This is Esa Tikkanen in 1999, the year he tried to make his comeback with the Oilers. He ended up playing in the SM-LIIGA with Helsinki (Jokerit) that fall before retiring to a life of beer and lihapullat.
Last season we had Anson Carter return to the Oilers and this season we thought someone might show up (Kevin Lowe teased us a little) but alas there was no Tommy Salo, no Boris Mironov, no Jason Bonsignore.
Instead we’ve been treated to the results of what a quality procurement department can do when they have several drafts under their belts. In the period of time when Kevin Prendergast was the de facto head of scouting, the Oilers can boast quality in all areas. Ales Hemsky, Jeff Deslauriers, Kyle Brodziak, Zack Stortini, Marc Pouliot, Rob Schremp, Devan Dubnyk, Liam Reddox, Andrew Cogliano, Taylor Chorney, Slava Trukhno, Theo Peckham, Cody Wild, Sam Gagner and others represent tremendous quality in a 7-year cluster. New man Stu MacGregor can boast a nice first year with Jordan Eberle the gem of the 2008 group. Added to that are names like Visnovsky (acquired for players who were draft picks) and Dwayne Roloson (same).
It’s been a nice run.
As for which players will make up the end of the roster (forwards 12-13 and D- 7) it is anyone’s guess. I’m reminded of a MacT quote from one year ago:
“We do like we always do and we get in a hypnotic trance and look at the lineup board and hope the answers just jump off. They very seldom do.”