You ever sit back and think what would the Oilers look like if I could pluck a few guys from the past during their best seasons and throw them on the team right now? Even better, how about putting together a team of guys at their best? What teams could you put together?
Welcome to the 40 Year Anniversary All-Time Draft!
The rules are fairly simple. You get two people and you draft two teams. Each team has 12 forwards, six defencemen, and two goalies. There are 40 seasons in Oilers history, so it works out to two teams of 20.
The purpose is to pick one player from each season in franchise history and determine after that who managed to build the best team. A player is only allowed to be drafted once and each team in the Oilers’ 40-year history must be represented, but, again, only once. So we can’t just stock up on guys from 1984, or something. The key is finding players when they’re at their best and looking for diamonds in the rough from the forgettable years.
We’ll do it fantasy draft style, where the first person picks first, then the second person gets to pick second and third, and so on and so on. Let’s get into it!
- Zach – 1985-86 Wayne Gretzky (C)
I mean, is there really any other choice here? Gretzky put up a record-setting number of points that honestly might never be challenged again in NHL history. 51 goals, 163 points, 215 points.
- Cam – 2018-19 Connor McDavid (C)
- Cam – 2019-20 Leon Draisaitl (LW)
Obviously Gretzky would go first overall, so I had to decide if I wanted to take the 80s route or go with the McDavid and Draisaitl combo. I took the modern dynamic duo, knowing that you’d leave me one elite 80s guy with my next round of picks.
- Zach – 1984-85 Jari Kurri (RW)
- Zach – 1983-84 Paul Coffey (D)
Seeing Cam go early further solidified my plan to attack the ‘80s. Beyond Gretzky, Kurri and Coffey have scored the most points in a season in Oilers history. Since 85-86 was off the board due to the Gretzky pick, I had to take Coffey’s 126 point season.
- Cam – 2005-06 Chris Pronger (D)
- Cam – 1989-90 Mark Messier (C)
I knew I wouldn’t be able to get Coffey, so I was just thrilled you left me with Pronger. That’s a great place to start building a blueline. Also, I actually can’t believe Messier ended up falling down this low. We might be underrating The Moose over here, but I’ll take it.
- Zach – 1981-82 Glen Anderson (LW)
- Zach – 2008-09 Sheldon Souray (D)
Furthering the 80’s theme I wanted to further complement that bunch with Anderson. Knowing good point-scoring defenceman don’t really exist all that well in Oilers history, I needed to grab one of the other best guys available and that was Souray’s 08-09 season.
- Cam – 1982-83 Charlie Huddy (D)
- Cam – 1995-96 Doug Weight (C)
Souray that early? Damn. He was great that year, but you’re leaving me with some damn good players to choose from here early on. I’ll grab Huddy to go alongside Pronger, which would be a nightmare of a pair to play against. I’ll also grab Dough Weight from his career-high 104-point season.
- Zach – 1979-80 Blair MacDonald (RW)
- Zach – 1990-91 Steve Smith (D)
MacDonald flew completely under the radar here and I was thankful Cam missed him. Smith put up a solid 54 points that year and racked up a whopping 193 PIM. Gotta get some toughness back there.
- Cam – 2000-01 Ryan Smyth (LW)
- Cam – 1999-00 Roman Hamrlik (D)
Two more picks and Ryan Smyth is still on the board? Better grab him while I can. His 2000-01 season came with a career-high of 70 points, so that’s the way to go. I’ve got a pretty strong group of forwards here already, so it’s time to start rounding out the blueline. Roman Hamrlik was a truly underrated Oilers defenceman. In 1999-00, he logged 25 minutes a game and scored 45 points.
- Zach – 2007-08 Ales Hemsky (RW)
- Zach – 2011-12 Jordan Eberle (RW)
This was my “close to the heart round.” Hemsky is one of my all-time favourite Oilers and he put up a great 71 points, much like Eberle did in 2011-12. In hindsight, maybe Hall was the play, but such is life.
- Cam – 2013-14 Taylor Hall (LW)
- Cam – 1997-98 Boris Mironov (D)
We’ve definitely underrated Hall here. The early 2010s years are ugly ones to choose from, so I’ll grab Hall from his 2013-14 season. That was his best year as an Oiler as he scored 80 points in 75 games. I’ll also grab Mironov, adding some of that 90s grit to my blueline.
- Zach – 1991-92 Vincent Damphousse (LW)
- Zach – 1980-81 Risto Siltanen (D)
Cam, I bow at you from a safe distance for leaving me Damphousse’s lone season in Edmonton and he was a monster for Edmonton scoring 89 points in 80 games. Risto Siltanen’s 80-81 season is one of the best ever from an Oilers rearguard.
- Cam – 2016-17 Oscar Klefbom (D)
- Cam – 1986-87 Esa Tikkanen (LW)
The 2016-17 Oilers have kind of slipped between the cracks here because McDavid and Draisaitl went early in the draft. But one of the key parts of that team still remains, Oscar Klefbom. I’ll also take Esa Tikkanen from one of our few remaining 80s years because every team can use a pest. He also scored a career-high 34 goals that year.
- Zach – 1987-88 Grant Fuhr (G)
- Zach – 1996-97 Curtis Joseph (G)
“Wait, we need goalies too? Better not tell Cam,” were my exact thoughts as he picked Klefbom and Tikkanen. These seasons were two of the best by any goalie in Oilers history, so it was a no brainer to go back-to-back and make it tough for Cam.
- Cam – 1993-94 Bill Ranford (G)
- Cam – 2006-07 Dwayne Roloson (G)
Oh man, you absolutely robbed me on the goalies here. I was sitting there patting myself on the back for grabbing Klefbom, but I could have used my 2016-17 pick to grab Cam Talbot’s best season. That’s out the window now, so I’ll have to get creative. With Fuhr, CuJo, and Talbot’s good year off the table, I’m left with Ranford and Roloson.
- Zach – 1992-93 Dave Manson (D)
- Zach – 2001-02 Janne Niinimaa (D)
This round took… a while. I knew I needed to lock up two more defenseman to round out my top six, and the pickings were starting to get slim on the backend. Manson led all Oilers defencemen in scoring that year as did Niinimaa in ‘02.
- Cam 2002-03 – Anson Carter (RW)
- Cam 2014-15 – Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (C)
Things are starting to get tough now. We’re getting into some forgettable seasons and pretty much all of the good players are gone. One guy who slipped through the cracks was Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. You can find some gems on some of these bad teams. RNH buried 24 goals that season. I’ll also grab Anson Carter, adding more size and speed from the early 2000s.
- Zach – 1988-89 Jimmy Carson (C)
- Zach – 1998-99 Bill Guerin (RW)
Wait, Jimmy Carson’s 100-point 1988-89 season is still available? That’s going to really add some punch on a second line for me. With the years now being limited in terms of where I could pick from, grabbing a peak Oilers Guerin was an easy choice.
- Cam – 1994-95 Jason Arnott (C)
- Cam – 2003-04 Radek Dvorak (RW)
I still need more forwards. The lockout 1994-95 year gets overlooked because the team was bad, but a 20-year-old Arnott scored 37 points in 42 games there. Next up, a 50-point season from Radek Dvorak is just sitting there, so I’ll scoop him up too.
- Zach – 2012-13 Sam Gagner (C)
- Zach – 2017-18 Pat Maroon (LW)
Again, we’re now down to the final five years to be able to select from and Gagner’s lockout-shortened season may have been overlooked. He put up 38 points in 48 games, which was one of his best NHL seasons. I wanted to grab Maroon and wound up getting him the year he was traded.
- Cam – 2009-10 Lubomir Visnovsky (D)
- Cam – 2015-16 Mark Letestu (C)
My options for my last couple of picks aren’t great as they’re all a handful of seasons we’ve tried to wipe from our memory. Lubo Visnovsky was a gem when he was here, so I’ll grab him to round out my blueline. Finally, I’ll use my last pick on Mark Letestu. I know, it’s a bit off the board, but I need somebody who can kill penalties, win draws, and score some clutch playoff goals.
40. Zach – 2010-11 Dustin Penner (LW)
Ah, yes, the fridge. Penner was quite productive that year for Edmonton scoring 21 goals and 39 points in 62 games before he was traded to LA. Not a bad fourth-line winger to round out the team.
Glenn Anderson (’09) – Wayne Gretzky (’86) – Jari Kurri (’85)
Jordan Eberle (’12) – Jimmy Carson (’89) – Ales Hemsky (’08)
Bill Guerin (’99) – Vincent Damphousse (’92) – Blair MacDonald (’80)
Pat Maroon (’18) – Sam Gagner (’13) – Dustin Penner (’11)
Paul Coffey (’84) – Dave Manson (’93)
Sheldon Souray (’09) – Risto Siltanen (’81)
Steve Smith (’91) – Janne Niinimaa (’02)
Grant Fuhr (’88)
Curtis Joseph (’97)
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (’15) – Connor McDavid (’19) – Leon Draisaitl (’20)
Ryan Smyth (’01) – Mark Messier (’90) – Esa Tikkanen (’87)
Taylor Hall (’14) – Doug Weight (’96) – Jason Arnott (’95)
Anson Carter (’03) – Mark Letestu (’16) – Radek Dvorak (’04)
Chris Pronger (’06) – Charlie Huddy (’83)
Oscar Klefbom (’17) – Boris Mironov (’98)
Lubomir Visnovsky (’10) – Roman Hamrlik (’00)
Dwayne Roloson (’07)
Bill Ranford (’94)
I’m happy with the way my roster shaped up. I’ve got a deadly top line featuring some of the best seasons you could imagine with strong scoring second and third lines. My fourth line offers some size in Maroon and Penner, while Gagner can help in the defensive zone. The blue line offers quite the offensive punch, too, all the while being able to shut things down with Steve Smith if needed. – Zach
I feel like I had an uphill battle not having Gretzky right off the hop. I agree that Zach has the deadliest top line with his 80s dynasty group, but I really feel like my team has the depth with McDavid, Messier, and Weight up the middle. My blueline is also lethal, featuring a nice blend of defencemen who can move the puck and guys who are a nightmare to play against. Another thing to mention, since Zach got first-overall pick, I got the first jersey choice, and I feel like getting the old metallic sperm jerseys is a huge victory. – Cam
To be honest, this was a really fun way to spend some time and it would be fun to see your team in the comments section. Which team do you think is better, Nation?