It all started with HOPE...
About a decade ago now the Oiler’s had ‘HOPE’. We were going to usher in a new era of winning and glory with 4 amazing prospects. Hall, Omark, Paajarvi and Eberle. It was a beautiful time to be an Oiler’s fan as we had so much promise and were just a few pieces short of being a real contender again.
Hall is currently one of the Top 5 LW’s in the game and is currently carrying his team to the playoffs with whispers of ‘Hart nominee’ wherever he goes. He is clearly doing amazing... in New Jersey. Instead, we have Adam Larson who is an excellent defender who would rank in the top 60 for his position in the NHL and top 10 from Sweden.
Linus Omark just crashed out of the Olympics to Germany. Has had a very nice career in the KHL and across Europe. We got a ‘conditional 6th round pick’ for him from Buffalo that didn’t meet the ‘conditions’ so we didn’t get anything for him.
Magnus Paajarvi was a first round pick who has never quite become an NHLer despite a beautiful pedigree and ‘all the tools’. We got David Perron for him. I would argue that this is the last major trade the Oiler’s won. David Perron is currently a point a game player in the NHL... in Las Vegas. We got Rob Klinkhammer (another Olympian) and a 1st round pick for him (which became half of Griffith Reinhart).
Eberle has also gone on to be a Top 30 scorer averaging 50 to 60 points every season. He’s having another 50 to 60 point season this year ... in New York. We got Ryan Strome for him. Ryan Strome is a good to excellent third line centre in the NHL. If we had traded a 3rd round pick for him I’d be ecstatic with that deal.
To sum it up, we turned HOPE into Adam Larson, Ryan Strome, Rob Klinkhammer and half of Griffith Reinhart (in one of Chia’s worst trades). That pick was used to pick Matthew Barzal by the Islanders but, don’t worry, the Oil would’ve never picked Barzal anyways.
This, my friends, is ‘magic beans’. This is definitely not my term. I picked it up here years ago and have used it ever since. What ‘magic beans’ means to me is when we trade current NHL players for guys that have never played in the NHL and most likely will never play. Or trading current NHL players for inferior versions of themselves. Also, in Oil Country, magic beans means any draft pick not in the first round since the Oil convert about 5% of their draft picks from Round 2 to 6 into actual NHL players (I would argue that our terrible drafting and development of players is our second biggest problem behind asset management). Currently we have Shlepyshev, Khaira and Ethan Bear on our roster from Rounds 2 to 6. That’s 3 guys and I’m not sure all 3 will be in the NHL in the next 3 years or with the Oil at all.
So why am I dwelling on the past so much? The reason is because nothing has changed. We are still trading NHL players for guys that’ll never play for us (or anyone).
Here is a list of guys that ‘had to go’ in the last decade:
Hall, Eberle, Perron, Yakupov, Cogliano, Gagner, Reider, Pouliot, Hemsky, Maroon, Letestu, Davidson, Petry, Schultz, Hunt and Dubnyk.
They were all some combination of soft, expiring contract, outspoken, too European, too blonde, locker room cancer, perimeter player or too small. I also have it, on good authority, that a lot of them hate dogs and old people.
That is a list of 16 current NHL players who are all experiencing success in the NHL today. From Hart /Vezina candidates to Ironmen to 22 minute a night D men to 2 time Stanley cup champions to effective bottom guys on good contracts. All but Hemsky are playing this season (concussion).
Here is what we got for them:
Hall became Larsson (don’t worry, our playoff run last year justifies this trade!)
Eberle became Strome (on pace for 35 points)
Perron became Klinkhammer and half of Griffith Reinhart (KHL and AHL respectively)
Yakupov became Zach Pochiro (ECHL)
Cogliano became Marc-Olivier Roy (ended last season and started this season in the ECHL)
Gagner became Teddy Purcell (KHL)
Reider became Kale Kessey (1 game in AHL this season, all of last season in ECHL)
Pouliot became NO ONE, we’re still paying him to play somewhere else in the NHL
Hemsky became Half of Cam Talbot (NHL - Oilers) and Liam Coughlin (NCAA, property of Hawks)
Maroon became a 3rd and JD Dudek
Letestu became Aberg (note: I liked this trade)
Davidson became a 3rd round pick
Petry became Caleb Jones (AHL) and the other half of Cam Talbot (NHL - Oilers)
Schultz became Filip Berglund (SHL)
Hunt we gave away for free
Dubnyk became Matt Hendricks (NHL - Winnipeg)
Note: We turned a near prime Hemsky and Petry into Cam Talbot and Caleb Jones. That might be our 2nd best trade and it isn’t that good. Filip Berglund might still develop into something as well. JD Dudek might as well but I’m not holding my breath on that one. No one else on that list I can see making an NHL impact or helping the Oilers win a cup anytime soon.
To sum it up a different way. The Oilers turned 16 current NHLers into:
4 NHLers (Larson, Strome, Aberg and Cam Talbot)
1 and half AHLers (Jones and Reinhart)
3 ECHLers (Kessey, Pohoro, Roy)
2 KHLers (Purcell and Klinkhammer)
1 SHLer (Berglund)
2 NCAA players (we only own 1 now) (Dudek and Coughlin)
2 Third Round Picks that have yet to be used
Now I understand people will say ‘but Czechboy, some of these guys needed to go’. Fine, they had to go. That isn’t my problem (although I rarely agree). My problem is that we take NHLers and turn them into Magic Beans (TM). We have the worst asset management in the NHL and this started over a decade ago. If we could’ve converted those 16 NHLer’s into 10 NHLers we’d be better off today. If we could’ve converted those 16 NHLers into 16 NHLers then we’d probably be first in the Pacific today. Management needs to start getting value back for players and they simply do not.
Please fire Chia before he trades RNH and Klefbom for magic beans. He proved, again, at the deadline that he always loses the big trades. At least remove New Jersey and New York from his speed dial.
This article was meant as a compliment piece to Chapman’s article yesterday:
While writing the article, Dawgbone98 showed me his article from 7 years ago. Note that nothing has changed.