Once an Oiler, always an Oiler. A line that unites the members of the Edmonton Oilers organization past and present. We always want to keep tabs on the players that have come through Oil Country in recent years as they try to keep their careers going elsewhere.
There are a bunch of recent Oilers that have found new homes for the 2023–24 season, so here is a quick recap of where former Oilers are playing so you know which team’s stat page to check out to keep track of them.
Tyson Barrie spent two and a half seasons with the Oilers during which he took on a major role with the team’s defensive core. He was usually relied on to quarterback the power play and contributed to the 2022–23 Oilers power play being one of the best in history.
Last season, Barrie was a central focal point of the return in the Mattias Ekholm trade, sending the defender to the Nashville Predators. He is still with Nashville where he projects to be a mid-pairing defender but stuck behind Roman Josi in terms of seeing much powerplay time.
Tyler Benson spent years as one of the higher-ranked prospects in Edmonton’s pipeline and often had a ton of promise surrounding him. But he was never quite able to crack the team’s lineup on a regular basis. Over the past four seasons, he saw NHL time in three, but that amounted to just 38 games, in which he scored one goal and two assists.
Benson was not retained by the Oilers this offseason and has since signed an AHL contract with the Henderson Silver Knights, the affiliate of the Vegas Golden Knights.
The other acquisition at last season’s trade deadline was Nick Bjugstad, who was acquired for a 2023 third-round draft pick. He had a decent showing as an Oiler and definitely played well enough to earn another contract with the team. He had seven goals and nine points in 31 games (regular season and playoffs).
But Bjugstad was squeezed out of the roster and left unsigned. He has since returned to the Arizona Coyotes, where he was playing before the trade last season.
Acquired shortly before the 2022–23 season in a trade for Dmitri Samorukov, Klim Kostin jumped into the Oilers roster early in the season. Kostin quickly settled in as a highly productive player and subsequently became a fan favourite. His energetic, physical style of play earned him a ton of favour in Oil Country. Although he only spent one season with Edmonton, in which he scored 11 goals and 21 points while laying out 157 hits, he left a lasting impact.
After the season, Kostin was included in a trade with the Detroit Red Wings, where he later signed.
Devin Shore became a regular in the bottom-six of the Oilers’ lineup over the past three seasons. Never a standout or star player, but reliable enough to step into the lineup whenever needed. Over three seasons with the team, he appeared in 134 games in which he scored 11 goals and 29 points.
Shore was not retained by the Oilers this offseason, but he has since signed with the Seattle Kraken.
A first-round pick of the Oilers back in 2017 (22nd overall), Kailer Yamamoto grew up with the team and earned a ton of respect for his playstyle. He was never afraid to engage physically or enter the hard areas, often taking on a role as a spark plug energy player. He showed signs of turning into a highly productive player, with 26 points in 27 games in 2019–20, but seemed to find his true pace around 0.5 points per game in the seasons after that. Unfortunately, injuries took their toll over last season and he had trouble finding his game.
That ultimately led to a situation where the Oilers traded Yamamoto to the Detroit Red Wings to be bought out of his contract. He has since signed with his hometown team, the Kraken.
Zack Kassian’s redemption arc with the Oilers turned him into a fan favourite, especially after Game 2 against the San Jose Sharks in the 2017 playoffs which had the crowd chanting his name.
In the seasons that followed, Kassian was a valued member of the team, able to play wherever in the lineup, but was most effective in a bottom-six role.
Unfortunately, his time in Edmonton came to an end after the 2021–22 season when he was traded as a camp dump to the Arizona Coyotes. After one season there, Kassian was bought out. For the upcoming season, he does not yet have a contract but will be joining the Anaheim Ducks on a PTO.
Alex Chiasson found a home for a few years with the Oilers. In a period of time when the team was desperate for depth scoring, he provided just that. He scored 42 goals over three seasons with the Oilers.
After his time with the Oilers, he has spent one season each with the Vancouver Canucks and Red Wings. This season, Chiasson remains unsigned after joining the Boston Bruins on a PTO and being released halfway through training camp.
One of the few bright spots from the Entry Draft from the early 2010s was Jujhar Khaira. The big, physical centre became a crucial part of the Oilers’ depth through the latter parts of the decade.
Khaira found a niche as a shutdown forward. He was fantastic in that role and spent quite a bit of time on the penalty kill. After the 2020–21 season, he was not qualified and became a UFA, signing with the Chicago Blackhawks.
After two seasons in Chicago, Khaira has joined the Minnesota Wild for 2023–24.
Jesse Puljujarvi, the third overall pick in 2016, spent much of his roller coaster of a tenure with the Oilers as a fan favourite. He showed signs of being a useful player who made everyone on his line better, but could never quite make much of an impact on the scoresheet himself.
At the 2022–23 trade deadline, Puljujarvi was sent to the Carolina Hurricanes in a cap dump move to make room for the Ekholm trade.
Puljujarvi has yet to sign with any team for the upcoming season as he recovers from more offseason hip surgeries.
Which former Oilers have you been keeping an eye on? Let us know in the comments below!
Photo by Curtis Comeau/Icon Sportswire