SUN Hockey Pool

Oilers put trade deadline out of their minds

Steve Staios takes part in an Edmonton Oilers' team practice at Rexall Place.
(DAVID...

Steve Staios takes part in an Edmonton Oilers' team practice at Rexall Place. (DAVID BLOOM,EDMONTON SUN)

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 3:54 AM ET

Hockey players are notoriously light packers, so when they leave on a two-game road trip they can normally fit their stuff in a shoe box. Just the suit on their back, a shaving kit and a few pairs of socks and underwear.

This time, expect a few steamer trunks to accompany the team when the Oilers leave for a two-game trip to Nashville and Chicago.

There’s a good chance a few of these guys aren’t coming back.

With the NHL trading frenzy beginning at midnight Sunday, there can’t be anyone in the 30th place dressing room who’s positive he’ll be on the plane back to Edmonton on Wednesday.

“It’s business as usual,” said nine-year Oiler Steve Staios, who’ll draw significant interest around the league.

“I know there’s a level of uncertainty out there for me, but I’m able to put it aside. I can deal with what happens when it happens and make the best of the situation either way.”

He’d be a welcome addition on a playoff contender looking for depth and experience on defence, and a post-season charge is a lot more inviting than another early summer in Edmonton.

But if the deadline comes and goes and Staios is still an Oiler, that’s more than fine by him. He’s liked it here from the start.

“For me it was a great fit right from the beginning,” said the 36-year-old, who still has next season left on a $2.7 million cap hit.

“The way the organization accepts players and brings them in was something that I embraced immediately. It didn’t take us long to get settled.

“For me professionally, I had a loyalty to the organization immediately. On the family side of things, we were engrained in the community very quickly. It enabled me to come to the rink and totally focus on playing.”

He also credits Edmonton for helping stabilize a vagabond career.

“When I came in here I had been bounced around a little bit, for whatever reason, injuries and different situations,” said Staios, who played for Boston, Vancouver and Atlanta in the seven years before coming to Edmonton.

“Once I came here I can’t say enough about how things have gone for me. I realize how fortunate I’ve been to be part of this organization for so long.

“If things change, it’ll be a new chapter in my life. But I’ll always look back with fondness. This has become our home.”

It is Mike Comrie’s home, too.

He was born and raised here. But on a team with players and contracts that might be difficult to move in a salary cap era, he is pretty much the dictionary definition of a player that teams would want.

He’s in the last year of a small ($1.25 million) contract, he can provide offensive depth, play with grit and he’s established a reputation as a good team guy.

“As you get older you kind of learn that it’s something you can’t control,” he said, adding a future in Edmonton is still his first choice.

“When I signed here I did it because I wanted to be here. If I can continue to play the way that I can pay when I’m healthy, and be competitive, I want to be here.

“I’d still like to be an Edmonton Oiler. I’ve enjoyed being back here. I know how much pride this community has in their team.”

robert.tychkowski@sunmedia.ca


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