Many observers have called President of Hockey Operations Kevin Lowe the real power behind the Edmonton Oilers, with Steve Tambellini being General Manager in name only. Whether or not you ascribe to this belief, it cannot be argued that Lowe's influence is is instrumental in all decisions that are made by the Oilers' front-office. So as the trade deadline approaches, let's have a look at some of the highlights (or lowlights as it were) with regards to the trades that were made while Lowe was GM of the team. Please note, I have not included trades that were contract dumps during the lean years.
- Trading Chris Pronger for Joffrey Lupul, Ladislav Smid, a 2007 1st round pick (later traded to move up to draft Riley Nash), a 2008 2nd round pick (later traded for a prospect and a 3rd round pick), and a conditional 2008 2nd round pick. Lupul was underwhelming in Edmonton before being traded, and Smid is looking to be a good 3-4 defenseman with the Oilers. Yes, Lowe’s hands were tied, and yes he lucked out that the Ducks got to the Cup finals (winning the Cup) so that the condition on the 2008 1st round pick was met (the Oilers drafted Jordan Eberle), however these pieces don’t equal a future Hall of Fame defenseman.
- Lousing up the Mike Comrie for Corey Perry trade by asking at the 11th hour that Anaheim reimburse the Oilers for Comrie’s signing bonus. This easily would have been Bryan Murray’s second worst trade ever as an NHL GM (Heatley to San Jose being #1), although at the time it wouldn’t have seemed like it. Lowe’s temper obviously got the better of him here, and after the deal fell apart he was forced to make a trade for Jeff Woywitka and picks that turned into Rob Schremp and Danny Syvret. On the plus side, Woywitka was then used as part of the package used to acquire Chris Pronger.
- Trading Ryan Smyth to the Islanders for Robert Nilsson, Ryan O’Marra, and the pick that turned into Alex Plante. The Oilers got hosed here as New York received Smyth, who was still in his prime, and the Oilers received almost nothing. Nilsson had his brief moment in the sun before his terrible work ethic got the better of him. O’Marra seemed promising after his play on the World Junior team, and while Plante is still with the organization he appears to be nothing more than a career minor leaguer.
- Trading down in the 2003 Entry Draft in order to Select Marc Pouliot. Why was this so bad? Because New Jersey selected Zach Parise with the pick they acquired from the Oilers. The Oilers ended up with Pouliot and J.F. Jacques.
- Trading Raffi Torres for Gilbert Brule. Brule was more underwhelming in his time with the Oilers than Joffrey Lupul was. The Oilers were eventually rid of him when Phoenix made the bizarre move of claiming him off of re-entry waivers last season. The organization has been searching for another Torres-like player ever since they traded him.
- Trading Joni Pitkanen for Erik Cole. This move didn't seem so bad at the time, however Cole struggled as an Oiler and was subsequently traded by Lowe’s successor during the season in a far worse trade for the Oilers.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this FanPost are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views or position of the staff.