So here we are, two days after the glitz, glamour and ru-ha-ha of the always exciting NHL trade deadline. The dust has settled and traded players are dawning new colors and settling into new digs. Ryan Jones debuted against the Blackhawks Wednesday night, Ryan Whitney and Aaron Jones will wear their new numbers, 6 and 2 respectively, in their debuts tonight against Minnesota.
There are mixed emotions around Oil Country. Some people are complaining, some are pissed off, some are crying, never wanting to admit but finally coming to the long foretold realization that our beloved Copper and Blue need a full out rebuild. A fresh start, some new blood. A poll on the 630 CHED website yesterday showed 38.3% of respondents thought Tambellini's deadline day performance was terrible. Seriously? Do these people actually follow the NHL? As Dan Tencer so subtly put it, "what did you expect, Crosby for Visnovsky?"
Personally I am happy in the overall scheme of it all.
Waiver pick up Ryan Jones impressed in his first game as an Oiler, one of the better players on the Oilers bench in the 5-2 loss to Chicago Wednesday night. He played with tenacity and grit, something we need. He’s not only about a physical game either, averaging 30 goals in each of his last two years at Miami University and 13 goals in 25 games in the AHL last season, he’s proven he can finish. Let’s hope he can transcend that to the NHL.
Am I happy to lose Visnovsky? No. Do I think they got enough for him? Not quite. Am I happy to have acquired Ryan Whitney? Definitely! What are the upsides you ask? Whitney just turned 27 a couple weeks ago. Lubo will be 34 this summer, which is not old per se, but when doing a rebuild on the scale required in Edmonton, Lubo will be retirement ready when the new Oilers come to fruition. Whitney has 5 inches and 22 pounds on Lubo and it’s no secret the Oilers size, or lack there of, has hurt them. Don’t expect the same offensive flare out of Whitney but don’t count him out, he still puts up decent numbers.
In terms of hockey trades, as far as skills go, I am happy with the return we got in the Staios trade. Another big, bruising, defenceman in Aaron Johnson and a 3rd round pick. In terms of people, nothing would be enough of a return for Steve, and oh how I will miss you Steady Steve.
For 9 long years Steve Staios has been a workhorse on the Oilers blueline. Blocking shots, clearing the front of the net, taking a beating, giving everything he had for his teammates and for the fans. He’s been a model citizen in our community and he exemplified the kind of dedication and commitment Oilers’ fans expect from the boys that don our silks! A leader both on and off the ice, an example for young players coming in. If ever there was a man who truly had oil running through his veins where blood should have been. I will miss you Steve, all of Oil Country will miss you, and like many others, on your first visit to Rexall next fall, I will cheer for you one last time and stand and pay homage to everything you gave us. But that will be the last time I will cheer for you. For now you are one of them. Them. Ugh.