Welcome, my friends, to Part One of the Best of OilersNation from the past 12 months. In this article, I’ve put together the most popular stories and topics from the year in our first annual look back at the year that was. Your boy dug through the Nation’s analytics, grabbed an abacus, and figured out which stories were the most read by you fine citizens and threw them together into two tasty parts. Now, let’s take a trip down memory lane as we look back at the first five stories that moved the dial at OilersNation in 2016.
10) The Oilers miss out on every defenseman in the NHL
I know what you’re thinking: “Why the hell is PK Subban included in a Top 10 list for OilersNation?” If we go back to the draft, you’ll remember the Twitterz getting us all fired up with rumours that Edmonton was interested in acquiring Subban from the Montreal Canadiens. At the time, it seemed crazy that the Habs would move their best defensemen, but that’s exactly what ended up happening. Maybe if we had paid more attention to Bob McKenzie from back in February we wouldn’t have all been so surprised. The swings and misses didn’t end with Subban, though. The Oilers were linked to every right-handed defenseman under the sun, and it was the one that no one talked about (Vatanen, Barrie, Trouba, Hamonic, Demers) that ended up being true.
9) Oilers lose Kris Versteeg to the Flames
I’ll tell you one thing, nothing annoys the Nation quite like being spurned by a player and having them sign with the Flames. In the beginning, Versteeg seemed like the perfect fit and spoke at length about providing leadership and versatility for a young Oilers team. After reports circled that the Oilers and Versteeg were on the verge of a deal, the story took a drastic turn when the veteran right-winger signed a one-year deal with the heathens from down South. For Oilers fans, Versteeg may be gone but is not forgotten.
8) KRIS RUSSELL VS EVERYONE
It’s pretty impressive that Kris Russell has only been an Edmonton Oiler since October but he’s still managed to generate enough traffic to land himself on the year’s Top 10 list. Russell has been the source of much debate around these parts, even inspiring a two-part series on why the Oilers should NOT extend him (Part One and Part Two), but there are still plenty of backers in his corner. With rumours heating up that the Oilers could be looking to extend Russell, I’m sure the debate will continue for years to come.
7) THE JACKETS PASS ON JESSE PULJUJARVI
Aside from the Taylor Hall trade (coming up in part two), one of the biggest surprises of the summer had to be when the Columbus Blue Jackets passed up the chance to draft Jesse Puljujarvi with the 3rd overall pick. As a result, Peter Chiarelli and Co. basically sprinted up to the stage and snapped up the big Finn with the 4th overall pick. As you can imagine, the Nation was fired up about the pick and we welcomed our new favourite Finn with open arms. Puljujarvi ended up cracking the opening night roster but has struggled to gain traction, often finding himself as the extra man in the press box. What will the future hold for young Puljujarvi? No one knows for sure, but this is a journey that has only just begun.
Easily one of the Nation’s favourite trades from this year was when the Oilers acquired Pat Maroon from the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for Martin Gernat and a 4th round pick. Since landing in the Y-E-G, Maroon has done more than anyone likely expected and finds himself as a crowd favourite. I mean, it’s hard not to love the guy when he’s out stealing pucks from his former team, loves singing Bieber songs, and is willing to throw down at a moment’s notice. We’re not sure what the future holds for Patrick Maroon, but I, for one, hope that the Oilers are part of it. We’re big fans of Maroon time.
WHAT SAY YOU???
With Part One in the books, I’m wondering what you think of the first five topics/stories on the list? Any of these stories bring back memories? Any of them still make you jump for joy? What say you, Nation?