SUN Hockey Pool

Staios leaves Edmonton

DEREK VAN DIEST, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:29 AM ET

The writing was on the wall for all the veterans.

When you're on a last-place team and the plan is to blow things up and start over, everyone becomes expendable.

On Wednesday just prior to the NHL trade deadline, the Edmonton Oilers moved those they could and bid farewell to their longest-serving defenceman, Steve Staios, and one of their most talented blue liners in Lubomir Visnovsky.

'MIXED EMOTIONS'

"I have mixed emotions to say the least," Staios said. "I can't say enough about my time in Edmonton, it's a great organization. In this business, you don't get to be in one place for very long in normal circumstances. I've been fortunate to be in Edmonton for nine years and was able to raise my family in that type of community and around the people that we've been able to."

Staios, 36, was traded to the Calgary Flames in exchange for defenceman Aaron Johnson, 22, and a third-round draft pick. Johnson, a native of Port Hawkesbury, N.S., had a goal and two assists in 22 games with the Flames this season.

Moments earlier, the Oilers sent Lubomir Visnovsky to the Anaheim Ducks for defenceman Ryan Whitney and a sixth-round draft choice.

"I'm a little bit surprised, because I had a big contract and I didn't think a lot of teams had space for (it)," Visnovsky said. "But now I get a chance to go back to California and I think for my family, this was the best choice."

Visnovsky, 33, was originally acquired by the Oilers in a trade with the Los Angeles Kings prior to the 2008-09 season for Jarret Stoll and Matt Greene.

He underwent season-ending shoulder surgery last year that limited him to 50 games. This season, Visnovsky was the Oilers' highest scoring defenceman with 10 goals and 22 points in 57 games.

"I have to thank the Oilers organization for everything," Visnovsky said. "I know we are in last place, but I had a good time here in Edmonton. The city was good, the people are very friendly and they love hockey and for that I'm very thankful."

Staios was in his eighth season with the Oilers, collecting seven assists in 40 games this year. He had bounced around with the Boston Bruins, Vancouver Canucks and Atlanta Thrashers before settling down in Edmonton to become part of their defensive corps for nearly a decade.

"The Oilers have been just great to me and I want to thank them for that," Staios said. "This organization has helped me grow as a player and helped me grow as a person.

'BIG GAMES'

"But, at the same time, I'm a hockey player first and foremost and to get a chance to compete in big games with the Flames and an opportunity to play in the playoffs is the only thing you look forward to as a player."


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