Last weekend, Keith Gretzky pulled the trigger on a one-for-one deal to bring a familiar face back to town. He dealt the struggling Ryan Spooner to Vancouver for Sam Gagner, the 2007 sixth-overall pick who spent the first eight seasons of his career in Edmonton.
As Rob Tychkowski aptly pointed out, the Oilers basically gave up a player from their second rebuild to acquire a player from their first rebuild to help their third rebuild. If you take out the connection that they turned Eberle into Gagner in under two years, the Oilers managed to bring back a fan favourite who can hopefully provide some offence and dazzle fans with cool shootout moves.
It’s always fun to have old Oilers do a second tour of duty with the team. It’s great to see Gagner back in the mix. Mike Comrie made a comeback, Rem Murray returned to the Oilers for the 2006 playoff run, and guys like Denis Grebeshkov and Marty Reasoner couldn’t stop coming back. The best one, of course, was when Ryan Smyth returned to the organization for a victory lap at the end of his career.
That brings us to this week’s What Would You Do Wednesday question. I think we’ve beaten the SHOULD THE TEAM BUY OR SELL?? at the deadline to death. Let’s talk about something more fun. If you could bring back a former Oiler who is currently playing in the NHL, who would it be?
Disclaimer: This isn’t a time travel game just to undo one of Peter Chiarelli’s trades. You can’t undo the old move the Oilers made just to bring the player back. You have to come up with a new deal to acquire that player, as the Oilers made with Spooner for Gagner.
Taylor Hall: Last year’s MVP winner, Hall was dealt in Chiarelli’s first infamous one-for-one deal for Adam Larsson. He’s a year-and-a-half from free agency and the Devils aren’t anywhere near contention. Would a reunion make sense?
Jordan Eberle: Dealt in another infamous one-for-one, Eberle is having a down year on the Island. He’s set to become a UFA for the first time in his career this summer and the Oilers need a scorer. Could he be a deadline rental?
Justin Schultz: The highly-coveted NCAA free agent, Schultz was in over his head in Edmonton. He was dealt to the Penguins for a third-round pick and has since reached his potential in Pittsburgh. He’s the skilled righty defenceman the Oilers need.
Jeff Petry: The Oilers believed in Schultz so much they let Jeff Petry go for a second and fourth-round pick. Granted, they used the fourth on Caleb Jones, so it doesn’t look that bad. Petry is another good, puck-moving defenceman the Oilers could use.
Andrew Cogliano: After four seasons in Edmonton, the Oilers moved Cogliano for a second-round pick. In Anaheim, he became a great two-way player and has also become one of the NHL’s best iron men. He was dealt earlier in the season to the Stars.
Devan Dubnyk: Dubnyk is another Oiler would figure it out elsewhere. The Oilers dealt him to Nashville and he eventually ended up in Minnesota where he became one of the league’s best goalies. Would he be good here with this blueline?
Erik Gustafsson: A fourth-round pick of the Oilers in 2012 Gustafsson never got a shot here. He would sign as a free agent with the Blackhawks in 2015 and has become a solid top-four defender since.
Jordan Oesterle: Oesterle was a great under-the-radar pickup for the Oilers, but the team let him walk as a free agent. He’s become a solid defenceman in the NHL since.
Matt Hendricks: A character guy and fan favourite in Edmonton, the Oilers surprisingly let Hendricks walk after the team’s 2017 playoff run. Could the Oilers use his locker room presence again?
Other: I’m not going to list every former Oiler currently out there, but if there’s someone not on the list you’d want to bring back, I’m all ears. If you really think Pontus Aberg or Brad Hunt could have been that guy, fair enough!
What say you, Nation? What former Oiler do you want back in the mix? How would you go about acquiring them?