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Throwback to the 2007 deadline (sorry in advance)

I talked earlier about the legendary 2006 trade deadline (well, few weeks leading up to the 2006 trade deadline) that ultimately netted the Oilers Dwayne Roloson, Sergei Samsonov, and Jaroslav Spacek which propelled the team on a run to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final.

But as memorable as that year’s deadline was, the rollercoaster took a massive dip south the following year. Sorry in advance for bringing this up.

I think about what fans of the Ottawa Senators are going through right now, going from one goal away from the Cup Final all the way to possibly dealing Erik Karlsson, and it brings me all the way back to that year-and-a-half as an Oiler fan. The rollercoaster ride was ridiculous.

There was a full-year lockout, the implementation of a salary cap that ultimately helped make this small market team competitive, the acquisition of Chris Pronger, the up-and-down season nearly derailed by bad goaltending, the wild trade deadline, and the subsequent run to Game 7.

Then the drop. Chris Pronger asked for a trade, it happened, the team struggled. Then another drop. Ryan Smyth and the Oilers couldn’t agree on an extension and he was sold at the deadline to the Islanders for Robert Nilsson, Ryan O’Marra, and a first-round pick (Alex Plante). None of them panned out.

This was even worse than losing Pronger. Smyth was the heart and soul of the team, the guy who truly resonated with the fanbase. The team absolutely imploded after he was dealt, struggling on a level even worse than anything we saw over the Decade of Darkness (and this year). They won two of their last 19 games and slid from sort of near a playoff spot to tied for fifth-last in the league during that stretch.

Thankfully, Smytty ended up coming home in June 2011 to play three more seasons with the club before retiring. But still, letting go of Ryan Smyth due largely to an inability to meet salary demands was terrible and it set the Oilers on a disaster course for the following years.

  • OldOilerFan

    That particular trade deadline day was also the day the Oilers retired Mark Messier’s jersey to the rafters. I was there. Whole crowd was in a fowl mood due to the trade of Smyth. Craig Mctavish had to do the ceremony because no way was Lowe going to do it or show his face. Embarrassing 3-0 loss. Crowd left after the 50/50 was announced…
    Nowhere to go but up!

  • gr8haluschak

    Let me get this straight, you are saying trading Ryan Smyth was worse for this franchise than trading Chris Pronger wow the Smyth love in in this city is beyond believable. One is a hall of famer that took 3 teams to cup finals and one to a presidents trophy while the other was the face of a losing franchise who only seen beyond round 1 when there was Joseph, Weight, Guerin/Arnott or Pronger and Roloson.

      • gr8haluschak

        Good response fanboy, I am clueless based off of what? the fact I am not on my knees for the guy. That is great he was the “face a franchise” well guess what he was the facing of a losing franchise. He was at best a glorified part far from being the reason for success in the two most successful runs the Oilers had during his time and if you think otherwise then it is you who has no clue about “Oilers Hockey”, and I would actually go one step further and say you have no clue about hockey.

  • Spaceman Spiff

    I will forever blame Smyth’s agent, Don Meehan, for this trade. I’ve always believed that if your client is crying in the airport on his way out of town on Deadline Day, you’ve failed him as an agent, big-time. The Oilers and Smyth were only a few hundred-thousand bucks apart on a new contract over the previous few months, yet the negotiation dragged right down to the last minute of the last day, where it failed, of course.

    If Smyth really wanted to stay (and his tears suggested that he did), then I would have expected Meehan to have read the situation better than he did. In contract negotiations where the team wants someone back, that “someone” has the last say. He takes the offer or he leaves it. Smyth (or Meehan) left it – so the Oilers were forced to cut and run.

    It isn’t any more complicated than that – no matter how much we mythologize that day back in 2007.