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Oilers’ Unforgettable Failed Trades: A Look Back at 4 Almost-Moves

Attending the Oilers Locker Room sale, I reminisce about almost-trades; jerseys bearing names of players the Oilers were after.

This past September 23rd, the Edmonton Oilers held their annual Fan Day Locker Room Sale, which is always a great time to pick up game-worn gear, signed collectibles, or other items at a reduced (still not cheap) rate. It’s a great way for fans to get excited about the season to come and often remember the past. Every once and a while, like last season, fans can find a few little clues that you didn’t expect to find. Those nuggets, perhaps revealed some interesting news about the team that was otherwise not made public.

As I went to this year’s sale, I couldn’t help but recall last year’s event where fans (@oilingoal) came across a number of jerseys that essentially confirmed the Oilers were in serious talks with teams about trading for our different players, in what I can only assume were failed trade deadline deals. I recalled the excitement of that day, when rumors and whispers of potential trades echoed through the air, creating a buzz that still lingers as the Oilers approach the season as contenders, likely to be buyers again at the NHL Trade Deadline. I was hoping to uncover something similar this year that would have offered some clues about last season’s deadline talks.

Oilers jerseys for failed trade deadline deals Picture from @oilingoal on Twitter (

Remembering Last Year’s Finds

Among the cherished relics of that day were jerseys bearing the names of players who, though never donned the Oilers’ colors, were on the cusp of becoming part of Edmonton’s storied history.

Carson Soucy’s jersey hinted at a defensive addition that almost materialized. He’s now with the Vancouver Canucks, having left Seattle as a free agent and wanting to be closer to his family. He was pegged as the ideal fit and Oilers’ faithful eagerly anticipated his arrival, yet fate took a different turn, and he found himself staying with the Kraken and eventually going on a long playoff run.

Jacob Middleton’s jersey sparked interesting conversation, representing a moment when the Oilers’ blue line almost gained a valuable, but cost-effective asset. He was a big deal in San Jose (seemingly coming out of nowhere) that season and there were rumors a few teams had interest. He wound up going to the Minnesota Wild and has played solid minutes for that team since.

Justin Braun’s almost-move stirred conversations among fans, creating an atmosphere charged with anticipation. Though he never became an Oiler, he’d been linked more than once. He’s since moved from the game, officially retiring in April of 2023.

The enigmatic Staal brothers, Marc and Eric, added an intriguing layer to the narrative. Oilers fans remember the buzz surrounding the possible acquisitions, and the jersey for one of them symbolized the excitement of those discussions. Eric found his path to the Panthers, while Marc’s journey led him elsewhere, leaving fans with delightful ‘what-ifs’ that continue to spark discussions among passionate Oilers supporters. It wasn’t clear who the Oilers were looking at, but Eric went on to a PTO with the Florida Panthers and wound up being a key depth piece in their run to the Stanley Cup Final last season. The Oilers probably could have used a player like him and may look for a similar-style veteran this year.

Were There Any Close Deals This Past Summer?

On my wish list was that I might find more proof that the Oilers were really close to landing Erik Karlsson. Tyson Barrie has already confirmed in a recent interview that the Oilers were in serious conversations but I was curious to see if the two sides got so close that a jersey was ever made. The team also added Mattias Ekholm and Nick Bjugstad last deadline, but there might have been a couple of other players GM Ken Holland looked at before pulling the trigger on those deals.

Unfortunately, I found no such evidence of other deals that were close. It would have been cool to potentially add those to my collection.

Next: Oilers Make Series of Cuts Following Campbell’s Big Win

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