A decade ago, the Oilers had H.O.P.E. Now, there’s nothing left of it.
Hall, Omark, Paajarvi, and Eberle presented the Edmonton market with a new hope. Now, 10 years later, the last link to H.O.P.E. departed.
It’s reported that the Seattle Kraken will select pending UFA Adam Larsson in the expansion draft and subsequently ink him to a four-year deal worth $4-million per year. It’s a contract the Oilers were believed to have offered and while I have some thoughts on that. Jason Gregor broke down parts of why Larsson left here.
Nonetheless, Larsson marked the last link to those original four players and was connected via Taylor Hall and the famous 2016 one-for-one trade. The Hall trade tree was simple and died with Larsson leaving.
Linus Omark, meanwhile, came to Edmonton but never caught on with the big club. He was drafted 97th overall in 2007. He only played in 66 NHL games with the Oilers but still put up 30 points. He was a skilled, albeit undersized player the Oilers and in Dec. 2013, the Oilers traded him to Buffalo for a conditional sixth round pick in 2014 and he never hit the condition (games played).
Magnus Paajarvi had a solid NHL career of 467 games. Drafted 10th overall in 2009, he appeared in 163 games for the Oilers scoring 58 points. Despite his 6’3 frame, he was never much of a physical player and in 2013, he was traded alongside a second round pick (Ivan Barbashev) to St. Louis for David Perron. Barbashev is still in St. Louis and was protected in the expansion draft this year, so this trade tree still lives on.
Perron was traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins for a 1st round pick and Rob Klinkhammer. That first rounder was later sent to the New York Islanders in the Griffin Reinhart trade, killing any significant portion of Paajarvi’s tree as it relates to the Oilers.
Jordan Eberle was drafted by the Oilers in 2008 and had a great career in Edmonton before being traded to the New York Islanders for Ryan Strome. Strome was later moved for Ryan Spooner, then Spooner for Sam Gagner, who the Oilers dealt to Detroit in the Athanasiou deal last year. When Athanasiou walked to free agency, it was the last element of the Eberle tree to die in Edmonton.
There were obvious reasons for almost all of these trades to have happened, but it’s kind of wild to look back and see how poor asset management in virtually all of the trades never worked out for the Oilers. The one they got the most useful return out of was clearly the Hall for Larsson deal and it took time for Larsson to turn it on in Edmonton.
He fought and clawed through so much adversity in back issues and his father passing away and came out on top and now, Larsson gets a chance to be a part of a one-in-a-lifetime opportunity in Seattle. I wish him nothing but the best as he enters the next chapter of his life.
The Oilers, meanwhile, now have another hole to fill on a roster that was filled with them heading into the offseason. Let’s see what Ken Holland has up his sleeve.