Sometime this summer, we’re going to say goodbye to someone we enjoy as a hockey player. Maybe multiple times. As an Oiler fan, I can say with authority that every one of my favorite players has been sent away in a fashion not of his own choosing.
The key is getting something of value in return. Risto Siltanen was a wonderful Oiler–Finnish, unique and hilarious (I swear to God Almighty he couldn’t hit the net some nights with a scope at 20 paces). It hurt like hell to see him go—except that Ken Linesman was the prize return! Awesome! It was a sad day but a happy day too, and Linseman was outstanding during the first Stanley run.
I came to value Linseman as much as I had Siltanen–until the day the sent him to the Bruins. Mike Krushelnyski was known to me because he was a Bruin (always followed the Bruins) and he was terrific as an Oiler, so it was another good/bad day. The Oilers had upgraded in one way or another, while also trading a player I’d become attached to in some real way. (Older readers like Bruce will know why I stop here and move on to the next portion of the conversation–too painful to continue!).
Beyond Hall, Nuge, Yak City, Schultz the Younger and Ebs, do me a favor and list your favorite Oilers. Not the most important by some weighted system or assumed slotting, but the names that would cut a little (or a lot) to see them traded away. Here, I’ll start first (6 please, mine are in alpha order).
- Devan Dubnyk
- Sam Gagner
- Ales Hemsky
- Shawn Horcoff
- Magnus Paajarvi
- Jeff Petry
That’s my group (I hope you’ll list yours). As a fan, I’m going to get killed this summer. And you know what? I remember exactly what it was like when Risto Siltanen was traded. EXACTLY. It was ages ago, and yet here it is.
You know what makes it a lot better? A very good return. We don’t really have a track record on MacT at the trade window, but we’re about to find out if he can make a fair trade that sends away someone we hold dear and also returns someone we can recognize as having similar or greater value.
Sather was brilliant at it, the guy was an absolute killer. Lowe had great days before the lockout (and the year after) and Steve Tambellini could never get the gun loaded in time.
MacT will have the courage to pull the trigger. What will be the return? That, ladies and gents, is about to unfold in front of us.