Former Rebels captain dealt to Edmonton Oilers for sixth round pick

From the Stanley Cup champions to the NHL’s worst team.

From the Stanley Cup champions to the NHL’s worst team.

Few could blame Colin Fraser for feeling dejected Thursday after being dealt from the Chicago Blackhawks to the Edmonton Oilers in return for a sixth-round pick in this weekend’s NHL entry draft, and sure enough the former Red Deer Rebels captain admitted he was somewhat disappointed.

And yet he also confessed he’s thrilled to be moving to Edmonton after being used sparingly by the ‘Hawks in this year’s playoffs.

“I don’t want to leave Chicago. My wife (Carli) and I love Chicago,” said Fraser, just a few hours after learning of the trade. “We’re going to miss our friends. We loved the city and the fans. It was great there and we’d love to stay there.”

On the other hand . . .

“It is a business and I understand that part of it,” said Fraser, reached at his off-season home at Sylvan Lake. “At the same time I’m excited to go to Edmonton and perhaps play a bigger role than I did in Chicago and hopefully contribute more. A change of scenery doesn’t hurt. Edmonton is nice and close to home and I’m really excited.”

Fraser goes to the Oilers with the knowledge that he already has his name on the Stanley Cup, with a championship ring on the way.

“I’ll take a ring any way I can get it. I wish I would have been playing more, but I accepted any role that was given to me and to have my name on the Cup . . . no one can take that away.

“Guys work their whole lives for that and it doesn’t happen for them. I’ve only been in the league for two years, so I realize how lucky I am.”

Fraser, who was acquired from the Philadelphia Flyers in 2004 — one year after being drafted — and played three seasons in the minors before joining the Blackhawks full-time at the beginning of the 2008-09 season, also has the memory of the ‘Hawks victory parade to cherish. Blackhawks followers and assorted partiers, many of whom weren’t yet born when the city celebrated it’s last Stanley Cup championship, in 1961, came out in astonishing numbers.

“We’re talking two million people. Honestly, that was the best part,” he said. “You think you know what to expect of a parade, but you don’t know until you see that many people in one gathering. To see that was absolutely amazing. It was one heck of a time.

“We’re going to miss the city and the fans. I had a good two years there. Everything about the city was awesome.”

Fraser, who played four seasons with the Rebels and was also a member of the Canadian team coached by Brent Sutter that captured gold in the 2005 world junior championship, was dealt to the Oilers just one day after the ‘Hawks sent three players, including playoff hero Dustin Byfuglien, to Atlanta in a payroll purge.

“Chicago just won the Cup and obviously they don’t want to get rid of players, but they have to (for salary-cap purposes),” said Fraser. “I don’t think anyone takes it personal, it’s just the way it is.”

The Surrey, B.C., native, who was the Rebels’ first pick in the 2000 WHL bantam draft, scored 13 goals and accumulated 36 points and 108 minutes in penalties in 157 regular-season games with Chicago. He was held pointless in five playoff games, including just three this year.