Many Oilers still standing

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:07 AM ET

There were so many Oilers with one foot out the door on trade deadline day it's a wonder half the team didn't pull a groin when they had to hop back into the dressing room.

Pretty much everyone from the captain to the caterer were rumoured to be heading out of town, so some of the biggest surprises when the smoke cleared Thursday morning were the guys still here.

One pundit suggested there was "not a chance, none, Ethan Moreau will be here after the deadline," but here he is.

So are Fernando Pisani, Mike Comrie, Andrew Cogliano, Tom Gilbert, Robert Nilsson, Patrick O'Sullivan and Jason Strudwick.

OK TO UNPACK

Unpack the suitcases, boys.

"I knew there would be a good chance (of not being moved), having another year left on my contract," said Moreau, who many had pegged for a California playoff team. "Most of the guys who moved were guys who are UFAs. I realized that going in, that it would have to be a perfect fit for not only the team acquiring me, but our team, and it didn't happen."

He's not going to say he's disappointed to remain on a team he spent 10 years with, but it's no secret a change of scenery would have been well received.

"As a player you want a chance to win a Stanley Cup, especially guys who have fewer years left in their careers than they've already played," said Moreau, who missed Wednesday's game with a sore neck but expects to be ready Friday against Minnesota. "I was excited for that opportunity, but today is also a good day -- I know I'm going to be here for the next 19 games and I can make an impact on the direction that this organization takes with being a good leader and being part of the process of rebuilding.

"Whether that means for 19 games or next year as well, I don't know, but today is a fresh start for me and I have a renewed focus on making sure I'm doing my job accordingly and I'm the captain I should be."

Cogliano has been on the block since last summer's deal for Dany Heatley fell through. Making it past the deadline means he can stop looking over his shoulder ... for now.

"Yeah, for the time being," he said. "Things could change in the summer, things could change at the draft, you could be moved at any time because this is obviously a big rebuilding phase for the organization."

The 22-year-old, who wants to stay here and be an important part of the Oilers' future, has less than five weeks to prove he should be.

"We have 19 games left," he said. "You have to play as hard as you can, do as much as you can and build for next season."

Even though the first stage of GM Steve Tambellini's housecleaning effort was limited to three players -- Denis Grebeshkov, Steve Staios and Lubomir Visnovsky -- it sent a major jolt through the dressing room.

"It does," said Cogliano. "It gives us another look, a couple of new guys in the room. Just new, fresh faces. That's what they're trying to do, get new blood in, get new guys. We've had a lot of guys who've been here for a long time and they want to change the atmosphere."

LAST MAN STANDING

With three defencemen traded this week and Ladislav Smid and Sheldon Souray out with injuries, Gilbert is the only one of the six opening-night starters left.

If everyone else is gone, it stands to reason he's going to be around for a while.

"This year was different, hearing my name out there a little more (in trade rumours). But if you're still here there's a reason for that. For any player it's nice to know the organization wants to keep you around."


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