The next Sam Gagner? Edmonton pleading on the return of another old superstar who fits best for the team

The next Sam Gagner? Edmonton might want the return of another old Oiler but who fits best?

Gagner has played some of his best hockey in his third stint with the Edmonton Oilers. Could the team get more of the same from another former Oiler?

This post started out with me doing something I enjoy doing every now and then, going over the all-time Edmonton Oilers roster on Hockey Database and digging into where oil Oilers players have ended up. Is Lennart Petrell still playing? No, the big Finn retired in 2020.

Lennart Petrell 3-6 kuukaudeksi sivuun

How about Mark Arcobello? Yes, he’s still at it. As is Marc-Antoine Pouliot, now 38 and still in the Swiss league, where he’s made a good career.

On the list below you’ll see some Oilers who are still active this year and how they’re doing when it comes to putting up points in 2023-24.

From there, I started to think about whether or not any of these former Oilers players might have helped Edmonton if  things had turned out differently, and then wondering if any of them still could help in some way.

Of course, the Euro players are all under contract and could not join the Oilers this year unless they were released and then passed through NHL waivers. If they were any good, another team would grab them.

The best the Oilers could do would be to sign one of them for next year, but after going over the list, that does not look likely, does it? A number of them, including Nail Yakupov in the KHL, are having strong seasons, but not one of them looks like any kind of fit for the Oilers next season.

The Europeans…

  • Magnus Paajarvi, 2010-13. The tenth overall pick in the 2009 draft, one of the famous HOPE quartet for the Oilers of Taylor Hall, Linus Omark, Paajarvi and Jordan Eberle. After leaving Edmonton, Paajarvi, 32, played six years as fringe NHLer, his best year 2018-19 with 11 goals for the Ottawa Senator. He then moved to the KHL for three years and has been in the top Swedish league three years, back home now playing for Timra.
  • Teemu Hartikainen, 2010-13. Hartikainen, 33, was a strong AHL power forward in the Oilers organization, but had only 13 points in 52 NHL games before he left for Europe. After nine years as a top KHLer for Ufa, he now plays as a top line winger for Geneve in the Swiss league.
  • Marc-Antoine-Pouliot, 2006-10. Edmonton’s first pick in the 2003 draft, 22nd overall, MAP, now 38, never made it as an NHL regular, playing 192 games in total and leaving for Europe in 2012. He has starred for Biel, Fribourgh-Gotteron and Geneve of the Swiss league, but he’s now a third-liner at age 38.
  • Linus Omark, 2010-14. Omark, 36, never found a way to score enough in the NHL but he’s been a points-scoring machine in Europe, a star with Ufa of the KHL, before joinging Geneve of the Swiss league and Lulea of the Swedish League.
  • Mark Arcobello, 2012-15. Arcobello, 35, was an ace for the Oil’s AHL team in Oklahoma City for three years, but failed to stick with the Oilers or in Nashville, Pittsburgh, Arizona or Toronto. For eight years he’s been a top player in the Swiss league with Bern, then Lugano, but his scoring is slowly dropping.
  • Nail Yakupov, 2012-18. Yakupov, 30, the first overall pick of the 2012 draft is arguably the worst first overall pick in NHL history. He never found his game in the NHL, not with Edmonton, nor St. Louis or Colorado. He’s had mixed success in six KHL seasons but at age 30, he’s a Top 6 winger with Neftekhimik Nizhenkamsk, the organization where he developed as a younger player.
  • Martin Marincin, 2013-15. Edmonton’s second round pick in 2010, Marincin, 31, had plenty of boosters in the Oilers fanbase, but he failed to make it here or in Toronto, though he did get into 227 NHL games. He has spent the last three years in the Czech league with Trinec.

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