Unveiling the Near-Oiler Connection: Matthew Tkachuk and Kris Knoblauch

Sam Jones
June 13, 2024  (2:20 PM)

Matthew Tkachuk
Photo credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

In a recent revisit to one of the NHL's most tantalizing 'what could have been' stories, the 2016 Draft resurfaces with its share of intrigue and near-misses involving the Edmonton Oilers and Matthew Tkachuk.

Greg Wyshynski of ESPN delves deep into the draft drama that unfolded just before the Oilers made their pick, shedding light on a moment that could have drastically altered team dynamics and rivalries in the league.
"["]The Oilers are kind of staring me down and kind of giving me some smiles. So we're like, 'All right, we're going to Edmonton,'["] Tkachuk recalled. ["]Then Pierre-Luc Dubois went third overall, and the phone started to ring like crazy at the Edmonton table. They threw the jersey under the table and it looked like they stripped off a name and gave it to Puljujarvi["] - Matthew Tkachuk

It was Kris Knoblauch, then an influential figure in the coaching sphere, who seemed to sense the potential fit between Tkachuk and the Oilers. In discussions with Oilers insiders, including Bob Stauffer, Knoblauch emphasized the need to secure Tkachuk, a player known for his grit and prowess, qualities that would endear him to any team's lineup.
Instead, the Oilers opted for Jesse Puljujarvi, a decision that, in hindsight, seems laden with missed opportunities. Puljujarvi's tenure with the Oilers, spanning six seasons, did not live up to the high expectations set for him. His struggles to consistently deliver performances worthy of a fourth overall pick highlight the speculative nature of draft decisions.
Meanwhile, Tkachuk's journey took a different path, one that led him not just away from Edmonton but into a rivalry intensified by his successes with other teams. His reputation as a formidable opponent only underscores the 'enemy' status he has earned among the Oilers' fanbase, particularly when he plays at Rogers Place.
Tonight, as the Oilers face a critical game on home ice, the stakes are high. The team's resilience is not to be underestimated, even if they trail in the series. With the support of their home crowd, the Oilers are expected to channel all their energy into a performance that could turn the tide in their favor.
This revisitation of the 2016 Draft not only sparks debates over the choices made but also serves as a reminder of how a single decision can ripple across seasons, affecting player careers and team fortunes in profound ways.
The Oilers continue to battle not just against opponents on the ice but against the haunting specter of what might have been. Tonight's game is more than just a playoff match; it's a chance to prove that even the most debated draft decisions can lead to moments of redemption.
13 JUIN   |   118 ANSWERS
Unveiling the Near-Oiler Connection: Matthew Tkachuk and Kris Knoblauch

Is Tkachuk someone the Oilers should have taken in the draft?

Yes, he was the best player available5546.6 %
No, it was risky at the time5748.3 %
See Results65.1 %
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