OILERS DRAFT TRIVIA

This is Alexei Mikhnov. A dozen years ago the internet was alive with tales of "Traktor Boy" playing in near darkness and Oilers scout Kenta Nilsson nudging his SAAB alongside the outdoor rink to get a better view of the power and the glory. Edmonton’s draft history is rich and bountiful in some places and barren in others. It’s been an amazing ride.

As we are one week from the draft and I’ve likely exhausted your interest in this draft, perhaps you’ll find something interesting in the following snapshots from the past:

  • Kevin Lowe was the first Oilers pick (1979) in their NHL history. He also scored goal in his first NHL game, which was also first goal and game in history of Edmonton Oilers franchise (NHL) and first game in Wayne Gretzky’s NHL career. The goal came on a power play at 9:49 of the first period against Chicago goaltender Tony Esposito. Brett Callighen and Gretzky assisted on the goal. The assist was the first point in Gretzky’s NHL career.
  • Mark Messier (also 1979) became a full-time center for Edmonton’s Feb. 15, 1984, game vs. Winnipeg after having played left wing for the first four years of his NHL career. Mess had played the position before (notably when he was on a line with Stan Weir) but this is the date where he moved to stay. He had an enormous impact on the game as a center, but us old timers will tell you he was a load on the wing, too.
  • Glenn Anderson (STILL 1979) was suspended eight games in 1985-86 for an incident in which his high stick clipped Dave Silk’s ear during Edmonton’s Dec. 13, 1985, game at Winnipeg. Anderson received a match penalty for "intent to injure" at 18:30 of the second period. A suspension hearing was held on Dec. 19, 1985, added six games to the two he had already missed. Anderson claimed he only hit Silk because he was trying to wrestle free of his grasp. The Oilers of that era would be described as "filthy" on many occasions.
  • Paul Coffey (1980) was rated in The Hockey News draft preview issue as No. 20 prospect for the 1980 NHL draft. That’s a pick that was a reach and worked out very well.
  • Jari Kurri (also 1980) was expected to sign two-year commitment to the Finnish national team and military in 1980, thereby hurting his status in the draft. Edmonton was the only team that knew Kurri would not sign such a commitment and would rather play in the NHL, because chief scout Barry Fraser looked into situation and knew Kurri was available. Ironically, Kurri originally planned to play only one or two seasons in the NHL before returning to Finland.
  • Andy Moog (good grief, 1980) was called up to NHL for the first time on Dec. 19, 1980, and served as backup goaltender to Ed Mio. He entered first NHL game for two minutes in relief of Mio, who briefly came out of the game due to injury. Moog faced only one shot, allowing a goal on a breakaway by Mike Murphy.
  • Grant Fuhr (1981) was represented by agent Bill Watters when he signed his first NHL contract with Edmonton in September 1981. The contract was a 3-year deal plus an option year at $70,000 per season and a $60,000 signing bonus. It also included bonuses based on the number of games Fuhr won in each season.
  • Esa Tikkanen (1983) worked as stick boy for Team Canada in 1982 World Championships, which were played in his native Helsinki, Finland. All of the above material is courtesy hockeydraftcentral.
  • Kevin Lowe was told the 1979 draft (via telephone) was to start at 10am. He expected a call from Alan Eagleson around 10:15 to tell him which team had selected him in the first round. Lowe waited, and waited, and waited. By 10:45am the phone hadn’t rung and Lowe’s mom said "My God, they’re not drafting him." A mixup in the phone lines caused a one hour delay, but the Lowe household was not aware of it. At 11:10, Eagleson’s secretary called with the news Edmonton had chosen Lowe—21st overall (this was taken pretty much verbatim from CHAMPIONS, the Lowe/Fischler book).
  • Glen Sather was impressed by Mark Messier as he played AGAINST the Oilers in the 78-79 season (WHA). Dennis Sobchuk was a pretty good player and legend has it he thought he could take the kid in the Cincinnati Stinger uniform. Messier apparently had a slight edge in punches. 12-0. Sather noticed and picked him 48th overall in the deepest draft in history, 1979.
  • In their first 10 NHL drafts, the only college player to have any impact was Glenn Anderson.
  • Oilers LOVED their 1988 second rounder Petro Koivunen. He was a center who had a solid first season after his draft year (named to the Finnish team for the Pravda Cup), but he never made it. He did play in Finland, though, and did have some good seasons.
  • Raimo Summanen was a more highly rated player than Esa Tikkanen. Oilers brass were quoted often as saying Summanen might be the LW Edmonton needed to throw onto the Gretzky-Kurri line.
  • In the year of Shane Doan, the draft was held at Northlands in Edmonton. The Oilers walked to the table with cheers of “Doan, Doan, Doan” and selected Steve Kelly.
  • Michel Riesen, first round pick in 1997, had a terrific camp in the fall of 2000 as part of the Bulldog line (so named for their successful 99-00 season in Hamilton) with Brian Swanson and Daniel Cleary
  • Back in the days before the internet ruled the earth, the best pre-draft document was produced by a man named Robin Brownlee. His draft previews featured quick bio’s on possible Oiler picks and often tipped the discerning reader about which player Edmonton coveted. I well remember rushing out those mornings to get the Sun in order to read Brownlee’s take on the draft. They were golden.
  • The selection of Magnus Pääjärvi-Svensson in 2009 represents the highest ranked European choice in team history.
  • Before 2010, the highest pick in Edmonton history was #4 overall–Jason Bonsignore in 1994. The Hockey Gods have now paid us back in full, with Hall, the Nuge and #1 overall this year.

NATION RADIO

Team 1260-Noon today. Email nationradio@theteam1260.com or you can use twitter @lowetide_ or @ItsNationRadio. You can always leave a question or comment below too.

Scheduled to appear:

  • Patrick Burke, President of You Can Play. We’ll talk about the good works of the organization, the progress they are making in changing "the way the world thinks about athletes."
  • Jonathan Willis, from Cult of Hockey, Oilers Nation, Nations Network, Grantland, NHL Numbers. Willis is killing it so far this offseason with brilliant articles all over the internet. If he were any more prolific he’d be Wilt Chamberlain.
  • Kent Wilson, Nations Overlord. Kent will drop by and give us an overview of the latest in Flames Nation, the draft from his perspective and we’ll teast July 1st and free agency throughout the Canadian teams.
  • Dustin Nielson, from Team 1260’s Nielson and Fraser morning show. Dustin’s top 30 is one of the more interesting editions I’ve seen and we’ll discuss it and his trip to the draft in Pittsburgh.
  • Liz Claman, Fox Business Anchor and a Los Angeles Kings fan from birth. She’s a unique Kings fan, having been born into the tradition and living the long and winding road. We’ll talk about the journey and her experience as a hockey fan.
  • Brad MacPherson–Blue Bullet–will be by with his final update for the draft and tell us when we’ll see his final list.

Hope you can tune in!

  • striker777

    Can you please address 2 rumors out there:
    1. Evander Kane wanting out of Winnipeg and if we could fit him on our left wing. He has the sandpaper Oilers desperately need.
    2. Montreal sending Rene Bourque and Diaz to Edmonton for Gagner, Plante, and 2nd round pick.

    Thank you

    • Lowetide

      I’ll address them but you won’t like my answers! 🙂 I’ll also ask our guests today.

      1. The Habs rumor is nonsense. Unless there’s something about Diaz we haven’t heard, Edmonton gets pasted in that trade.

      2. Kane would be a very nice addition, but the asking price from the Jets would probably start at Eberle.

  • Gerald R. Ford

    I was half expecting “Trivia” to be some obscure Czech player that Barry Fraser drafted from behind a pile of cocktail umbrellas in Cabo.

    And, I can think of at least two other reasons for LT to interview Liz Claman…

  • Spartacus

    I can’t possibly be the only person who had a little panicked brain flatulence when they saw the title of this article.

    “WHAT DAY IS IT? HOW LONG HAVE I BEEN ASLEEP? WHO’S THIS TRIVIA KID??!!? WHAT ABOUT YAK?!”

  • justDOit

    What are the chanches we deal Smid and Petry to obtain a star defensive cornerpiece to build around ? Not much else on defence others might be interested in . We need to finally get another top 2 . What are the chances we deal with T.Bay for their nbr.10 pick if Trouba, or another top defensive player availabe?

    What are chances Oilers focus more on dumping bad contracts ? Good players with bad contracts are a recipe for disaster as we have witnessed over several years . Time to cut them loose ! This will give us a new core for starters .

    Gagner starting to pan out offensively , but defensively and physically still challenged . Tough call on what to do with him . Paajarvi worth holding onto , and may turn out much better starting this season . I would not deal Paajarvi at this stage .

    • justDOit

      Smid AND Petry? Petry’s trajectory is pointing towards stardom, and Smid is our best shut-down guy. Lowe gave up less than that to acquire Pronger in his prime (essentially just Brewer).

  • a lg dubl dubl

    I could be wrong but didnt Kane just sign an extention with the Jets not to long ago?

    I really hope that Montreal rumor is just that.

    I got laughed at for saying the Oilers should offer PRV,Peckham, and thier 2nd pick to CBJ for the #2 pick and take Murray and Yak. My Question is what would it take to get it. If I was ST I’d seriously look at talking to Howson about it, as long as it doesnt involve 1 of the 3 kids.

    • Bucknuck

      It’s a really great question, but Scott Howson has to be scared about his job, so he may not be so daring as to trade that pick at all, unless he was getting something really amazing back, and none of our amazing players are available.

      My list of untouchable players is actually “the big four” and includes Petry. They should not trade any young defender that is a legitimate top pairing option.

      A team might take a chance on Whitney, since when he is healthy he is a #1 option, but I believe that is the epitome of selling low. He won’t fetch a top ten draft pick that is for certain.

  • Spartacus

    Ya, LT, that’s a really deceiving headline. Way to take advantage of those with poor reading comprehension.

    Shame on you for tricking people into reading this article.

    I’m telling Wanye.

  • Lowetide

    Deja-vu ? Eskimos hired a new coach who was up and coming with many accoolades and then promoted him only to keep losing and out of playoffs . Tillman came in to replace him and a lot of his “boys club ” entourage -and now we are back to being a contender again in short order . Might Oilers be better off doing the same and getting someone who can deal with alternate views ? I believe so .

  • Lowetide

    If The Ducks Shultz is leaning towards Canada and possibly a reunion with Gardiner (Leafs), can you see any reasonable trade Brian Burke might consider from the Oil and who (or what) they would have to give up??

    An Interesting potential upgrade to their blueline

    • John Chambers

      If Schultz goes untraded prior to becoming a free agent I’ll be baffled. At the very least someone should be dealing a 3rd round pick for his negotiating rights. If you can’t get him under contract, you still have the potential to deal his rights to another team to cover your loss – like Garth Snow did last year with Erhoff.

      LT – do you think Bob Murray is still trying to work something out with the Schultz camp, or is trying to leverage the best return for him (like getting his pick back from the Cogliano trade)? If Brian Burke or Glen Sather buy his negotiating rights for a mid round pick I’ll be fu … I’ll be Godda … I might suggest that Tambellini could’ve pursued a more optimal strategy.

    • John Chambers

      Also to your point if another team acquires Schultz there’s perhaps a Dman who becomes tradeable. I would try to pursue a deal for Franson or Gunnarsson from Toronto or Del Zotto from the NYR.

      Paajarvi and or our 2nd rd pick in ’12 or ’13, as well as a prospect like Musil or Curtis Hamilton are what we have to offer, depending on the target as well as the trade partner.

  • Spartacus

    Many trades available this season with the draft upcoming . Lets be honest here when it comes to trades , do you forsee our incumbent group being able to handle it to our benefit to begin with ? I don’t , unless MacT. shows us something new the others can’t seem to accomplish .

    At least one big name (Defence or Centerman) needs to be added while others of veteran variety need deletion – not to mention albatross contracts . Thats a tall order just to begin with . Something like a Nash or Weber would be a good cornerstone for our 4-5 youngsters . I’m including Paajarvi as untouchable by the way – at least for one more seasons assessment . Samuelson unlikely to ever be as good as Paajarvi in the end scenario ,so it might not be necessary to draft him as well .

    I do like the idea of trying to get a top 1-5 five pick for next seasons draft .

  • @justDOit

    Especially since he followed it with “the only things on defense anyone would want”

    So lets trade the only decent defense we DO have for what? 1 defensemen, Schultz and a taped up Whitney cannot do it themselves.

  • Lowetide

    John Chambers: I think there’s a chance Murray trades him this week. A team like the Oilers might want to offer a pick in order to get the deal done before the draft and have certainty.

    If Schultz is in the house, then does that change things at the draft? I don’t think it would, it shouldn’t at #1 overall.

    Still, Schultz is worth a pick imo, even just to talk to.

    • I wonder how much truth can come from those negotiations? What I mean by that is, say we do trade for Schultz’ rights and they talk with him and he says something like “I was thinking of signing with Toronto because Gardiner is there” in which case the Oilers say “okay will get a deal done to bring him here and you sign with us”

      Is a situation like that plausible? Do things like that happen?

    • John Chambers

      Even if we trade for Alex Ovechkin it shouldn’t change the Oilers plan at le draft. There is only one clear strategy and we have to Nail it.

      How aggressive is too aggressive for Schultz? Is a 2nd rounder too high a price, especially if he won’t sign and you end up flipping him for a late 3rd? It seems some GMs go into the draft with rose-colored glasses, overvaluing things like mid round picks while others treat picks as currency to buy real NHL players, like how Yzerman bought Anders Lindback yesterday. I’m a big fan of trading unknown quantities for legit players, and although Steve has done the opposite for the purpose of Le Rebuild, I think they ought to shift gears … But our pick at 31 or 32 is too high a price IMO.

    • justDOit

      Not disputing that J Schultz is worth a pick to talk to, but I am questioning the hype behind this guy. He hasn’t played one minute of pro hockey in his life, and yet he’s going to demand top 4 minutes on an NHL team right out of US college hockey?

      He’s listed at a little under 190 lbs, and hasn’t won the Hobey Baker award or a championship. At least Omark and Brunnstrom had played pro hockey at some level to justify the hype.

  • a lg dubl dubl

    @Bucknuck

    I forget that Petry and even Smid should be on the list of untouchables too lol.

    I think Howson although scared for his job, needs to win asap and if trading the #2 pick helps the cause then I have no doubt he’d do it, only because if Nash does get traded before the draft he’s still getting a 1st round pick in return so it could be a win win for CBJ that way. Hell if I was ST Id be offering up next years 1st round pick to sweetin the deal.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    In order to get a Weber type star defenceman , i’d have no problem giving up Smid and Petry to make that trade . Doubtfull Preds would go for it however . Our defencemen are all available for upgrade as far as i’m cncernered .

  • Quicksilver ballet

    @Wes Mantooth

    Food for thought for sure. How about we throw in Khabibulin on that deal? A return to the Peg for Nikolia. With the possibility last yrs No.1 goalie for the Jets (Ondrej Pavelec) heading home to the KHL, it could be a fit. Jets are sitting at under 39 committed for next yr with no goaltenders signed, so they have oodles of cap space for Khabby.

    I’d do that Evander Kane for Khabby and the first in a heartbeat. Maybe the Oilers could even sweeten that some more and get the Jets first rounder in return.

    Would Evander Kane want this?

  • Quicksilver ballet

    @Wesman

    The first pick in 2012, Hemsky and Khabibulin in exchange for Kane and the Jets first. Love that Evander Kane kid too.

    Can we start the paperwork?

  • Reg Dunlop

    1) Petry and Smid are 2 of our 4 actual NHL Dmen. Trading them leaves a far larger hole than any return fills.

    2) If Kane wants out of Winnepeg he would want out of Edmonton before his luggage was unpacked.

    3) Any deal that says bye-bye to next years 1st pick is a BAD deal as there are generational talents available unlike this year.

    Happy father’s day to all.

    Happy father’s dayX500 to Wilt the Stilt.