Today marked the end of another era in Oilers hockey: the end of Ethan Moreau's time in Edmonton. Today Moreau, along with Patrick O'Sullivan and Robert Nilsson, was placed on waivers for the purpose of a buyout. The Oilers have informed all three players that they will be bought out tomorrow at 12:00pm est.
Moreau has been Oilers captain since the start of the 2007-2008 season. Serving as captain for three seasons. Moreau becomes the first captain in Oilers history to be bought out. This move proves that Steve Tambellini and company are serious about rebuilding in Edmonton.
Ethan Moreau became an Oiler on March 20, 1999, in a trade between the Oilers and Chicago Blackhawks. Moreau played a big role on the Oilers for many seasons before the lockout and was one of the better players on the team. Moreau was a real leader in the locker room and he was a guy that truly would bleed copper and blue.
In his 10-plus seasons as an Oiler, Moreau has recorded 112 goals and 100 assists for a total of 212 points. Moreau was named team captain in the summer of 2007 after the Oilers traded Jason Smith to the Flyers. Moreau was once seen as an elite third-line grinder in the NHL, but in the past few seasons Moreau has simply not been his old self. Moreau has been informed by the Oilers that he will be bought out if he is not claimed off waivers by 12 p.m. est on June 30.
The second Oiler placed on waivers was Robert Nilsson. Nilsson will be remembered as the player the Oilers got for Ryan Smyth. Nilsson was traded to Edmonton from the New York Islanders at the trade deadline in 2007, along with Ryan O'Marra and a first-round pick in 2007. The Oilers used the pick to draft Alex Plante.
Nilsson was seen as a member of the kid line in Edmonton in 2007-2008 and a guy who would be the next Sergei Samsonov. He never panned out that way. In parts of four seasons with the Oilers, Nilsson recorded 31 goals and 67 assists for 98 points. Nilsson simply was not consistent and never was able to establish himself in the Oilers lineup.
He never lived up to his three-year contract which paid him $2 million per season. Nilsson will find another home in the NHL, but he simply did not fit in Edmonton. Nilsson has the talent to play a top-six role in the NHL, but he just didn't show up everynight. His roster spot will go to one of the new kids coming up in the Oilers system.
The third and final Oiler to be waived today was Patrick O'Sullivan. O'Sullivan played parts of two seasons with the Oilers and like Nilsson, never lived up to the hype surrounding him. O'Sullivan was brought in at the trade deadline in 2009, and the Oilers hoped he would be the second-line sniper they had been looking for. Sadly, O'Sullivan wasn't that.
In the time he spent as an Oiler, O'Sullivan recorded 13 goals and 27 assists for a total of 40 points. O'Sullivan came with a steep price tag too, making $2.9 million per season. O'Sullivan also had the worst plus-minus of any player in the NHL this past season, with a horrible minus-35.
O'Sullivan, like Nilsson, just didn't show up every night. He has the talent to be an NHL goal scorer, but he didn't put the effort or time into it in Edmonton and as a result he is now looking for a job. O'Sullivan might not be a bad pickup for a team like the Maple Leafs who are looking for some extra scoring.
O'Sullivan also had a not so pleasant run-in with coach Pat Quinn last season, leading to an exchange of words between the two in the media. O'Sullivan played well at the start of the season but couldn't catch any breaks. When the goals weren't coming, O'Sullivan simply whined about ice time and such. He will be an unrestricted free agent on July 1.
The rebuilding in Edmonton contnues. GM Steve Tambellini has gotten rid of forwards Ryan Potulny, Marc Pouliot, Ethan Moreau, Robert Nilsson and Patrick O'Sullivan and has added Colin Fraser and Taylor Hall to the mix. Next up for the Oilers is trading away defender Sheldon Souray, and by the sounds of it, the Oilers plan on doing that by the end of this week.
Free Agency opens up on Thursday and the Oilers have multiple needs to fill. I expect the Oilers to target a center or two, a third-line winger, and a shutdown defender. The name I really want to see in Edmonton is Colby Armstrong. Armstrong is a gritty young third-line player that can play the PK and also score a goal or two when needed. He is the type of guy that the Oilers could really use in their lineup next season.
Tomorrow night I will have a blog up with the names that the Oilers should be going after on Thursday. You can also get up to the minute Oilers news all the time by following me on twitter: @AToilfan83. I update it with all the latest NHL and Oilers news, so be sure to follow! I also want to wish Ethan Moreau, Robert Nilsson and Patrick O'Sullivan the best of luck on finding a new team this summer. Ethan Moreau, I speak for all Oilers fans when I say "Thank you" for all the years of bleeding copper and Blue.