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.