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Photo Credit: Peter Eggiman

Who Will Return?

I remember it like it was yesterday. Rusty Staub, le Grande Orange, one of my two childhood sports heroes (Bobby Orr the other) had been traded to the New York Mets. It was in fact a brilliant trade, but I didn’t care, Rusty Staub was gone. I stared at my 1971 baseball card and cried. Bat left, throws right, off to the big apple. I have hated the Mets with a passion since.

You know what? Staub came back! I was out of the baseball card collecting phase by then, my most valuable possession was a 1965 Chevy Bel Air Supersport (imagine a train car on tires, the thing could crush a mountain). I had time for Rusty Staub though, so was happy as a clam when Montreal reacquired him in the summer of 1979. That was a magical Expos team, and Rusty was a part of it. Beautiful.

WHAT ABOUT YOU?

During the period leading up to the deadline, I began compiling a list of possible acquisitions for Edmonton. I don’t really know if it was accidental or on purpose, but my final list included 10 former Oilers’ draft picks. That is a lot. Here is the list I prepared as possible trade targets.

  1. R Ales Hemsky, Dallas Stars. Over 800 games into his NHL career, he can still dance and dangle and make plays in the offensive zone. Hemsky was just ready to come back from injury at the deadline, perhaps a poor time to acquire him. There is also the question of the fit (passer) based on current roster.
  2. C Sam Gagner, Columbus Blue Jackets.  No chance he would come available with the CBJ doing so well, but for me Gagner makes a ton of sense for Edmonton. Righty shot, gold on the PP, and he is UFA this summer. As crazy as it might sound, this deal makes sense.
  3. C-R Kyle Brodziak, St. Louis Blues. As is the case with Gagner, the St. Louis Blues were unlikely to move Brodziak at the deadline. That said, Brodziak will be a UFA at next year’s deadline and we could see action.
  4. L Andrew Cogliano, Anaheim Ducks. Brilliant speed and an ability to play in every game on the schedule make this former Oiler noteworthy. I wonder if he considers Edmonton when he reaches free agency in the summer of 2018? No chance in hell the Ducks send him to the Oilers without a significant overpay.
  5. RD Jeff Petry, Montreal Canadiens. I very much doubt he would return, and his contract runs through 2021. Still, as was the case with Staub, perhaps he returns to a more mature Oilers team on the verge of winning a championship.
  6. RC Riley Nash, Boston Bruins. Strictly a depth option, but a righty center who is 50 percent on the dot. Has another year, inexpensive deal.
  7. W Magnus Paajarvi, St. Louis Blues. Again with the speed. Paajarvi is not an offensive player, but has had some success as a speedy two-way winger. Could the Oilers make use of him on one of the bottom two lines?
  8. L Taylor Hall, New Jersey Devils. Like Staub, a lot of fans were heartbroken when Hall was traded, and it might be another eight years before we can even consider the possibility. Still, at some point, down the line, this might become possible. Seriously.
  9. LD Martin Marincin, Toronto Maple Leafs. Rangy defender has played 23 games this season and shown his usual abilities (good possession numbers) in a defensive role. Edmonton doesn’t have a need for this kind of LHD, but he might be available and could be an upgrade on some of the current Oilers.
  10. R Tobias Rieder, Arizona Coyotes. Substantial player famous for scoring shorthanded goals two at a time against Edmonton, he has another year left and the Coyotes should keep him. That said, he would be a perfect fit for the Oilers and could be a Fernando Pisani type.

Question: Which one would you choose?

Note: My sincere thanks for Dustin Nielson and Wil Fraser for story idea.

  • Burns14

    Gagner would be a solid 3rd line center option and as a power play specialist. But I’m not sure if he would come back. I would prefer this pickup so I could unretire my 89 jersey. Also I have no idea what Ryan Jones is up to, but I loved that guy. Can he just stand on the bench? Special flow advisor?

      • BornInAGretzkyJersey

        Agreed; we should have moved him to the wing during his tenure here but it never materialized. His FO% history suggests it would have been prudent. Could be a solid bottom 6 winger with the potential to move up with injury or hot streak. Would add a nice look on the 2PP unit as well. Kind of like Justin Schultz at forward, soft-parade PP specialist!

        • Jaxon

          Interesting development in Columbus, though. He has spent most of the season on wing, but they moved Gagner back to C recently, and he now has 10 pts in his last 10 games since the move.

  • Crazy Pedestrian

    So Boston won the game against the flyers with a goal with 6 seconds left? I’d feel bad for them, but they kinda did the same to us earlier in the season (mind you it was with a little over a minute left). But them losing unfortunately gives Toronto some breathing room… Damn, so conflicted…

  • Mike Modano's Dog

    I think MPS would be great here, if we could add him to our line-up again. The speed he would add to our team would be substantial, and I think we could use it, even now. (Connor can’t be the only one with blinding speed on this team.) Hope it happens someday!

    I don’t think Petry would ever choose to come back again, as long as any of the former team execs were here still, at least. He’s seen what they think of him, and it wasn’t exactly complimentary of his skill-set before.

    • Jaxon

      Nope, that was Tambellini. Reider was traded away on March 29, 2013 and MacTavish became GM two weeks later on April 15, 2013. So it’s F@(k you, Tambellini, for both of those trades. But he did get Marc-O Roy and Kale Kessy in return, so there’s that.

  • paul wodehouse

    …while this new look took me by (jaw dropping) surprise I am slowly figuring out that I am still on planet Earth looking at a great looking page that’ll take some getting used to…97 still will lead this team into the playoffs and whatever happens happens … can anyone tell me why Auston Matthews wears the jersey of a backup goalie…ya I know who cares but…

  • HardBoiledOil 1.0

    agree. let’s not go back to the future shall we? and i doubt most of those players would ever choose to come back here unless it was a last resort for one of them.

  • Jaxon

    I’m not saying they would be my picks, but shouldn’t Yakupov, Schultz and Dubnyk be on this list? From the list above, Paajarvi, Rieder, and Cogliano all have great speed that is a big part of today’s game and they can provide a bit of offence as well. Gagner is working better on the wing and there is no denying that he has skills.

  • I am Batman

    Yak comes back in 2020 after 2 seasons in Russia as a FA signing. He slots at the right of Draisatl. Tears the league apart with 97 points (50 goals). We all apologize and 20 years later both 64 and 10 hang off the rafters.
    For my fans not to miss me: Eberle retires by then in pursue of a career in television, he appears in a couple of sitcoms but never really makes it. He is happy he doesn’t have to work though and lives happily ever after.

  • HardBoiledOil 1.0

    in the spirit of competition, the Lames fans can gloat a little that they caught and passed us in the standings, they earned it. what is it 8 or 9 wins in a row now while the Oilers have plodded along?

  • Atomic Clown

    Hey oilers nation, I do believe the nation network started with ON, and it seems you guys are the heaviest traffic on here. So please for the love of God complain about this new layout for the comments. In every single concievable metric, it’s awful. No borders, color schemes are confusing, replies are stupid, I can cheer/trash a post infinite times. I’m not sure whose brainchild this is (I’ve heard the name baggedmilk a couple of times) but this is plain awful, and the person responsible should be fired and never even think about digital design ever again. Thanks

      • Crazy Pedestrian

        Yeah, at first it seemed like it was updated to accommodate mobile users, and I didn’t mind, until I noticed how the new layout reminded me of page-scrolling layout that for some reason, pisses me off. Like scrolling through the Mobile version of NHL.com (shutters) Then I also started to notice how little comments were on each article, and the trash/cheer counts are staggeringly small. I’m sort of glad I’m not the only one who doesn’t like the new format, cause I thought maybe I was just becoming an old bag or something… (I’m only 31)

  • Mitch92

    #8. The Oilers will reacquire Taylor Hall once it is time to rebuild following CMD’s departure via UFA. He will be useful in helping the Oilers to secure a high draft pick the following June.

  • Gret99zky

    Gross. None of the above.

    It’s like saying a person should get back together with their ex because they looked good in the car together.

    And the new layout sucks.

    • Florescent Oil Orange

      During the ten year steaming crap pile that we all enjoyed so much, it was not the players who were the problem. Many of them were quality NHL players asked to perform above ability and with out a complete balanced supporting cast. I am welcome to having them back. Provided they are cast properly and paid accordingly.

      To be successful long term we are going to need cheap effective disposable players. I’m not saying let’s get every former oiler back on here I am also not saying let’s automatically preclude them