In this year of Oil Change, there is much to keep track of on the Oilers'roster let alone the rest of the NHL. Do you find yourself wondering what might have been with other players that the Oilers traded, didn't sign or were bought out in the off-season last year? Of course you do!
We're going to take a look at the players that left the Oilers last season for one reason or another. Although they are playing with a new team and in sometimes a different conference we will compare their results from last year with the portion of this year that they are playing.
For many of the players on the list today what is more interesting is the story of what they have been up to, or what they have gone through to get where they are today in the short time since they were Oilers. Some have sustained more injury and some have not been able to find a team that they are staying with for one reason or another.
I don't propose that any of the players should have remained Oilers but rather just trying to scratch the curiosity itch you might be feeling. Enjoy!
Fernando Pisani turned UFA last summer and the Oilers did not extend to him another contract offer. So, Pisani started looking around. Ending up with the Stanley Cup winning Chicago Blackhawks would be a dream for most players. Sadly, Chicago’s dismantling meant that this would not be the same team as last year, but they would still be exciting to watch. Pisani seems to have found a routine and medication that has helped to keep him healthy in terms of his ulcerative colitis. Pisani did suffer an upper body injury on November 26th against the Anaheim Ducks that kept him out for 8 games. Pisani is arguably playing with much more skilled or experienced players. Playing anywhere between 10 and 18 minutes a game, Pisani is having a better year this year with the Hawks than he saw withhis last season with the Oilers. Pisani is one of the players that is helping the teams and fans to feel that their team is one of "winners again."
Ethan Moreau was the player that fans most wanted to see traded or waived during the off season. It must have been quite the blow to be placed on waivers for the captain, but it’s not something that he let keep him down. The Columbus Blue Jackets quickly embraced this gritty winger, expecting that he would not be playing many minutes a game, he just isn’t 19 anymore and everyone knows it. After breaking a hand in a game against the Anaheim Ducks, Moreau missed 17 games on the injured reserve. On December 1st Moreau was reactivated only to sustain a rib cartilage injured in a game Tuesday January 4thand is expected to be out for at least 2 games. Moreau's fighting days are surely numbered if they are not over now.
Robert Nilsson was another Oiler that was placed on waivers, then bought out the remainder of his contract during the off season. Unable to sign a contract in the NHL that he liked, Nilsson went back to Europe signing with Salavat Yulaev Ufa, Russia, of the Kontinental Hockey League. Following the signing, Nilsson’s father Kent Nilsson quit the Edmonton Oilers and moved to Europe, to be closer to his son is the expected reason. There is little that I could find on Nilsson beside his production numbers but I have read comments that Swedish Oilers' fans have made saying that Nilsson has found his game again and is having a successful season.
Salavat Yulaev Ufa
Ryan Potunly was another player that was a UFA in the off season. The Oilers did not come to terms or did not attempt to re-sign Potulny. Instead, Potulny signed a one year 2 way contract with the re-structuring Chicago Blackhawks. In case you didn't remember that that is where he signed, its likely because Potulny has played only three games with the Blackhawks, the rest of his games have been with Rockford, the Blackhawk s AHL team. It's situations like this where you wonder how Potulny was able to play at the NHL level for the Oilers. Of course your response is that the 2009-10 Oilers were not an NHL level team.
The future looked bright for Mike Comrie in Edmonton once upon a time. Then he had a second chance and things once again held some promise for the future. Then, the Oilers fell apart and well at least the Oilers drafted Taylor Hall. According to the stories we heard in the off-season, Comrie was sought out by the Pittsburgh Penguins with the potential to play top line minutes along with Sydney Crosby. It was reported that Crobsy himself had made calls to Comrie to sign with the Penguins. Sadly, Comrie suffered a hip injury in the first week of the season that has not been healing well. Surgery may be required in the near future. Comrie was speculated to be the ex-Oiler to have the most success this year. Without a healthy season that doesn't look very likely. I also have my doubts as to whether or not Comrie will be able to find himself another contract this summer, even at another bargain basement pay similar to what he took with the Penguins.
Patrick O`Sullivan, oh what might have been. When the Oilers first acquired O’Sullivan, I thought great, another small centre, just what this team needs. Some other people thought that this might finally be a legitimate first line centre coming up through the ranks. I didn’t think that this would be the case, otherwise why would LA let him go? In a season that was, how shall I say this? I know, disappointing, O’Sullivan proved to be one of the most inconsistent players the Oilers had on their roster. So it was much to the delight of most fans that this player was placed on waivers. It was indeed shocking when the Phoenix Coyotes traded for the centreman after O'Sullivan cleared waivers. The funny thing is that the rumours were quick to surface that the Coyotes would buy out O’Sullivan's contract. This is of course what ended up happening. It seemed that the Oilers picked up Jim Vandermeer, who the Coyotes would have placed on waivers and bought out. Who says that the GMs of various teams can’t play nice? The end of the road for O’Sullivan was not in the desert, no next was a signing with the Carolina Hurricanes, making O'Sullivan the first native of North Carolina to play for the Hurricanes. It looked as though O’Sullivan might be playing well and have a good year with the Canes, but once again, O’Sullivan was moved… back to waivers. Yet another team has picked O'Sullivan up however. This time the Minnesota Wild have taken a chance with the centreman with the interesting and obviously painful path to the NHL. Well, until they sent him back down to their farm team the Houston Aeros.
Marc-Andrew Pouliot was another Oilers prospect that Oilers' fans were hopeful for mainly because he was a first round draft pick who had played on the same line as Sydney Crosby in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. Struggling to crack the Oilers line up, Pouliot spent more time with the farm teams of the Hamilton Bulldogs, Wilkes-Barre Penguins and the Springfield Falcons. After suffering a hernia, Pouliot played very few games and many Oilers fan believed that the Pouliot experiment would be over. Upon becoming a free agent, Pouliot was rumoured to be sought after by the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Tampa Bay Lightning. In the end Pouliot singed a one year two way contract with the Lightning and has had played the majority of his games with the Lightning's AHL team the Norfolk Admirals. it is disappointing, but not shocking to hear that a first round draft pick has not made a career for himself in the NHL. There is still time however for this 25 year old centreman, but his next opportunity to make it in the NHL might be more difficult.
Ryan Stone was acquired by the Edmonton Oilers in the trade of Mathieu Garon. Despite catching the attention of some Oilers' fans in his short time with the Oilers, Stone was not re-signed in the off season and signed with the Calgary Flames, much like what happened with Curtis Glencross. This year however, Stone has not played a single game with the Flames and has instead spent his time with the Flames' farm team, the Abbotsford Heat.
Dean Arsene had played most of his professional career in the AHL. Hoping to make it in the NHL, the defenseman signed with the Oilers and did play a few games in the NHL due to injuries. The Oilers did not re-sign the UFA in the summer of 2010, so Arsene signed a one year, two way contract with the St. Louis Blues.
|Springfield Falcons 2009-10||56||2||9||11|
|Peoria Riverman 2010-11||43||1||6||7|
There were a few Oilers that didn't stay with the team through the end of the 2009-10 season as they were traded on or before trade deadline day. Here they are:
Denis Grebeshkov seemed to have been loved or hated by Oilers' fans, I didn't meet or read of anyone having a middle ground opinion. The Oilers obtained Grebeshkov in a trade for Marc-Andre Bergeron, another defenseman who annoyed so many Oilers fans, but was traded to the Nashville Predators for a second round draft pick. The draft pick ended up being the the 48th overall pick and with that the Oilers selected Curis Hamilton a left winger. I have a sneaking suspicion that Hamilton will also either be loved or hated by fans.
In Grebeshkov's first game as a Predator, his opponents were the Edmonton Oilers. Of course, Grebeshkov scored in his debut. Luck was not on his side for long as in his fourth game, Grebeshkov was hit in the groin with a puck that required emergency testicular surgey. No matter how you felt about the player, you couldn't help but feel sorry for the man. Following the conclusion of the 2009-10 season, Grebeshkov signed with the SKA St. Petersburg in Russia. Currently Grebeshkov leads SKA's defence in +/- with +17. Perhaps Grebeshkov is just that much more confident and comfortable with players that speak his native tongue.
|Predators (including playoffs) 2010||6||1||3||4|
|SKA St. Petersburg 2010-11||45||4||6||10|
Lubomir Visnovsky was a player that I quickly added to my list of favourite Oilers. This offensive defenseman looked to add to the Oilers in every way that they needed and perhaps he could even add some humour back to the team that would be missing due to Matt Greene and Jarret Stoll being on the other side of the trade that brought Visnovsky to the Oilers. On trade deadline day, the Oilers in an attempt to continue their rebuild, traded Visnovsky to the Anaheim Ducks for Ryan Whitney and what ended up being the 162nd overall pick. With the draft pick, the Oilers selected defenseman Brandon Davidson. The trade was a slight salary dump, and the replacement player was slightly younger, and thus a more long term building block. Visnovsky continues to be an offensive producer for the Anaheim Ducks and Ryan Whitney is a much missed player for the Edmonton Oilers. It seems that this was a well balanced trade for both players.
|Ducks (including playoffs) 2010||16||5||8||13|
Steve Staios was one of the last Oilers to remain from the 2006 Stanley Cup run. Oilers' fans seemed to have issue with Staios towards the end of his tenure with the club due to his salary he was signed to with his last contract negotiation. Staios was also disliked by many fans for taking too many penalties, especially near the end of games. In a trade that made jaws drop, Staios was sent packing to the Calgary Flames in exchange for Aaron Johnson and a third round draft pick in 2011. For Calgary Staios was brought in to be an impact and gritty player. What has happened is fans turning to Staios for someone to blame during games where the team loses for his slower pace, his age and of course his contract. As an Oilers fan living in Calgary I have been stopped by many Flames fans hoping to complain about Staios. I'm still not sure that I like that fact that Calgary and Edmonton were direct trade partners, but I do like that Sutter helped Tambellini with the Oilers' rebuild.
This season, Staios has been on the injured reserve since December 7th due to a rib injury. Staios expects to be able to return to the lineup shortly, and is not used to being out of the lineup due to injury.
Oh my, Sheldon Souray. Where do we begin? Souray was the first big name free agent to sign with the Oilers. This looked like it was going to be the PR luck the Oilers needed, a local All-Star defenseman who was excited to play for the Oilers and help with their attempts to build a winning club once again. I think we all remember what happened next. Souray suffered a string of injuries that kept him out of the lineup for a large portion of his last season with the Oilers and then requested a trade from the Oilers. This was not Souray'sfirst bought with injury but for whatever reason this was the breaking point for the relationship between Souray and the Oilers.
The Oilers were unable to trade Souray at the trade deadline because Souray was still recovering from not only a broken hand, but an infected broken hand. During the off season, a trade still did not come to fruition, and with the remaining time and cost of Souray's contract the Oilers did not buy out Souray's contract. Instead, the Oilers were able to have Souray play for the Washington Capital's AHL team, the Hershey Bears instead of having the defenseman around the Oilers young and developing prospects. In his AHL season, Souray has had a couple of fights and is shockingly out of the lineup due to injuries. Again.
|Hershey Bears AHL||15||1||6||7|
The following were Oilers at some point during the past season, but didn't play very many games at all. A big thanks to Scott Reynolds for helping me by providing the list. As I'm pretty sure that half of you can't remember these players, I won't spend too much time talking about them.
Following the Pittsburgh Penguins Stanley Cup win In 2009, Minardsigned with the Edmonton Oilers. Most of Minard's year was in Springfield with the Falcons. A fun fact about Chis Minard is that his brother Mike was at one point an Edmonton Oilers goaltender. Mike Minard played one game for the Oilers during the 1999-00 season. Chris Minard is currently signed with the Detroit Red Wings and plays for the farm team, the Grand Rapid Griffins.
|Springfield Falcons 2009-10||40||22||16||38|
|Grand Rapid Griffins 2010-11||43||5||9||14|
Charles "Chuckles" Linglet LW
Charles Linglet had a fairly successful year with the Edmonton Oilers, of course while playing with the Springfield Falcons. Linglet was named to the AHL's second All-Star team. Linglet played his first NHL game April 2, 2010 for the Edmonton Oilers against the Dallas Stars. Looking for a change of scenery, or the Oilers were not interested in extending a further contract, Linglet moved on to the KHL where he is seeing a fairly successful offensive season.
|Springfield Falcons 2009-10||75||19||55||74|
|Nizhny Novgorod Torpedo (KHL) 2010-11||44||17||22||39|
Aaron Johnson D
Johnson was a player traded to the Oilers from the Calgary Flames for Steve Staios, and who has played for several NHL teams in his career. With the Oilers looking to rebuild using talent that they had, or were about to draft Jonson did not fit into the team's plans and so was not re-signed. During the summer, Johnson signed a contract with the Nashville Predators and is currently playing for their farm team.
|Calgary Flames 2009-10||56||2||9||11|
|Milwaukee Admirals 2010-11||43||7||11||18|