In sports trades, you win some and you lose some (see The Ten Worst Trades in Oilers History). Fortunately, the Oilers didn’t lose all their trades. The evidence is below.
Here are the ten best trades in Oilers history.
10. March 2, 1987: A 2nd round draft pick in 1988 (Link Gaetz) to the North Stars for Kent Nilsson. Wayne Gretzky once said that Nilsson was “the purest, most talented player in the league.” He may have been exaggerating a bit. Robert’s dad scored 19 points in the 1987 playoffs, helping the Oilers win another Cup.
9. Dec. 30, 1997: Bryan Marchment, Steve Kelly, and Jason Bonsignore to the Lightning for Roman Hamrlik and the rights to Paul Comrie. Not only did the Oilers receive an all-star defenceman, but they also got rid of their two biggest draft busts: Kelly and Bonsignore.
8. June 26, 2011: Colin Fraser and a 7th round draft pick in 2012 (Dmitri Sinitsyn) for to the Kings for Ryan Smyth. Edmonton gave up almost nothing for one of the all-time favorite Oilers.
7. March 23, 1999: A 4th round draft pick in 1999 (Jonathan Zion) to the Maple Leafs for Jason Smith. This trade ended up being a steal. Too bad the Oilers couldn’t make a trade like this right now.
6. March 8, 2006: A 1st round draft pick in 2006 (Trevor Lewis) and a 3rd round pick in 2007 (Spencer Machacek) to the Wild for Dwayne Roloson. Who knows what would have happened if Roloson hadn’t got injured in the 2006 Stanley Cup Finals?
5. March 8, 1988: Andy Moog to the Bruins for Bill Ranford, Geoff Courtnall, and a 2nd round draft pick in 1988 (Petro Koivunen). Moog had walked out on the Oilers and played for Canada in the 1988 Olympics. Ranford later led the Oilers to a Stanley Cup victory in 1990, winning the Conn Smyth Trophy.
4. Nov. 2, 1989: Jimmy Carson, Kevin McClelland, and a 5th round draft pick in 1991 (Brad Layzell) to the Red Wings for Adam Graves, Joe Murphy, Petr Klima, and Jeff Sharples. Carson had been acquired in the Gretzky trade. This trade made that trade slightly less painful.
3. Aug. 4, 1995: A 1st round draft pick in 1996 (Marty Reasoner) and a 1st round pick in 1997 (Matt Zultek) to the Blues for Curtis Joseph and the rights to Mike Grier. The two first round picks originally belonged to St. Louis. The picks were compensation for the Blues signing the Oilers’ restricted free agent Shayne Corson.
2. Aug. 2, 2006: Eric Brewer, Doug Lynch, and Jeff Woywitka to the Blues for Chris Pronger. This trade might have been ranked #1 if Pronger had not demanded a trade the next season.
1. March 17, 1993: Esa Tikkanen to the Rangers for Doug Weight. The future captain played 8 seasons for the Oilers and scored 104 points in 1995-96.