Tracers: Oilers Rookies (06-10)

Edmonton Oilers

Big Matt Greene headlines a solid group of rookies that made their NHL debuts with the Oilers in the 5-year period after the lockout. Greene and a few others no longer play for the Oilers, but several are still productive NHLers.


The spring of 2006 was a wonderful time to be an Oiler fan. The lockout cluster that included so many value contracts from the old era (Hemsky, Horcoff, Stoll, Bergeron, Pisani, Torres) gave Edmonton an exceptional opportunity and the club rode it all the way to G7 SCF. Rookies didn’t contribute a lot, but there were some fine young guns in the group.

  • Matt Greene 27, 0-2-2
  • Kyle Brodziak 10, 0-0-0

The Oilers brought up two youngsters for their rookie season in 05-06, and both have gone on to solid careers. Greene is a tough, physical defender but was sent away (with Jarret Stoll) in the blockbuster Lubo deal; Brodziak was flushed for picks and he too found a home in another city.


This was a watershed season for rookies. The first rebuild began with the trading of Chris Pronger and the offloading of all those trade deadline pickups spring 2006.

  • Patrick Thoresen 68, 4-12-16
  • Marc Pouliot 46, 4-7-11
  • Ladislav Smid 77, 3-7-10
  • Brad Winchester 59, 4-5-9
  • Zack Stortini 29, 1-0-1
  • Danny Syvret 16, 0-1-1
  • JF Jacques 37, 0-0-0
  • Bryan Young 15, 0-0-0
  • Alexei Mikhnov 2, 0-0-0
  • Sebastian Bisaillon 2, 0-0-0

Well, they sure had a lot of them in 06-07! JF Jacques was noteworthy for playing 37 games and not getting a point. Patrick Thoresen impressed many but didn’t have an NHL career in him, and it looks the same for Marc Pouliot and others. The best rookie from this season is Laddy Smid, a fine NHL defenseman who is key to the Oilers rebuild. All of them. 



This is the season when the first rebuild saw full bloom. A lottery pick, a graduating college center and a young defenseman with a nice range of skills made their debut.

  • Sam Gagner 79, 13-36-49
  • Andrew Cogliano 82, 18-27-45
  • Tom Gilbert 82, 13-20-33
  • Curtis Glencross 26, 9-4-13
  • Mathieu Roy 13, 0-1-1

A strong rookie crop here, probably the best in the 5 year period we’re looking at right now. Gagner is now at the 350 game mark and along with Smid looks like the best candidate from the group to have the longest NHL career. Cogliano is a speed burner and should have a long career as well.

Tom Gilbert was payment for a spent Tommy Salo and showed extremely well as a rookie. Edmonton acquired Curtis Glencross during the season and he impressed everyone, including the Calgary Flames. Oiler fans will no doubt be watching him for years.


After the two seasons that basically emptied the cupboard there wasn’t much left for the Oilers to elevate to the NHL level in 08-09. The season did involve a lot of former first round selections trying to establish themselves with the team.

  • Liam Reddox 46, 5-7-12
  • Theo Peckham 15, 0-0-0

Peckham’s NHL career has had some fits and starts, but he’s approaching 150 NHL games and outlasted a lot of higher picks on his way to the best league in the world.



This was the season in which the wheels fell off, injuries were the order of the day and the Oilers began the “fall for Hall” and the second rebuild.

  • Jeff Deslauriers 48, 3.26 .901
  • Ryan Stone 27, 0-6-6
  • Taylor Chorney 42, 0-3-3

Oilers didn’t get a lot done rookie-wise in this season, although the club did play JDD enough to make a decision on him. Like 05-06, this season was the calm before the storm.



The Oilers had some nice things during this 5 year period, but the depth the club badly needs today was dealt away early. Men like Matt Greene, Kyle Brodziak and now Tom Gilbert would be important pieces in the puzzle as the club looks forward to a winning season and playoff run un 2012-13.


The best Oilers of this 5-year period:

  • GOAL: Jeff Deslauriers
  • DEFENSE: Tom Gilbert, Ladislav Smid, Matt Greene, Theo Peckham
  • CENTER: Sam Gagner, Andrew Cogliano, Marc Pouliot
  • LEFT WING: Curtis Glencross, Patrick Thoresen, Liam Reddox
  • RIGHT WING: Kyle Brodziak, Brad Winchester, Zack Stortini

This group has three nice defensemen and some useful items up front in Gagner, Glencross, Brodziak and Cogliano. The group has questionable “star” power–there’s no Hemsky, Smyth or Arnott in the group (unless Gagner emerges). How does this group’s depth–especially on defense–compare to the others in the group?


00-04 GROUP

  • GOAL: Jussi Markkanen, Ty Conklin
  • DEFENSE: MA Bergeron, Alexei Semenov
  • CENTER: Mike Comrie, Shawn Horcoff, Jarret Stoll
  • LEFT WING: Jason Chimera, Dan Lacouture
  • RIGHT WING: Ales Hemsky, Fernando Pisani

95-99 GROUP

  • GOAL: Joacquin Gage
  • DEFENSE: Dan McGillis, Greg DeVries, Tom Poti, Sean Brown
  • CENTER: Todd Marchant, Rem Murray, Mats Lindgren
  • LEFT WING: Ryan Smyth
  • RIGHT WING: Miro Satan, Mike Grier, Georges Laraque 

90-94 GROUP

  • GOAL: Fred Braithwaite
  • DEFENSE:Boris Mironov, Geoff Smith
  • CENTER:Jason Arnott, Shaun Van Allen
  • LEFT WING: Martin Gelinas, Dean McAmmond, Shjon Podein
  • RIGHT WING: Josef Beranek, Steven Rice, Kirk Maltby

85-89 GROUP

  • GOAL
  • DEFENSE: Steve Smith, Craig Muni, Jeff Beukeboom, Chris Joseph
  • LEFT WING: Esa Tikkanen, Raimo Summanen
  • RIGHT WING: Kelly Bucherger

79-84 GROUP

  • GOAL: Grant Fuhr, Andy Moog
  • DEFENSE: Paul Coffey, Kevin Lowe, Charlie Huddy, Randy Gregg, Risto Siltanen
  • CENTER: Wayne Gretzky, Mark Messier, Pat Conacher
  • LEFT WING: Jaroslav Pouzar, Dave Hunter, Dave Semenko
  • RIGHT WING: Jari Kurri, Glenn Anderson, Dave Lumley

There are two seasons (or there will be) from the next 5-year window and I’ll have a look at the group after this NHL season is over.

The current cluster is a monster. Seriously.

  • Dallylamma

    Ohh how we pine for the glorious Red-Ox days.

    LT the defence on this group is more impressive than the F on a proportionate basis.

    LT why isnt DD in this edition of Tracers?

    • Lowetide

      How bad is this quoting my own post…and makes sense since they have different rules for Calder consideration (which werent met with his GP in 09/10)

  • ubermiguel

    Gilbert and Smid only just turned the corner this year, but they’re reminding me of the 85-89 D group. And 350 games at 22? Barring injury Gagner will end up having a very long solid career.

    • Lowetide

      Basically to even things out. Brodziak is of course a center but also played wing. He’s an interesting player, Oilers could use him and the draft picks they got in return are still miles away.

  • Hmm. So what you’re saying is rather than trade away every young player in the system the second they don’t become an NHL all-star within the first 2 years of their career, they should keep them and help groom them to become useful NHL players one day? This will help bolster, how do you say it, “depth” within the roster?

    No, this can’t be right. It’s completely contradictory to a large majority of Oiler fan’s logic. (And also a few upper management types whose paycheques are signed by Daryl Katz).

  • Quicksilver ballet

    At least I’m old enough to remember 79-84. It’s like drinking from a well and then wandering across the desert. I still remember having a drink (or was it just a mirage?) It has to be enough to last until the next oasis, which has sure been a long time coming. Unless I die before it gets here. Reading your list of rookies over the past 25 years, LT, makes me want to lie down and do just that.

    If only Eberle, Hall, and the Nuge would stop giving me hope… then I could move on with my life.

  • Dallylamma

    The Stoll/Greene trade and the Glencross non-signing are two stand-out bad moves when looking back on the past six years. There have been many nights where the Oil could have used the grit, toughness and faceoff wins.

  • I wish we could stop using the term “rebuild” for this most recent period of on-ice ineptitude. To do so in effect buys in to the idea that the reason the team became poor was because of a natural cycle, like the seasons. A more accurate term would be “recovering from Kevin Lowe’s managerial incompetence”.

      • Yes, there is failure all around. Look at Calgary, Minnesota and the perennial failures such as the Islanders, Panthers, poor old Stevie Y in Tampa, etc, etc, etc.

        Or even the better teams of late, San Jose, Vancouver, Washington, none can seem to quite make it. But there is still the Burkes and Lombardis of the world. Big names but again just spinning the wheels. St. Louis just climbed out of an 8 year tank job, now they are winning with god aweful boring hockey. Whats happened to Chicago? Looks like a big fail there as well. And Anaheim, all those stars and just barely ahead of good old our town.

        Excluding Detroit and Boston, I kind of like what I am am seeing develop right here. We got some heart, some flash and excitement. I can’t wait to watch it all unfold.

        Yes we could fire Renney and bring in a Hitchcock, but no thanks, for me anyways. I am kind of enjoying our brand of failure c/w the ongoing debate. Or you could always cheer for the Canucks, Bah ha ha.

          • Quicksilver ballet

            At what cost?

            I’m just sayin it is tough all over. But aren’t you excited to see whats happening here?

            Sure it suck’s to miss the playoffs, but with new management you get a new direction and start movin “good stuff” to get there. I don’t really want to see that. I want to see this unfold.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    How much longer before we can go to Canadian Tire and buy a real live Wayne Gretzky clone?

    Have saved up close to 1000.00 in Canadian Tire money to donate to the Oilers just for this specific purpose.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    08-09 Theo Peckham. 24.

    I forget how young he is at times. I thought a very good outing against San Jose.

    Perhaps his best games are when he’s in and out of the line up. Definetly and contributor who still has growth coming as a defenseman.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    OIlers will never wing the Cup [again] or maybe not even run in the play offs , as long as Lowe is in charge. His leadership is still living in the 80’s [ were great, different times today]. He thinks that assembling a Run n Gun team is going to win you the cup. Chasing lotto picks and smallish wiz kids won’t do it, unless these so called kids are taught how to play and win in todays NHL. Look at todays successful teams:
    Boston, Rangers, Philly, St. Louis, and of coarse the Detroit. One thing in commong, these teams all have realy good coaches and excellent goal tending [maybe not Philly]. But most importantly they are built to pretty much roll out 4 solid lines and play the game hard on both sides of the puck. No floaters or super stars here for the most part. They all check, play the puck and body hard and anyone can score.
    They play as a team by committee.No one is going to win the scoring trophy. They have size , and are mean to play against. Oilers are not even close to this blueprint.