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
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
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
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
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
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
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?