Drake Caggiula has one goal in mind when the NHL’s play-in tournament gets started — beat the Edmonton Oilers.
Caggiula, 26, is now playing for the Chicago Blackhawks after a December 2018 trade sent him and Jason Garrison to the Blackhawks for Brandon Manning and Robin Norell.
With the Blackhawks meeting the Oilers in the play-in round for the NHL’s return to play tournament, Caggiula joined 630 CHED’s Reid Wilkins this past week to talk about his trade, fatherhood, and a chance at revenge.
“It adds fuel to the fire,” said Caggiula on going against Edmonton. “You’re playing against your old organization. You want to show maybe they gave up on you a little bit too early.”
The trade, which came down four games after Christmas 2018, came as a surprise to him.
“It was a crazy experience for me. I never saw it coming,” Caggiula said. “I was playing video games with my buddies and I got a text from my agent saying, ‘Have you heard anything about being traded?’
“Then I had to sit in Edmonton for six days before my visa got worked out. Most trades probably go a little smoother than that one.”
From day one, this was a bad trade for the Oilers and a great example of how panicked Peter Chiarelli’s last days were. The Oilers backend had been depleted by injuries early that year, but by the time Christmas rolled around the Oilers were close to getting bodies back.
But Chiarelli instead opted to make two trades on December 30th — early in the day he acquired Alex Petrovic for Chris Wideman and a 2019 3rd round pick, then the Manning trade.
Neither made the Oilers better, and less than a month later Chiarelli was fired.
Caggiula was never a big scorer for the Oilers, but was a modest contributor in a bottom-six role scoring 49 points in 156 games. Since his trade, his point totals have risen scoring 27 points in 66 games.
To this day, Manning is still on the Oilers books.
On Twitter: @zjlaing