Jimmy Carson, who demanded a trade when he left Edmonton 2 1/2 weeks ago, was dealt to his hometown team Thursday in a six-player deal between the Oilers and Detroit Red Wings.
Carson, 21, who grew up in suburban Grosse Pointe Woods, and Kevin McClelland came to Detroit for Petr Klima, Joe Murphy, Adam Graves and Jeff Sharples. The Red Wings also will get the Oilers’ fifth-round draft choice in 1991.
“We feel we’ve made a deal that helps our hockey club,” Red Wing General Manager Jimmy Devellano said at a news conference with Carson. “Of course, any time you go out and get a young player like Jimmy, there’s a heavy price to pay, and we did. But we’re satisfied we got what we needed, and I’m sure Edmonton is happy as well.”
In Edmonton, Oiler General Manager Glen Sather said three of the four newcomers would play tonight against Calgary. Sharples is sidelined with a shoulder injury.
“We’re a lot better team than we were yesterday,” Sather said.
Carson, who was traded to Edmonton in the blockbuster deal that sent Wayne Gretzky to the Kings, left the Oilers on Oct. 14 after getting one goal and two assists in four games this season. In the last year of his contract, he had asked to be traded to an American-based team and said he would only sign with a team in the United States after his contract ran out.
“It was very difficult for me to play in Edmonton in the whole Gretzky syndrome,” Carson said. “I never wanted to play in Edmonton. I had just turned 20. I had bought a house in L.A., and suddenly I was gone.
“Gretzky is a legend, and everyone knows how the city of Edmonton reacted to that. It was always a very negative feeling. The Gretzky trade was always being brought up. They’re still analyzing it. I made it clear I didn’t want to play hockey in Edmonton. I wanted to be traded.”
Although Carson walked away from the Oilers after being benched by Coach John Muckler, Sather said there were plenty of takers in the trade market.
“There was a lot of interest in Jimmy,” Sather said. “He told me last year he was uncomfortable here. He said he was comfortable this season, but then he changed his mind again. So there was no sense trying to keep him here.”
Detroit Coach Jacques Demers bristled when asked if he thought Carson would honor his contract with the Red Wings.
“Jimmy Carson will honor his contract,” Demers said. “He never asked to be traded from L.A. But he didn’t die in Edmonton, he scored 49 goals and had 100 points last year. Jimmy Carson is a good person. All I know is I’m happy to have Jimmy Carson here.”
Carson twice has topped the 100-point mark. He scored 55 goals in his final season with the Kings.
The Klima portion of the trade represents a gamble for the Oilers. Klima, who has served time in jail, has admitted he is an alcoholic.
“But I’ve done some research.” Sather said, “and as far as I can tell, he hasn’t had a drink in four to five months.”
Klima, 24, was Detroit’s fifth pick in the 1983 draft and was in his fifth season with the Red Wings after defecting from Czechoslovakia in 1985. He has 129 goals and 93 assists in 293 regular-season games.