 

Nothing says “my team is so bad that I’ve started considering replacement-level players as my new saviour” quite like the morbid fascination Oilers nation had with Richard Bachman. Enjoy Vancouver, bud. 

6. Rob Schremp

I love me some Rob Schremp as much as the next person. Don’t get me wrong. He’s got flair and a decent Instagram account; what more could we ask for from a career AHLer? 

The sad fact of the matter is that Schremp was highly hyped in junior and just never cut it as an NHLer, and happened to be a first-round bust just when the team was really starting to sink into despair. 

As Oilers fans, the inclusion of Schremp on this list isn’t necessarily a player that we ‘miss’ – but man, is he ever one we need to let go. 

Stop comparing Jesse Puljujarvi to Rob Schremp.

Stop comparing Jesse Puljujarvi to Rob Schremp. 

Stop comparing Jesse Puljujarvi to Rob Schremp. 

Stop comparing Jesse Puljujarvi to Rob Schremp. 

7. Have we stopped missing Ladislav Smid yet? 

The Stockholm Syndrome-esque reaction to the Smid trade has finally died down, mostly because Smid himself has dropped off the face of the earth. He’s more broken than Joffrey Lupul. 

It’s an eerie feeling, though, to consider: if he was still a healthy player all year – despite having yielded goaltender Laurent Brossoit – there’s a good chance people would still be bemoaning this trade. The only thing that seemed to upset some people more than the Smid trade was that Nick Schultz was also shipped out. 

Let’s not revisit that time in our history. 

  • Jay (not J)

    Big Mac had so much promise – but then they went and changed the game. I guess hockey’s better without people who can’t play hockey bloodying up the ice, but the odd heavyweight tilt in the middle of a hockey game was something different to talk about the next day than just another Oilers loss.

    And hey, put Taylor Hall on that list. Get over it already. Heal!

  • TDegen10

    #1 on this list (even though he’s still on the team) is Nail Yakipov. Don’t get me wrong, I like the kids enthusiasm but the guy is so fundamentally flawed it boggles my mind (the fact that some people think he’s an easy replacement for Eberle or even on the same level of skill drives me nuts and furthers my point)

    And #2 will probably get the lynch mobs after me, but Oscar “I have horrible injury luck” Klefbom isn’t far behind him in terms of being over loved. Good player (not great as some of you who write / comment on this site would have the world believe) but hasn’t shown me anything to herald him as the second coming of “insert good defensman’s name here” unless that name is some injury prone player

      • TDegen10

        1 player does not make a team (with the exception of ultra talents like McDavid and even they can’t make a team win) so sure if your talking historical goals you are correct (and in that case name me a current Oiler who has? Not hall or RNH or even the great McDavid has) but that doesnt change the fact that Yakipov is an inferior player (vastly) to Eberle or that Eberle hasn’t lived up to his billing by comparison to Klefbom. You not liking Eberle doesn’t change the fact that he’s an elite scoring winger

        • Powdered milk

          Perhaps you should look up the top scoring RW from last season and then think before putting the words “elite” and “Eberle” in the same sentance

          • Cain

            Well, I guess opinions(yours) would vary.

            If he’s top 25 in the world (and he was) during a season that he only played 7/8ths of a season,I’d say that’s elite (you wouldn’t).

            He normally scores around 60 points a season.That would put him in the top 10 right wingers in the world. That’s elite,even if you don’t agree.

          • Cain

            Don’t try to misdirect me, acknowledge that the numbers(which you suggested be looked up) prove Eberle to be an elite right winger.

            You may not like him, but in your comment (number 38) you suggested someone look up Eberle’s numbers from last season. I did. He was the 25th leading scorer in the best league in the world despite not playing a full season.

          • Powdered milk

            All of the players I mentioned finished ahead of Eberle is scoring last year, how is that misdirecting you? Are they now up to your elite standards or not?

          • Cain

            Eberle played less games than the guys you mentioned.

            Eberle has put up the numbers for more years than the guys you mentioned.

            Eberle is far more likely to repeat those numbers than the guys you mentioned.

            Part of being an elite scorer is doing so on a consistent basis.

            Now, are you going to admit the numbers show Eberle to be an elite scoring right winger, or not?

          • I am Batman

            Why don’t you build Eberle a statue, and invite him to your place and cook for him an amazing diner to celebrate his eliteness?

            If you can keep him there you will be doing us all a favour.

          • I am Batman

            No.

            He also gives away the puck, does not back check, fore check, or give a damn.

            Elite = Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, Sydney Crosby, Connor McDavid, Shea Weber, Drew Doughty, PK Subban, Carey Price, Oliver Ekman Larsson…. the list goes on and it can be a long one.

            Eberle = not elite.

  • Dan 1919

    Petry- Somehow the steller Petry has shown a weak defensive game again in Montreal despite a huge section of Oiler fans thinking he was legit top 4 impact guy. Petry can skate and is worthy of an NHL role, but the Oilers are no worse or no better with/without him… He’s nothing special, as time has proven in Montreal too.

    • CMG30

      Actually Petry has shown a lot in Montreal, as evidenced by his performance in the playoffs, his next contract and the fact that Edmonton’s defense fell into the abyss that they’re only now crawling out of after he was traded.

      It’s not his fault that in Montreal there was no goal tender behind him after Price went down just like it wasn’t his fault that Edmonton played him on the top paring when he was clearly a 2nd paring guy.

      • Oilerchild77

        Just like it wasn’t his fault for anything here right? And he was just traded the season before last, and you make it sound like they were horrible for so long after the trade. In fact, since they traded Petry, their defensive petformance as a team has actually improved. And it improved even more when they ditched Jultz. So what I’m saying is, get ovet it.

    • Oilerchild77

      100% agree. His contract is exactly the same one the Oilers signed Sekera to, except Sekera is a MUCH better defenceman. You don’t see the blind defensive zone puck clearings and boneheaded mistakes from Sekera that we regularly saw Petry make.

    • JimmyV1965

      Agreed. The whole Petry narrative is weird. He was blah in Edmonton, looked awesome for the Habs with Price in net and was blah again last year. Definitely not worth $5.5 mill per year.

    • fisherprice

      Jeff Petry was easily Montreal’s best defender not named PK last year. He was actually better defensively (both regular and fancy stats bear this out) than the previous season while getting harder zone starts and competition. But hey, why let “facts” get in the way of anything.

      • I am Batman

        OH God… here we go with the Petry cry babies.

        The Petry I remember was soft, made a ton of mistakes and he was less than stellar. Sure, was he better than many here in Edmonton? Yeah, but that is like saying that you danced with the best looking girl in Nisku.

        The argument of you falling in love with players who aren’t worthy of that love is unreal, I have not seen in in any other sport or team in my life. You guys cheer for players not teams.

        Petry is gone, for picks none the less (can’t even remember which pick was that). We can blame management, the coach, the system or the universe for being so unfair (never our beloved player, why would we do that?) but the fact of the matter is that if you were putting a team together and you can choose any players you want, you’d be a fool to choose Jeff Petry as one of your defenders. Good riddance.

        Plus he looks like Tom Gilbert, another freaking softy

        • fisherprice

          I dunno man, you sure take the opportunity to insert Jeff Petry needlessly into the conversation all the time, just so you can fly off the handle and post a diatribe about how he’s “soft” and how he was probably single handedly responsible for the Oilers defensive problems. In fact, do you make any posts that aren’t just complaints about Petry or Eberle and how you think a bunch of professional NHLers who could absolutely destroy you on any given day of the week are “soft”?

  • Cain

    Ryan Smyth “The Sequel” .

    Old guy riding out the string on a bad team, getting by on past accolades.

    Spare me the “Awesome in the dressing room” talk. You weren’t in the dressing room and have no idea if he was good in there or not.

    All the gibberish of “Captain Canada” just proves my point of living on past accolades.

    • FISTO Siltanen

      At the end of the 2012 season exit meetings Hall was talking about being more competitive as a team. Being prepared and ready.

      Ryan Whitney had just returned from an injury that would soon end his career and all he talked about was helping the team take the next step. Wasn’t concerned about playing out the final year of his deal. Just wanted the team to be better.

      Ryan Smyth wanted to ensure market value on his next contract and saw his season of ~40 points worthy of a decent contract. Who cares if he scored 20 of those points in the first 20 games. Felt he was a 40+ point scorer and should be paid accordingly.

      • Cain

        And then delivered an impressive 12 goals in his final 119 games.

        With power play time.

        While collecting 10 million dollars.

        Hurray Captain Canada!!!

        People can trash it all they like, but those are the numbers.

          • Cain

            The blog is about players who are missed that probably shouldn’t be missed.

            Many on this site post comments about missing “Smitty”.

            I am pointing out why I think that is a mistake, in the comment section.

            Isn’t that what this site is about?

            As far as I know, Ryan Smyth did not sleep with my mother.

          • FISTO Siltanen

            Hate is a strong word (for my part in this) but he just annoyed at the end.

            His 2007 departure where he made it out like he should’ve been paid like Joe Sakic for years but took a “hometown discount” for the Oilers just bugged me. He might’ve deserved a few bucks more over his time…but not that much.

            And like I said in my first post, at seasons end while other players with a lot less cache with this team are talking about seeing the team do better, who cares about money, and there’s Mr Team talking about not wanting to take a pay-cut while none of his legion of fans holding his feet to the fire.

            Ya. He annoyed me at the end.

  • THRNHJE

    Ive been guilty of missing all of these players from time to time, but none more than Marcobello. His underdog story, he’s just got the heart of a champion!

  • THRNHJE

    Ive been guilty of missing all of these players from time to time, but none more than Marcobello. His underdog story, he’s just got the heart of a champion!

  • ShakyDS

    Thank you Cat Silverman. For the first time in a while I actually enjoyed reading something on ON.

    *crosses fingers the comments section don’t become the usual, predictable train wreck.

  • Rob...

    Steve MacIntyre was loved for the right reasons. He had a role, he knew his role, he filled that role. He was also incredibly happy to wear an Oilers jersey for the times he did so. His +/- also doesn’t suggest he deserves your sentiment.

  • Explicit

    I don’t miss any of the guys on this list! The only guy still playing hockey that I miss is Hemsky. His scoring is down but he’s playing some good all around smart veteran hockey for the stars.

  • Explicit

    another is eberle elite discussion? Guess it all depends on your definition of elite.

    I think he’s a good scoring winger. I don’t think he’s a 6mil guy, and I don’t think he does enough to be considered elite. He’s got good hands in tight around the net, that’s about all

  • ubermiguel

    Arco was never going to be the solution, but he was a nice pro-scouting find. Then of course he was traded away for a player we could have had for free (Roy) the day before. His exit from Edmonton was just another laughable move by the amateurs that were managing this team.

  • beloch

    Smid was damaged goods by the time he was traded. The Flames haven’t gotten more than a handful of barely adequate third pairing performances from him. The Flames’ blueline will actually be improved this season if Smid stays on LTIR. If you really want this guy back, I’m sure he’s free to a good home, and probably free to Edmonton too.