Canes in Oil Land
Now that we’ve covered members of the 06 Oilers who became Hurricanes, let’s take a look at those who went the other way. There weren’t as many, though there was one standout name. I know, the picture spoiled it.
Erik Cole was having a career year during the 2005-06 season before a neck injury cost him the final 22 games of the regular season and all but 2 playoff games. The grinding winger was on pace for a 41 goal, 80 point campaign at the time of his injury.
Cole returned for Game 6 of the finals and, while he did not register a point, he brought a surge of energy to the team. His strong skating drew a penalty in the second period of Game 7 that led to Frank Kaberle‘s game-winning power-play tally.
While Cole continued to be a valuable member of the team over the next 2 seasons, he was traded to the Oilers in return for Joni Pitkanen on July 1, 2008. Cole put up 27 points (16 goals, 11 assists) in 63 games before he was traded back to the Hurricanes. His production immediately picked up as he potted 15 points in 17 games.
Some of you may have forgotten that the next player ever suited up for the Oilers, as his stay in central Alberta was brief. Then again, he only played one season in Carolina but managed to make a very big impact.
Martin Gerber—ready to prove his worth as a starter—was traded to the Hurricanes during the summer of 2004. The season-long lockout delayed his debut with his new team but once the season started, the Swiss goalie proved that he was worth his salt.
Gerber appeared in 60 games, posting a 38-14-6 record along with a 2.78 goals-against average, a .906 save percentage, and 3 shutouts. His play atrophied in the playoffs, allowing rookie Cam Ward to take over and steal the show. Regardless, Gerber’s regular-season play helped the Hurricanes to the best regular season in franchise history.
Once his Hurricanes time was over, Gerber spent time with Ottawa and Toronto in the NHL, Binghamton and Oklahoma City in the AHL, and one season in the KHL. He signed with the Oilers as a free agent in the summer of 2010.
Edmonton’s duo of Nikolai Khabibulin and Devan Dubnyk saw the majority of games, leaving just 3 appearances for Gerber. However, he made the most of the opportunity, going 3-0 and posting sterling numbers in both goals against (1.30) and save percentage (.958).
His stint in Edmonton would be his last in the NHL. Gerber returned to Europe, playing two seasons in the Swedish Elite League and four in the Swiss National League before retiring in 2017.