The Edmonton Oilers have been active at the deadline over the years. How active? Let’s have a look, beginning with the golden years of Glen Sather.
- March 11, 1980—Oilers traded L Cam Connor and a second-round pick (Peter Sundstrom) to the NY Rangers for R Don Murdoch. Sather was always trying to find difference makers, and Murdoch had an amazing early career. It didn’t work out, but was worth the risk.
- March 11, 1980—Oilers traded C Ron Chipperfield to Quebec Nordiques for G Ron Low. One of the most famous trades in team history, Chipperfield was wildly popular and was experiencing a devastating family situation. A painful, if necessary, trade.
- March 11, 1980—Oilers traded G Jim Corsi to the Minnesota North Stars for future considerations. Probably cash, but it might have been a bus for the minor league team—you never know.
- March 10, 1981—Oilers traded D Pat Price to the Pittsburgh Penguins for C-R Pat Hughes. This was an interesting trade at the time and turned into an impactful one. Hughes was a big part of the first Stanley Cup team, probably more important than history suggests just by looking at the numbers.
- March 10, 1981—Oilers traded R Blair MacDonald and the rights to Lars-Gunner Petersson to the Vancouver Canucks for C Ken Berry and D Gary Lariviere. Well, Blair MacDonald was building a house while scoring a bunch and wanted a raise, and Slats didn’t think scoring on 99’s line was all that difficult. I always like Lariviere, he was not an Oiler for long but played well in his one full season.
- March 10, 1981—Oilers traded seventh-round pick (Craig Hurley) to Los Angeles Kings for C Garry Unger. It is important to remember that Unger was one of the NHL’s biggest stars of the 1970s. Sather had been after him since Edmonton entered the NHL, finally getting the center for not much at all. He didn’t hang around long enough for the Stanleys, but he was a favorite of mine and I enjoyed watching him play for the town team.
- March 8, 1982—Oilers trade C Walt Poddubny and R Phil Drouillard to the Toronto Maple Leafs for C Laurie Boschman. This trade didn’t work out, but Boschman was a big name. Toronto took him early in the 1979 draft and he never did work out, but his value was still high in 1982. He played in three playoff games that spring for the Oilers, and was in Winnipeg by the 1983 postseason.
- March 9, 1982—Oilers trade C Stan Weir to Colorado Avalanche for L Ed Cooper. Weir was struggling for the second year in a row, and for Sather that meant a trade. Cooper, from Loon Lake, never made it as an NHL player.
- March 9, 1982—Oilers trade D Doug Hicks to the Washington Capitals for C Todd Bidner. The Oilers badly needed Hicks in the early days, but 1982 deadline were ready to send him along. Bidner did not spend much more time in pro hockey.
- March 7, 1983—Oilers trade C Laurie Boschman to Winnipeg Jets for R Willy Lindstrom. One of my favorite players when he was a Jet, thrilled to see him succeed as an Oiler. He played on the first two Stanley teams, and scored 10 postseason goals in those years.
- March 6, 1984—Oilers traded D John Blum to the Boston Bruins for D Larry Melnyk. This is a typical deadline deal, Oilers acquired a player who could help now for a player who had a little higher upside. He played six playoff games for the 1984 team, and was used sparingly on the 1985 winner.
- March 6, 1984—Oilers traded a 1985 fourth-round pick (Larry Shaw) for the rights to Finnish forward Risto Jalo. This trade did not work out, but is the reason I always liked Sather as a GM. If this trade had worked (Jalo retired in 1998), Edmonton would have been far richer than the risk.
- Oilers were inactive at the deadline (March 12, 1985), but did pick up Mark Napier in January from the Minnesota North Stars. He was a terrific Oiler.
- Oilers were inactive at the deadline (March 11, 1986).
- March 2, 1987—Oilers traded second-round pick (Link Gaetz) to the Minnesota North Stars for C Kent Nilsson. This was a fantastic pickup, Nilsson had a major impact on the team upon arrival. A ridiculous talent, he finally got with the right team. Magic man.
- March 6, 1987—Oilers trade D Lee Fogolin, Mark Napier and fourth-round pick (John Bradley) to the Buffalo Sabres for Normand Lacombe, a fourth-round pick (Peter Eriksson) and the rights to Wayne Van Dorp. Two of my favorites heading out, Lacombe a young prospect who the Oilers felt could provide them with that patented two-way grittiness that made up Slats best teams. Lacombe delivered, but was not here a long time.
- March 10, 1987—Oilers trade L Raimo Summanen to the Vancouver Canucks for L Moe Lemay. This was acknowledgement that Summanen—once highly touted—was not going to have a big NHL career. I always liked him. Lemay was fun to watch.
- March 8, 1988—Oilers trade G Andy Moog and L Moe Lemay to the Boston Bruins for G Bill Ranford, L Geoff Courtnall, F Alan May and a second-round selection (Petro Koivunen). This might be the best deadline trade in Oilers history, suspect it would get my vote almost 30 years later. Courtnall played 19 games on the 1988 winner, Ranford won the 1990 Conn Smythe and emerged as the Oilers starter for the first half of the 1990s.
- March 7, 1989—Oilers trade LW Greg Adams (the lesser) and C Doug Smith to the Vancouver Canucks for L John Leblanc and 1989 fifth-round pick (C Peter White). Lots of deadline deals are names without much of a future, this one didn’t move the needle.
- March 7, 1989—Oilers trade D Jim Wiemer and L Alan May to the Los Angeles Kings for D John English and C Brian Wilks. Sather had flare more deadlines, not so much this time.
- March 6, 1990—Oilers trade D Cam Brauer to the Hartford Whalers for D Marc Laforge. A small deal, Laforge played five NHL games with the Oilers and was a productive enforcer in the AHL for several years.
- March 6, 1990—Oilers trade C Brian Wilks to the Pittsburgh Penguins. Probably cash.
- March 6, 1990—Oilers trade D Jeff Sharples to the New Jersey Devils for D Reijo Ruotsalainen. One of my favorite Oilers, Ruotsalainen is a walking advertisement for why trade deadlines are a great idea. I bet he can still skate like the wind.
- March 5, 1991—Oilers trade R Kim Issel to the Pittsburgh Penguins for L Brad Aitken. The takeaway here is the continuation of a disturbing trend—failed first-round selections. It would eventually ground a very proud franchise.
- March 10, 1992—Oilers trade L Martin Rucinsky to the Quebec Nordiques for G Ron Tugnutt and L Brad Zavisha. This is the beginning of the difficult time, where Edmonton bled talent trying to shore up leaks and good players were just passing through. Rucinsky was a helluva draft pick, gone for 29 games of Ron Tugnutt. Why? Edmonton lost Tugnutt to the Anaheim Ducks in the expansion draft.
More to come.