The 1980s Edmonton Oilers dynasty was a tough team for any rookie to make. But it always seemed that Steve Graves was knocking on the door.
He never really got to come in.
Graves played in limited action in 35 NHL contests over three seasons with the Oilers, but was mostly relegated to the minor leagues. The former Soo Greyhound was drafted by Edmonton 41st overall back in 1982.
Confusion set in in 1988. Graves apparently went AWOL as far as the Oilers were concerned, as they did not quite know what happened to him. It turned out he grew tired of toiling in the minor leagues and signed to play with a Finnish team for the 1988-89 season. The Oilers only found out when Graves made headlines by scoring four goals for a group of European-based Canadians playing in Moscow's famed Izvestia tournament.
Graves tried to return to the Oilers, who were not pleased and had officially suspended him. Graves said it was all miscommunication. The Oilers offered him a try-out in training camp in 1989 but cut him early on.
Graves ended up returning to Europe for most of the rest of his career. Instead of touring the minor leagues he enjoyed his time in Switzerland and Denmark.
Graves retired in 1993 and got into the financial services industry in Sault Ste. Marie. He also did some scouting for the Calgary Flames.