14

Top 10 Who Got Away: Miroslav Satan (4)

Fans of the Edmonton Oilers struggled through years of seeing their five-time Stanley Cup champions reduced to operating as a bargain basement outfit in the mid-1990s, as GM Glen Sather was forced to cut corners and try to put together and keep together teams on the cheap. From Wayne Gretzky on down the line, selling players and salary dumps marked the last decade of Sather’s tenure working without the financial resources to compete.

The problem with trading away established stars or young players just about to blossom to make ends meet is that sooner or later the talent drain bites a team on the backside. Such was the case with young Slovak winger Miroslav Satan, whose trade to the Buffalo Sabres when he was just emerging with the Oilers left yet another set of teeth marks in the name of pinching pennies. Satan was just 22 when Sather traded him for Craig Millar and Barrie Moore. If you don’t know who they are, you can find out more by searching “worst Oiler trades of all-time” on the internet.

Miroslav Satan

Left Wing — shoots L
Born Oct 22nd, 1974 — Topolcany, Slovakia
Height 6.01 — Weight 195 [185 cm/88 kg]

Drafted by Edmonton Oilers

Round 5 #111 overall 1993 NHL Entry Draft

BY THE NUMBERS

Season

Age

Tm

GP

G

A

PTS

+/-

PIM

S

S%

ATOI

1995-96

21

EDM

62

18

17

35

0

22

113

15.9

1996-97

22

TOT

76

25

13

38

-3

26

119

21.0

1996-97

22

EDM

64

17

11

28

-4

22

90

18.9

1996-97

22

BUF

12

8

2

10

1

4

29

27.6

1997-98

23

BUF

79

22

24

46

2

34

139

15.8

1998-99

24

BUF

81

40

26

66

24

44

208

19.2

20:49

1999-00

25

BUF

81

33

34

67

16

32

265

12.5

20:35

2000-01

26

BUF

82

29

33

62

5

36

206

14.1

19:56

2001-02

27

BUF

82

37

36

73

14

33

267

13.9

21:10

2002-03

28

BUF

79

26

49

75

-3

20

240

10.8

21:23

2003-04

29

BUF

82

29

28

57

-15

30

206

14.1

20:02

2005-06

31

NYI

82

35

31

66

-8

54

253

13.8

19:10

2006-07

32

NYI

81

27

32

59

-12

46

216

12.5

18:35

2007-08

33

NYI

80

16

25

41

-11

39

171

9.4

18:19

2008-09

34

PIT

65

17

19

36

3

36

120

14.2

15:45

2009-10

35

BOS

38

9

5

14

8

12

59

15.3

15:46

8 yrs BUF

578

224

232

456

44

233

1560

14.4

20:39

3 yrs NYI

243

78

88

166

-31

139

640

12.2

18:42

2 yrs EDM

126

35

28

63

-4

44

203

17.2

1 yr BOS

38

9

5

14

8

12

59

15.3

15:46

1 yr PIT

65

17

19

36

3

36

120

14.2

15:45

Career

1050

363

372

735

20

464

2582

14.1

19:28

PLAYOFFS

Season

Age

Tm

GP

G

A

PTS

+/-

PIM

S%

ATOI

1996-97

22

BUF

7

0

0

0

-1

0

0.0

1997-98

23

BUF

14

5

4

9

-9

4

25.0

1998-99

24

BUF

12

3

5

8

3

2

12.0

21:18

1999-00

25

BUF

5

3

2

5

2

0

27.3

19:52

2000-01

26

BUF

13

3

10

13

4

8

7.5

21:18

2006-07

32

NYI

5

1

2

3

0

0

10.0

15:15

2008-09

34

PIT

17

1

5

6

1

11

4.8

9:55

2009-10

35

BOS

13

5

5

10

4

16

13.5

18:31

Career

86

21

33

54

4

41

12.4

17:11

WITH THE OILERS

Satan, drafted by the Oilers 111th overall in 1993, opened some eyes during the 1994-95 season when he scored 25 goals in 24 games with Edmonton’s AHL affiliate in Cape Breton. Satan followed that up with 18 goals and 35 points in just 62 games with the Oilers in 1995-96. In 1996-97, Satan was playing on a contract that paid him just $274,000, but he was due for a new deal – one Sather thought might approach $800,000. While that seems like small money now, it wasn’t, at least for the Oilers, back then.

Satan had 17 goals and 28 points in 64 games when Sather, eyes as always on the bottom line — he worried about the possibility Satan might return to Europe if contract talks fell through, which would leave the Oilers with nothing — moved him for Millar and Moore at the March trade deadline. Sather was right about the money, as Satan’s next deal with the Sabres paid him $1.4 million over two years, but that was little solace to fans. Millar would play just 36 games with the Oilers. Moore played four.

DOWN THE ROAD

While Millar and Moore went on to become the answers to a trivia question with the Oilers, Satan would lead the Sabres in scoring six times and would finish 10th in franchise scoring by the time he was done in Buffalo. All told, Satan reached the 20-goal mark 10 times, he scored 30 goals four times and had one 40-goal season in 924 games in stints with Buffalo, the New York Islanders, Boston and Pittsburgh after leaving Edmonton.

Satan scored 363 regular season goals, had 21 more in the playoffs and finished with 735 points in 1,050 games (126 of those with the Oilers). Satan won the 2009 Stanley Cup with Pittsburgh. The Oilers drafted Satan and they developed him. What they didn’t do was keep him. Even in those tight budget times, it’s obvious now finding a way to do that would have been money well spent.

This series of various Top 10 lists will focus on the post-1990 Oilers – the players who haven’t played on a Stanley Cup winner in Edmonton.

Previously in this Series: