There will be a time during this rebuild that the Edmonton Oilers send away a talented player who rips up the National Hockey League in another town. Fans will remember it for decades (Oilers fans have exceptional memories) and it’ll be a major down arrow for the GM who pulled the trigger.
Good management these days has as much to do with contract numbers and length as it does anything else, but identifying talent is still the gold standard for hockey men and success.
The Oilers sent away Miro Satan many years ago despite all kinds of evidence he was going to have an impact. At 20, Satan spent 25 games in the AHL and scored 24 goals. That’s a clear tell that he belonged in a higher league. The next season he popped 18 as an NHL rookie and has scored 363 goals in the big leagues as we speak. If we’re making a list of “the ones that got away” then Satan would have to rank as a fine candidate for top spot.
The Oilers in the last decade have shown a tendency to put off decisions until forced to act under league rules. A good example is their current worrying over the backup goaltender situation.
Steve Tambellini was named General Manager end July 2008. Are there any Satan’s out there? Here’s the list of men once considered prospects who were offloaded by the current GM:
- June 27, 2009: Oilers trade C Kyle Brodziak to Minnesota for draft picks that were used to acquire D Kyle Bigos and G Olivier Roy.
- July 9, 2009: Oilers trade forward Tim Sestito to NJD for a conditional draft pick.
- September 29, 2009: Oilers lose C Rob Schremp to waiver claim by NY Islanders.
- March 2, 2010: Oilers trade D Cody Wild to Boston for F Matt Marquardt.
- June 26, 2010: Oilers trade C Riley Nash to Carolina for draft pick that was used to acquire Martin Marincin.
- June 28, 2010: Oilers decline QO’s to Marc Pouliot, Slava Trukhno, Bryan Lerg and Geoff Paukovich.
- June 30, 2010: Oilers buyout Robert Nilsson’s contract.
Some of these players (Brodziak, Pouliot, Nilsson) had established themselves at the NHL level (at least to a certain extent) but were certainly considered prospects during this past decade. Here’s a quick glance at the group:
- Kyle Brodziak: Continues to be an effective 2-way talent at the NHL level. The prospects received look good, so the error on management’s part has more to do with not replacing Brodziak (they did this summer by acquiring and then signing Colin Fraser) for a calendar year. Olivier Roy looks like an absolute gem at this point, so MBS deserves a tip of the cap for delivering on a draft bullet.
- Tim Sestito: He did make it to the NHL with New Jersey, in a very specific role. He’s on the current Devils roster (has played 3 games) as an energy player, but his friendly cap hit probably has a lot to do with his roster spot.
- Rob Schremp: The young man had a nice season one year ago (7-18-25 in 44gp) and looks to have a future. Currently injured, the Islanders have players dropping like flies so there should be an opportunity for him upon return.
- Cody Wild: Has played only 1 AHL game so far this season (injury? HS?) but would seem to be in the mix for future recall down the line. One thing that is certain about defensemen: no matter how deep the depth chart in September, it is a long season and opportunity will eventually come knocking. I’d suggest he’s a little less than Danny Syvret as a prospect, but the blue men can fool you. We may not know for certain about Wild for several years.
- Riley Nash: Young man did in fact sign a pro contract, and impressed the Hurricanes at TC. Since being assigned to the AHL, Nash has been scoreless in 7 games for the Charlotte Checkers. On the other hand, the return (Martin Marincin) is one of the shining lights in the WHL early this season.
- Marc-Antoine Pouliot: Lost his NHL job in Edmonton and now in the minors trying to get another chance in the big leagues. He’s added the Antoine back onto his name and is currently tied for 8th in AHL scoring (5gp, 2-6-8 for Norfolk Admirals). I suspect he’ll get another shot in the NHL in the next couple of years.
- Slava Trukhno: In summer, he signed in the KHL (Sibir Novosibirsk) but was released and I can’t find out a thing about him.
- Bryan Lerg: Won a tryout with the Pittsburgh Penguins and made their AHL team (5gp, 0-2-2). The Oilers soured on him (he didn’t play a lot last season) but he might get new life with his second organization.
- Geoff Paukovich: Currently on the roster of the Las Vegas Wranglers, but listed as inactive and he hasn’t played this season. He did play for them in pre-season.
- Robert Nilsson: Having a nice start to the season with KHL’s Ufa Salavat Yulayev (13gp, 3-10-13) and I expect this player will be back in the NHL soon (possibly as early as next season). He’s on a team with Alexander Radulov and Patrick Thoresen, and everyone seems to score three points a night.
No Satan’s there, no prospects sent away as prospects who have had a Miro breakout after being dealt. Schremp looks like he’s going to have a career and good for him. Nilsson and Pouliot are going to have to wait for the phone to ring, and Brodziak keeps on rolling.
The Oilers walked away from some and sent others away, but if even one of Marincin or Roy turns out to be an NHL player I’d think Oilers fans would be pleased overall. No prospects of exceptional value have been sent away yet, and the rebuild is enjoying some strong drafts from the Magnificent Bastard. It would be nice if the club could add a few actual NHL players to the group sometime soon, but they’re on track in the amateur procurement department.