The Biggest Stories of 2016: Part 2

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After going through the first five most-read stories and articles of 2016 yesterday, we finish off the list with numbers five through one. In today’s list, we say goodbye to a few longstanding Oilers and hello to two new pieces that will be around long-term. 

5) ADAM LARSSON

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No matter what anyone says, this year couldn’t have been easy to come into for Adam Larsson. Back on June 29th, the Oilers traded the former face of the franchise in a one-for-one deal to acquire Larsson from the New Jersey Devils. While many of us were shocked at the return, the truth is that we really didn’t know much about what we were getting. After having a few months of watching the big Swede play alongside Oscar Klefbom you can start to see the potential that is there for that pairing. Unfortunately for some, the cost to acquire Larsson is still a point of contention and he may never live up to the billing. Can he do more? Of course. Should we continue to harp on the trade that cannot be changed or reversed? You tell me. 

4) SAIL ON, SWEET NAIL

Yak Bee

Before the season officially kicked off, the Oilers sent Nail Yakupov to the St. Louis Blues in exchange for a third-round pick (could be a second if he hits 15 goals ?) and the Pokaroo. While most of us weren’t happy with Yak’s results on the ice, no one ever questioned the quality of the human being. The point was driven home when Yakupov gave his exit interviews on his way to St. Louis when he stated he was relieved that the whirlwind was over. We’re sorry it didn’t work out, Yak, but moving on was best for both of us.

3) SO LONG, SHOWTIME SCHULTZ

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After starting out with so much promise (48 points in 34 AHL games), Justin Schultz was traded to Pittsburgh for a third-round pick back in February. As it turns out, Schultz got the last laugh as the Pittsburgh Penguins went on to win the Stanley Cup with Schultz sneaking onto the roster due to injuries. Looking back, I can’t help but wonder how much MacT’s “Norris potential” talk and refusal to acquire/keep veteran d-men to shelter Schultz hurt his time in Edmonton. Most of the blame is always on the player, but you can’t ignore the mismanagement either. Regardless, Schultz has moved on and is having a solid year for the Penguins. 

2) WELCOME TO EDMONTON, MILAN LUCIC

Lucic training camp thoughts. #Oilers #NHL #YEG

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For as long as this website has existed there have been digital words printed about acquiring a guy like Milan Lucic. Well, on July 1st of this year the Oilers didn’t get a player just like Lucic, they signed the OG to a whopping seven-year, $42 million contract. After signing his deal, Lucic promised to bring some swagger back to an organization that hasn’t given their fan base much to cheer about. 

1) THE TAYLOR HALL TRADE

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Back on June 29th, the Oilers traded away the former face of the franchise in Taylor Hall and the news almost crashed our servers. I remember writing this article in complete disbelief, and you’ll be able to tell by the way the article went. As a whole, the Nation has collectively calmed down in the months since the Hall trade but, on that first day, there was plenty of venom being spewed. That trade article (linked above) was by far the most read article on OilersNation this year and it wasn’t close. That article got more people reading and interacting than yesterday’s entire list combined. Fortunately, your pal Chris the Intern followed up with a few handy tips for getting over the trade that shocked OilersNation. As 2016 winds down, I ask if you’ve all moved on or if the trade still bothers you?

BONUS – CONNOR MCDAVID

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The crazy thing about putting this list together was that Connor didn’t have a single story that moved the dial like the 10 listed before this. You’re going to think I’m lying but it’s the truth. Despite coming back from the collarbone injury, or the fact that Connor was named the league’s youngest captain, and he’s carrying the team, and he’s scoring insane goals that don’t really make sense to mere mortals, and doing it all before his 20th birthday none of those articles surpassed the ones listed in this Top 10. How can that be possible? I have no idea. That said, how can we have a countdown without Connor? The guy was a blessing for this franchise and I refused to put together a countdown that did not include him. I guess if there’s any lesson from this exercise it’s that we should all try to appreciate the good things we have, and not so much on the negatives. Too much to ask? We’ll see what happens in 2017. 

WHAT SAY YOU???

With our countdown locked in, I’m wondering, yet again, what you think of the final five topics/stories on the list? Any of these stories bring back memories? Did I miss anything that you thought would be included? What say you, Nation?


  • Foximus

    To follow yesterdays comments, adding Maroon has been a big deal. Adding Lucic and Larsson is the same thing. Adding grit with skill to the team was essential. Giving up Hall will be a discussion forever but nobody can deny the Oilers are better.

    Saying goodbye to Yak and Shultz are totally an after thought for me. Didn’t work out – move on. They didn’t fill their potential or were mis-managed – doesn’t matter anymore. Move on.

    With McDavid leading the way and with the proper depth in the lineup I think the Oil will be contenders for a very long time.

  • I still look at the Hall trade, like I look at the Rick Nash trade. Elite scoring wingers head out of town for what is considered a poor return. And while the players coming back were worse, somehow the TEAM was better. I think even last year the Oilers were a collection of individuals. This years they are a team with an identity. That was so important to turn the corner.

    I don’t think Conner articles get a lot of traffic for two reasons. First, what is there left to say? How many hyperbole can you use to describe awesome? I mean if you’re Top Gear then somehow you can keep coming up with new ways to say fast, but in Edmonton, not so much. Second I still don’t think writers and fans alike really believe this guy is on our team. Conner didn’t get a single point last night, but would the Oilers have won without him? I can’t see it. I could see the Kings doing their typical song and dance where they hem the Oilers in for extended periods, or score at will. Anyone remember that game last year where Kings won like 6 – 2. Ya that type of hockey didn’t happen last night.

    At any rate, good times being an Oiler fan right now.

  • camdog

    “Most of the blame is always on the player, but you can’t ignore the mismanagement either.”

    It may have taken a while but Katz now knows that if your management team is compromised of people whom are incompetent you aren’t going to build a winning hockey team. The blame the players game ended the day Mact was fired.

      • camdog

        I’ve worked in organisations where I wasn’t a fit, where management didn’t know how to use me. Maybe the company blamed me for my failures after I left, however I did really well before I came to that company and did ever better after I left said company. I’ve also witnessed first hand many talented people failing at a job because of managerial incompetence. I’m pretty sure we have all been there and seen that.

        Blaming the staff, aka the players was what Mactavish was good at, thankfully Katz finally figured out where the problems were at.

  • Looch#27

    The Hall trade looks better and better every game!! Larrson is a beast on the backend and Hall is in one of his funks and NJ is on a losing streak sound familiar? Shultz is the poster boy for poor management with Yak being his sidekick does anyone miss klowe and mact? I sure don’t

  • A-Mc

    It’s hard to argue with results. As fans, we like to debate every micro transaction but if the overall result is in the positive, then there’s only so much we can say.

    I did a little math using Hockey-reference.com and here is what the oilers look like this year vs last:

    GP: 37
    Stat | 2016 | 2017 | Delta
    SF.. | 1059 | 1159 | 100
    SA.. | 1159 | 1121 | -38
    GF.. |.. 95 |. 108 |. 13
    GA.. |. 113 |.. 98 | -15
    Sdiff | -100 |.. 38 | 138
    Gdiff |.. -18 |.. 10 |. 28
    PTS. |.. 33 |.. 44 |. 11

  • Anton CP

    Justin Schultz this year: 7G, 16A, 23P (3rd on the team), +22 (first on the team, 5th in the league). He is having a good year would be an understatement. Schultz is getting more minutes lately due to the injury of Kris Letang but he is pairing with a defensive defenseman Ian Cole. I don’t remember that Schultz had such a player next to him during his time in Edmonton.

  • Jordan88

    The problem with the Hall trade (This is coming from a guy who loved Hall.)

    This is it, this is the one thing people look at and in my opinion it should not be.

    “stats”

    Hall is sexy because he scores goals.

    Larsson is a two way defencemen in a league that champions offensive defencemen more than those who keep the puck out of the net.

    When I seen the trade all I could think of was, damn… this is gonna be good.

    On paper, the Oilers lost the trade…Or did they?

    Taylor Hall’s Knee has taken yet another hit, he is day to day. a 6mil per year winger who is injured is meaningless compared to a 4.2ish Defencemen who has been a pillar for this team.

    If Hall was on our team this year, he would be 4th in points…

    The media can play this however they want but generally speaking. Chiarelli has won this trade. Handedly

  • Anton CP

    I think, just my opinion, that prior to the arrival of McDavid that the Oilers don’t have the identity.

    Rebuild 1.0:

    With 3 first round picks in 2007 that the Oilers have a chance to lay down the foundation for the future but due to the impatience and bad scouting that the Oilers ended up rushing Sam Gagner and with a bunch of players that don’t fit with the roster. Team was barely hanging around but was eventually fall apart due to the arrogance of KLowe. No one is the clear leader of the team after departure of Smyth.

    Rebuild 2.0:

    With MacT fired and KLowe hide behind that scene that it was Tembo puppet show. This time it was on a mission to have the Oilers suck as much as possible which eventually that helped to land first overall pick with Taylor Hall. However the team has no plan to build it around Hall since they are featuring Eberle, Hall, and Paajarvi at the same damn time. Due to personal spite that they strip blueline to nothing. This period that it has no clue about how to build a winning team and for the next few years that the Oilers were on a mission to collect as many as first overall as possible and the only identity the team has was the biggest loser.

    Rebuild 3.0:

    Tambo was finally booted and welcome the new old face MacT. He quickly states a new pecking order with “the cores” and then destroyed his starting goalie’s confidence. He wants an exciting fast and skill team but instead hired a wrong coach for the job. The team went to the opposite direction and with a community leader in charge that the team was dysfunctional without a central figure to lead. Dubnyk left and eventually ended up being a Vezina finalist just a season after, Jeff Petry left and now he is the corner stone of the solid Habs d-corp, Schultz left and won Stanley Cup and may actually be on the shortlist of possible Norris candidate this season. The team has all the potential but due to poor coaching and management that they all went to waste.

    Rebuild 4.0:

    It is all McDavid. The team now has clear vision with new manager and new coach. McDavid is the one and all of others will be the supporting role toward McDavid. After all these years that the team has a clear leader and identity. It is easier to build a winning team with a clear leader. Move Hall away is pretty much means this is McDavid’s team.

  • VC Glaswegian

    Todd Mclellans “oilersnow” chat with Stuffer was golden
    Check out the dead air time after ” I can see why it’s so easy ” TDMcL comment gets thrown out there
    Almost had to pull the truck over Go oilers

  • Like Connor, Talbot isn’t someone who had a single story this year that made headlines, but I can’t help that he’s every bit as crucial to winning nowadays.

    During this last calendar year, I feel he’s solidified himself as a #1 goalie that can actually carry the team when needed. He’s become more consistent, and the team seems pretty confident and calm in front of him.

    I consider his constant improvement over the calendar year one of the “behind the scenes” stories from this last year that didn’t make much noise but might have a considerable impact on this team going forward.