It’s been a pretty slow trade deadline day, which is something we’ve gotten used to in the salary cap era. From an Oilers perspective, this year’s deadline isn’t all too exciting because it just signals the selling of players we expected to watch on a deep playoff run.
Let’s look back on the most memorable trade deadline in Oilers history.
This was easily the marquee sequence of Kevin Lowe’s career as Oilers general manager. Say what you want about Lowe, but what he did to put together that 2006 team was nothing short of incredible. In the off-season, he used the newly implemented salary cap to his advantage acquire Chris Pronger from the St. Louis Blues and Mike Peca from the Islanders, which immediately bumped the team to contender status.
The one issue, though, was goaltending. The team was quite good, but Jussi Markkanen, Ty Conklin, and Mike Morrison weren’t getting the job done.
A day before the deadline, Lowe sent a 2006 1st-Round Pick (Trevor Lewis) and a 2007 3rd-Round Pick (Spencer Machacek) to Minnesota for Dwayne Roloson, solidifying the net for a playoff run. Roloson would go on to post a .927 save percentage (SV%) through 18 games in the playoffs and the team very likely would have won it all had he not been injured in Game 1 against Carolina. No, I’m not going to post a video of it happening.
Lowe also pulled the trigger on some wild deals, acquiring Jaroslav Spacek from the Blackhawks for Tony Salmelainen, giving Pronger a partner on the top pair, and Sergei Samsonov from the Bruins for Yan Stastny, Marty Reasoner, and a second-round pick (Milan Lucic), giving the team added scoring depth.
The Samsonov deal was the only one that actually happened on the deadline, as the Spacek deal was completed weeks earlier, but it all sort of blends together for me as one massive playoff push. You could tell the Oilers were going for it and given how little success they had in recent years, it felt good. It was also definitely a team worth pushing with. I remember when Pronger tied that game against Phoenix with under a second left, you could tell there was magic with that group.
Like I said, Lowe’s wheeling and dealing that year was incredible. While he made a lot of mistakes afterwards, like not re-upping Ryan Smyth one year later, Lowe deserves a lot of credit for putting together that 2006 squad and perfecting it at the drop of a hat.