The Biggest Stories of 2016: Part 1

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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

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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. 

6) MAROOOOOOOOOOOOOOOON!

MaroonSwimming

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?

  • Ready to Win

    5. Lucic signs with Oilers, so he can play with McDavid

    4. McDavid comes back from injury

    3. McDavid doesn’t win Calder

    2. McDavid named captain.

    1. Hall won’t get to play with McDavid anymore, Larsson will.

  • Smithers

    I find myself getting more and more frustrated with some of the bigger risk moves that Chia has made. On the one hand, Maroon (great!). On the other, has anyone seen Barzal at the World Juniors? Or Reinhart at all?

  • Foximus

    Picking up guys like Maroon is how you win a cup.
    PC is making his moves towards winning the cup – get on the bandwagon.
    Same goes for the Hall/Larson trade. All good.

  • 24% body fat

    Flamesnation writing articles about Tkachuk for Calder. LOL quality journalism there.

    They are also saying he is 3rd best player of the draft from this year based on 35 games. I guess it is time for them to admit how much better Draisaitl is than Bennett and that Bennett was the wrong pick at 4 with Ehlers, Larkin, Nylander, Pastrnak and Fabbri still on the board.

    • @Hallsy4

      Hall has all the skill in the World, but doesn’t get the job done. He’s like Nuge, Ebs, Yak, and Pouliot, only better. There were a lot of players like that during the decade of despair, and Chia Pete is slowly moving them all out.

      • CBK

        I’d say the main reasons why Lucic has (1) more points then Hall is because:

        a) Hall hasn’t been able to stay healthy (he’s currently injured, again)

        b) Lucic plays mostly with McDavid.

        You’d like to see Lucic start getting more points then he currently has but hey the Oilers are still finding ways to win.

        Bring on the Kings.

        • HardBoiledOil 1.0

          actually Lucic is doing exactly what i expected him to do when we signed him. yes he’s slow as mud but he’s going to put up similar numbers to what he did last year in LA, plus he brings the size and toughness up front that we needed and a good veteran presence (unlike a guy like Pouliot who’s just a veteran and not a very good one).

      • Total Points

        I agree about Hall. I watch a lot of Devils games and Hall plays like Eberle.

        Both don’t get in there to get the puck out of Oiler zone or retrieve the puck in the offence zone.

        In the Devil’s games against playoff type teams like Pittsburgh, NYR, Sharks, Hall is not that visible and gets very little done.

        Chai will have to complete the transition for the Hall, Ebs, Nuge era.

        Not the players fault but the revolving door regarding the coaches did not help any of them. Very sad

        • @Hallsy4

          The Nilsson Gagner and Cogliano rebuild didn’t work. The Hall EBS Omark Puujarivi (HOPE) rebuild didn’t work. The modified Hall Nuge EBS Yak Jultz rebuild didn’t work. This is depressing me. The McDavid, Drai, Talbot, Nurse, Klef, Larsson looks awesome, fail proof. EBS and Nuge no longer form part of the core, and should be dismissed accordingly. Heaven forbid Nuge scores a whopping 15 goals for another team, and plays average to slightly above average defense while winning 48% of his draws.

  • IRONman

    Trades are good

    Look at Maroon. Awesome guy.

    And no matter how bad the game, look at it this way: we got McDavid the Best player in the World

    The team is better

  • Personally, I enjoyed the narratives around the big stories, and how ridiculous they were. I don’t know where or how it happens, but local media and bloggers end up parroting out the same lines all the time. Some of my favorites were:

    The Hall trade was as much about culture change as it was upgrading defense.

    All cup teams need two line drivers, and without Hall the Oilers only have one line driver.

    Trade Nuge because you can’t have three scoring lines.

    Trouba didn’t want to play in Canada.

    Shattenkirk doesn’t want to play in Canada.

    Severson or Green are / were better defenders than Larsson.

    Yakupov would do way better on a different team.

    And my personal favorite, the team is worse now than with Hall.

  • Neumann

    Member Gretzky? I member.
    Member Messier? Oh yeah I member.
    Member Stanley Cups? Yeh I member.
    Member Pronger and 2006? Oh I member.
    Member when Hall got traded? I member.
    Member McDavid and leading the league in points? I member!

  • @Hallsy4

    I’ve heard this but I’m not sure if there’s any truth to it. Devils wouldn’t mind Fayne back, and Hall hasn’t fit as they’d hoped… Yet they still need Scoring. Nuge and EBS need a change of scenery. Fayne, Nuge, Ebs and Pouliot for Hall, Cammellari, and I forget who it was but a bad contract or two from Jersey. Any truth to this?

    • Señor Frijoles

      I’d place the chances of that deal somewhere between

      “extremely unlikely” and
      “HahahahaHahahahHA!”

      (Although I would love to get Hall back)

  • Valar Morghulis

    10) Positive – Love that Subban didn’t end up here. We have Klefbom/Larsson combined making his salary.

    9) Positive – Hindsight is 20/20. Versteeg is often injured and not doing much in Calgary anyway. They can gloat about that all they want (especially since they need everything they can get to put us down).

    8) Positive – Russell was actually a pleasant surprise after striking out on everyone else. Not sure what to think about the extension rumours though.

    7) Neutral – CBJ sent Pierre-Luc Dubois down to start the season and that team is on fire. Not quite sure what they’re trying to do sitting Puljujarvi. The fact we got him was awesome though.

    6) Positive – MAROOOON! What’s not to like, especially that sexy maroon swimming badge.

    Not one negative item there for me which makes those good stories.

    • Señor Frijoles

      Nailed it. All great points.

      Subban is great, but eats up waaayy to much cap space for a team that needs to sign Drai, Nurse, McDavid and more in the next couple years.

  • Valar Morghulis

    So I have a couple things on my mind from chatter throughout the year…

    #1 The Oilers are at the top of their division and yes, at times Lucic is giving up the puck, but put that into perspective and look at the Islanders signing Ladd to comparable dollars and being one point out of last in the East. Ladd has 6 less points than Nuge and Tavares only has 8 more points than Nuge at the same price point. Do you think the Islanders are talking about trading Tavares?

    #2 Tyson Barrie and the Colorado Avalanche are dead last in the NHL by a mile, a fitting spot for the mile high city. Is he (or Trouba) really that good that people wanted to sell the farm to get him? His stats don’t look good, but he does have the same amount of points as Tavares. All this talk of Barrie and Trouba (7 points) wanting $5-6M and that we should go after them scares the sh!t out of me. No thanks.

    #3 The Flames trolls must be feeling the pressure because their material is so weak it is actually sad and pathetic, kind of like their sad and pathetic little lives. But hey, at least they are keeping the gas flowing so we are warm for Christmas.

  • tileguy

    Speaking of Lucic and his giveaways,

    Member when Hall would drive the river by doing a one man sorte into the ozone and shoot a muffin into the goalies chest protector, ahhh good times.