The trade that kicked off the Edmonton Oilers rebuild took place today in 2006 when the Oilers traded Chris Pronger to the Anaheim Ducks.
While the rebuild truly didn’t start until 2009, the Pronger trade was a catalyst of sorts for what was to come.
Acquired a year earlier, he was a massive piece in the Oilers 2006 cup run that saw them one injured goalie away from hoisting the cup. Edmonton didn’t give up much to acquire Pronger: Eric Brewer, Doug Lynch and Jeff Woywitka were all it took.
Brewer had a long career, but Lynch only played two NHL games and Woywitka was nothing more than a tweener for seven years. Edmonton truly made the most out of Pronger’s short time in town. He put up the third-best offensive season of his career and the best playoff season of his career.
In turn, the Oilers were able to truly maximize his value on the other side of the season. With his hand fairly tied due to a trade request, the Oilers traded Pronger to the Anaheim Ducks for Joffrey Lupul, Ladislav Smid and what would-be first-round picks in 2007 and 2008.
Edmonton whiffed on the 2007 pick taking Riley Nash 21st overall (when guys like Max Pacioretty, Mikael Backlund and David Perron were all taken before the end of the round), but in 2008 Edmonton made up for it drafting Jordan Eberle 22nd overall.
Lupul was woefully disappointing in Edmonton despite being highly touted when he came to town. After all, he had only been in the league for two years but amassed an impressive 87 points in those 156 games.
Smid, meanwhile, was a solid third pairing defenceman for eight years in town. Nash, as we know, never played for the Oilers and was traded in 2010 for a second-round pick Edmonton used to draft Martin Marincin. Nash has managed to create a solid career for himself playing in Carolina, Boston and Columbus.
But the aforementioned Eberle was the real catch of the trade. He joined the Oilers for his rookie season in 2010 and was a star right off the hop. Over his seven years in Edmonton, Eberle scored 382 points in 507 games and then, well, Peter Chiarelli happened.
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