It was 14 years ago today that the Edmonton Oilers made a key trade in their cinderella Stanley Cup Run.
Having dropped five of their last six games, the Oilers were in need of a boost to their squad and the offensive-minded, puck-mover that was Jaroslav Spacek was ripe for the picking.
The Oilers traded away Tony Salmelainen for Spacek and his $2.25-million in salary having gotten the O.K. to take on the cash from then Oilers boss Cal Nichols.
Only an hour earlier GM Kevin Lowe made another deal to bolster the backend in acquiring Dick Tarnstrom from the Pittsburgh Penguins in exchange for Cory Cross and Jani Rita.
“We’ve added, what we think, are two pretty good defencemen,” assistant GM Scott Howson told then Edmonton Sun scribe and current OilersNation writer Robin Brownlee in a Los Angeles hotel after the deals. “We have eight here. We think we have eight good ones.”
The pair helped to bolster a blue line that was already strong with the likes of Chris Pronger, Jason Smith, Steve Staios, Marc-Andre Bergeron, a rookie Matt Green, and Igor Ulanov.
Spacek quickly became a key cog in the Oilers backend providing five goals and another 14 assists in 31 games to close out the regular season. And when the playoffs picked up, so did he sporting another three goals and 11 assists in 24 games.
After the season ended, Spacek, a UFA, chose not to resign with the Oilers instead signing a three-year deal with the Buffalo Sabres.
Tarnstrom, meanwhile, was brought in much like Spacek to help improve the Oilers offensive game from the backend but wasn’t quite able to deliver scoring only one goal and four assists in 24 regular-season games. And in the playoffs, he struggled to get into the lineup playing only 10 games in which he notched two assists. He ended up heading to play for a season in Switzerland in 2006-07, but returned on a one-year contract with Edmonton in 2007-08.
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