Some Former Oilers and their New Destinations

In no specific order:

  1. Dan Lacouture: He’s off to Anaheim where he will attempt to continue a career that has had ups and downs but keeps sputtering along. You know, guys like this sometimes do better in their 30s. That’s not really true but he is fast and has hung around long enough to make himself useful.
  2. Sergei Samsanov: When you get old like me there’s all kinds of patterns in the universe. Samsanov is in the “guys who start like Cesar Cedeno and end like Cesar Geronimo” which isn’t all bad since Geronimo had some secondary skills and was a useful player. I think that’s Sergei, he isn’t the guy who we thought he was going to be but he isn’t Rick Reichardt either.
  3. Tony Salmelainen: Rumor has it he is signing in Toronto, and I hope he catches on with someone who needs a good hockey player. I like Tony Salmelainen as a player, he really showed us something as an Oiler prospect and he delivered a key piece to the Stanley run when traded. If he makes it, I’ll cheer for whatever team he plays for and if it’s Toronto then so be it.
  4. Ryan Smyth: I did not feel the trade in a way many younger Oiler fans did, wish I had because that sort of intensity (good or bad) is the best part of being a fan. The glorious 1984 Stanley came on the heels of the undeserved sweep the previous season, and the enormous pain of G7, SCF (and G1, same series) in 2006 will one day have a bookend of sweet redemption. The Smyth trade didn’t do that for me, maybe because it was wrapped around negotiations that seemed to be going down to the wire. For me there was no anger (as in the Messier deal) or farce (the 99 sale was like a weekend bender), it was pretty antiseptic. I’m getting too old.
  5. Jan Hejda: Liked him a lot when he played for us. I trust the Oilers plenty when it comes to guys who can play defense and are older than 25, but letting him go might have been a mistake.
  6. Dan Smith: Always cheer for these guys, the Ron Brands of the world. He also signed with Howson’s heroes.
  7. Mike Peca: I don’t know what happened when he was here, but I always liked him, still do. He marches to a different beat, and his bat left him long ago. He mailed it in for a long stretch in 05-06 and that I do not forgive, but wish him well in Ohio.
  8. Brad Winchester: He has some nice things, you know. Winchester didn’t play with enough consistency for MacT, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he had a career in Dallas.
  9. Toby Petersen: Also with Dallas now. Can you imagine the size of the stroke we’d have if he scored a PP goal against us?
  10. Radek Dvorak: Back to Florida where they followed up the rats with 10 years of zippo. Fine player, wish he were here.
  11. Steve Kelly: He’s in Minnesota, where I wouldn’t be surprised if he had some success. Great wheels are still there, and the desire gauge must be on F.
  12. Roman Hamrlik: Always liked him, doesn’t seem like a natural Hab. We’ll see.
  13. Greg DeVries: He’s with Nashville now, they have lots of good young defenders and I imagine he’ll hook up with one and make an effective tandem.
  14. Bill Guerin: A NYI now, seems like an unusual choice, but Garth Snow seems to be attracting a better class of free agent now. Not quite in the heart of the good stuff but he plucked a nice player here.
  15. Mike Comrie: He reminds me of that old Beach Boys song “I Get Around.” Mike Comrie is a modern Paladin only in that he will travel.
  16. Jason Smith: The best thing I can say about him is that as summer fades to fall the impact of his not being here is beginning to sink in. It is not a good feeling.
  17. Joffrey Lupul: There’s hits, and then there are misses. I missed in calling him a “first shot scorer” and a “sniper.” He was none of these, and honestly if he does recover and score 40 for Philly you still cannot fault the Oilers for sending him away. Bad, bad marriage.
  18. Mike York: They used to say you were never out of baseball until you’d been traded to Cleveland. The hockey equivalent is Phoenix. Name another hockey figure who could screw up this badly and not be fired. Seriously, it’s pathetic. 99′s reputation makes it impossible to be critical or even find him a new job. He’s the modern Lawrence Olivier.
  19. Petr Sykora: Penguins got a guy I’ve always liked, and would have liked to have seen back in our town.
  20. Ty Conklin: It would be a nice story for him to win a Stanley and redeem himself before he calls it quits. Although that memory will live forever, we need also to remember the events that got the Oilers to that historic moment.
  21. Brad Norton: Signed with SJS, he’s a versatile guy who has played forward and defense in his time.
  22. Alexei Semenov: I still have hope for him, along with his Mom and Dad.
  23. Brad Isbister: Signed with VCR. Hey, maybe 10 times is the charm.

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7 Responses to "Some Former Oilers and their New Destinations"

  1. IceDragoon says:

    He’s an odd duck alright, but he’s really smart and has incredible instincts. He really didn’t want to be here (family and friend issues back home), but he and MacT had a chat during the Olympic break, and then he was a big part of the team buy-in for that beauty run. Good pick up by CBJ.

    I think he made an ill advised comment and/or tuned out coach. He just didn’t seem to care.

    Fine player, wish he were here.
    Me too.

    “O Captain! My Captain!”

    Smart vet. He’d have probably been a better fit this year than last. I think he’ll do well in Pittsburgh.

    I thought he made some real strides in ’03-’04. Something changed during the lockout, tho. It was like he always had something else on his mind.

  2. MikeP says:

    Semenov will be the “wily veteran” on an all-star blueline of former top-60ish Oilers picks that includes Tesliuk, Stadjuhar, Yerkovich, Descoteaux, and of course the unforgettable Hajt.

    I would never bet against Lowe on defencemen – he’s never ever been wrong yet – but Hejda makes me wonder. I guess we’ll see.

    I wonder what’s wrong in Montreal, some players just seem to suck out loud there. Samsonov shouldn’t have been that bad! Or, looking at his stats, was 03-04 the beginning of a slide? Given how well he did in the playoffs in 06, I shouldn’t have thought so, but who knows? I’d say Lowe should take a chance on him, but he’d be dear and I think the last thing the Oilers roster needs is another forward who can’t be trusted against quality opposition.

  3. majeau13 says:


    I somewhat agree with “IceDragon”, because I really think MacTavish didn’t like him. Brad was MacTavish’s whipping boy. I don’t think he tuned MacTavish, but I think MacT blamed 80% of the loses on Winchester, and Oiler fans blamed 100% of the loses on Bergeron.

  4. Pat says:

    nice post LT. I think that your take on these ex-Oilers is quite kind, in some cases much kinder than I would be. But to be honest, I actually like the fact that you’re giving the benefit of the doubt to a lot of them. We would all do well to show that level of empathy and wish more of our former players good luck on their future teams (except when they play us, of course).

    I hope you’re wrong about Hejda. I never thought about it until you mentioned it, but you could be onto something there.

    Love the Paladin/Comrie reference, though I would never have understood it if it weren’t for Ched’s “Old Radio Shows”. :)

  5. uni says:

    Just throwing this out there…but has Isbister possibly got the most ’2nd’ chances of any bloody player in recent memory?

  6. Lowetide says:

    uni: Certainly fewer than Steve Howe, but more than any hockey player I can recall. Size, baby.

  7. Dennis says:

    Isbister, and big guys in general, are to second chances in the NHL just left lefthanded pitching in baseball.

    I just remember watching him on the Island for those couple of seasons when they were junk and he was good and I really wonder why he hasn’t been able to put it together.

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