It's not often that a team turns their team captain and a 25-goal scorer into hired knuckles in the ECHL, but in trading Jason Smith, that's exactly what the Edmonton Oilers did. Smith served the Oilers valiantly on the blueline for 7 seasons after landing to Edmonton at the trade deadline in March of 1999. Smith served as team captain from 2001 until the day he was traded, including an outstanding playoff performance in 2006. Smith was nearing the end, and as a "playoff-type" veteran, he had no place on a directionless Oilers team.
But he, along with Lupul who was traded because he thought that hockey only existed in the offensive zone, above the high slot, brought back tremendous value for the Oilers: top-pairing defender Joni Pitkanen. From that point on, it was all downhill, and Smith's trade chain is a brutal reminder of the Lowe/Tambellini years in Edmonton.
*Click to enlarge the chart below. Get the full-sized chart here.
March 23rd, 1999 - Traded their 1999 4th Round Pick (#110) and 2000 2nd Round Pick (#51) to Toronto for Jason Smith.
July 1st, 2007 - Traded Jason Smith and Joffrey Lupul to Philadelphia in exchange for Joni Pitkanen, Geoff Sanderson and Philadelphia's 2009 3rd Round Pick (#82).
July 1st, 2008 - Traded Joni Pitkanen to Carolina in exchange for Erik Cole
March 4th, 2009 - Traded Erik Cole and their 5th round pick in 2009 (#131) for Patrick O'Sullivan and Carolina's 2nd round pick in 2009 (#58).
March 4th, 2009 - Traded Carolina's 2nd round pick in 2009 (#58), received in the Erik Cole trade, to Buffalo for Ales Kotalik.
June 27th, 2009 - Used pick #82, Philadelphia's 3rd round pick, obtained in the Jason Smith to select Cam Abney.
June 30th, 2010 - Traded Patrick O'Sullivan to the Phoenix Coyotes for Jim Vandermeer.
At various times in this chain the Oilers held: Jason Smith & Joffrey Lupul, Joni Pitkanen and Geoff Sanderson, Erik Cole, Patrick O'Sullivan, Ales Kotalik & Jim Vandermeer and in the end they managed to turn all of that into nothing, leaving behind Cam Abney.