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PRINCIPE: Oil Change

by Gene Principe / Edmonton Oilers
Matt Fraser scored against Calgary on Wednesday (photo by Getty Images)

It was one of my favourite shows and not just because it was on Sportsnet. It became almost must-see TV when Aquila Productions started putting Oil Change on the air. Any Oilers fan who saw it knows exactly what I'm talking about. A documentary-style setting for a behind-the-scenes look at the hockey team. Insight and access unseen anywhere else. It gave you a view of what was happening in the dressing room, in the coaches meetings as they were able to get behind 'closed doors'. The show is currently on hiatus but the title lives on with the team because there has been a lot of Oil Change.

New Years Resolutions don't start until January 1. In the case of Craig MacTavish he started his or his team’s a little early. December 29 was the day he picked up two players for the price of one. Matt Fraser, an OT hero in the playoffs last year vs. Montreal, came from Boston on waivers. Hours later, it was Derek Roy — an 11-year veteran — picked up in a deal with Nashville for Mark Arcobello. The morning of the 30th, Taylor Hall was asked about the team and he said, "you can't be shocked by us making moves. There could be more on the way." He was right.

The biggest move didn't happen until the calendar flipped to 2015. In Denver and on the bus ride over to the rink for the morning skate on Friday word started to leak out. A deal with David Perron and Pittsburgh. One player going East and another, Rob Kilnkhammer, coming West. Throw in a 2015 first-round pick and trade completed. Perron was the first move the GM made when he started the job and now he was the most recent one. Before the game against Colorado, I spoke to a scout from another Western conference team and first thing he said to me was 'good deal'. What caught his eye was that first round pick this summer. There's only 30, he said, so it's nice to have as many of them as you can.

David Perron was a favourite of mine. Friendly, engaging, honest and after a 28-goal first season with Edmonton, most importantly productive. This season his numbers may have been down but his stock wasn't. When a perennial Cup contender like Pittsburgh wants you that's a feather in the cap of the player. The Oilers reaction to it was to be expected. They lost a good player. Maybe sad to see him go but happy for the opportunity Perron was granted. There wasn't any great shock at a pretty big piece of the puzzle being dealt.

They lost two players, acquired three and a draft pick all in 5 days. At the same time, they also picked up points in three straight games (1-0-2). Best string of success since a four-game winning streak October 20 to 27. Small steps of progress despite the shuffling of names plates and numbers in the final days of one year and the first few of the next. Another two months until March 2 and trade deadline day. Until then, anything can happen for Edmonton. The prospect of future trades exist and even more Oil Change.

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