He arrived as a basically unknown return for another captain heading out of town. A few short years later, Todd Marchant was scoring one of the most famous goals in team history.

Marchant arrived in Edmonton on a day when the New York Rangers emptied their prospect bank in search of a Stanley that would arrive later that spring with an Oildrop asterisk. Craig MacTavish was sent away for a "1994 US Olympian" named Marchant and that was about all we got from the media.

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It was shortly thereafter we found out something very important about Marchant: he was a rocket on skates.

Something we didn’t know until much later (as in recently) involves a stroke of extremely good luck in the 1994 the deal. In the book BEHIND THE MOVES former NYR GM Neil Smith recounts an incredible story:

  • Smith: All year, I was telling Sather, ‘I want [Craig] MacTavish at the deadline because you are going to miss the playoffs and I need a fourth-line, penalty-kill, faceoff guy.’ So the deadline comes. And what he really wanted from me was a big, tall defenceman in the minors who I wouldn’t trade to him because I thought he was a great prospect. I said to him, ‘I’ll trade you Todd Marchant.’ So we made the trade. I swear on this: the next day, Sather called me and he said, ‘You f—ed me on this trade. Marchant is f—-ing 5’8”.’ I said, ‘I know he is.’… Sather said, ‘F—! It says in the book that he is 6’1”.’ I said, ‘You’re looking at the wrong Marchant. That’s his brother,’ because Todd’s brother was in the book, too. [Glen] thought he was trading for the other Marchant, I swear to God.”


Marchant arrived as an Oiler in his first (half) season, scoring 13 goals in 45 games after firing 22 past AHL goalies in 35 games in 94-95 (before the callup). Funny thing–as impressive as the scoring spree looked, Marchant actually had a bundle more chances. His penchant for breakaways was astounding but closing the deal was something else again (as we would discover).

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Marchant’s blazing speed made him a threat on offense and defense, and as time rolled along Marchant (who played as a winger to begin his career) moved into a 2-way role as a speedy center with defensive ability. Marchant became a reliable #3 center who actually played the 2nd most minutes (behind Doug Weight) because of his strong play at evens and on the PK.

By the turn of the century, Marchant was considered a significant part of the team’s center.



That goal gives you an idea about Marchant’s speed. For his era, Marchant was exceptionally quick and fast, catching opposition defenders flat-footed and he could scoot by in a heartbeat. He was also a tenacious checker and penalty killer and despite a lack of size was a very effective 2-way player for his entire Oiler career.


"Certainly my first game against Chicago with the Rangers, scoring a Game 7 overtime-winner against Dallas when I was with Edmonton, winning the Stanley Cup in 2007 with Anaheim, playing in 1,000 NHL games – those are the kind of things that stand out for me as highlights of my career."

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  • Stanley Cup (2007, Anaheim)
  • ECAC 2nd All-Star (1993)
  • Team USA Member at the World Juniors (1993)
  • Represented USA at Lillehammer Olympics (1994)


The talented pivot played one game for the Rangers after the Olympics and was dealt to the Edmonton Oilers for Craig MacTavish just prior to the March deadline. Marchant spent the lockout portion of the 1994-95 season with the AHL’s Cape Breton Oilers before scoring 27 points in 45 games as an NHL rookie. Over the next few seasons, he became a fixture in the Edmonton line up with his speed symbolizing the crux of the team’s improvement.

In 1996-97, Marchant helped the Oilers qualify for the post season for the first time since 1992. He also provided the overtime winner in the seventh game of the club’s first-round upset victory over the Dallas Stars. Over the years Marchant proved to be one of the more durable player for the Oilers and during the 2002-03 season he hit the 20-goal plateau for the first time while establishing career highs also in assists with 40 and points with 60.


In the 1960s, Montreal Canadiens had an undersized but skilled C named Ralph Backstrom. Most believed he could have score more but his role was as a checker and penalty killer behind twin legends Jean Beliveau and Henri Richard. That was the role played by Todd Marchant–behind the big stars like Doug Weight, but extremely effective in a vital team role. The one time he played 1line minutes (02-03) in Edmonton, Marchant finished among the league’s top 50 scorers. 

Todd Marchant  was a valuable player, a central figure on the teams he played for in his prime. He will always be remembered fondly by Oilers Nation for that goal against Dallas.

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  • Romulus' Apotheosis

    The mid-90s-early 00s were a great time to be an oiler fan. Playoffs and grit.

    those teams have a lot of gumption and depth.

    Now I miss Janne Niinimaa.

    • John Chambers

      How much could the Oilers use Marchant, Grier, Buchberger, and Boris Mironov, all 1997 vintage.

      Add those guys to the mix (and subtract a few others), and this would be a playoff team that nobody would want to face.

      Flip Gagner for Weight too.

      • Romulus' Apotheosis

        I love those teams.

        But I wonder if they’d keep up with the pace of today. The game has changed a lot in the last 15 years.

        Cripes! Just watch how fast and hard Yak passes. That is the future.

        • John Chambers

          It’s true – watching that Game 7 against Dallas is an eyesore with all the hooking, holding, and choppy ice. The Oilers run around endlessly in their own zone and get brutally outshot (plus ca change), but capitalize on a few transition rushes.

          This is a coach’s league. Has been for almost a decade.

    • northof51

      I was at my pee wee hockey wind up that night. We were supposed to be bowling, but all the kids and dads were mesmerized by those underdog Oilers and their resiliency.

      In those years (grew up in eastern Sask) I was the only kid pretending I was Todd Marchant during road hockey matches. I wish my #26 jersey still fit!

  • lucky

    I love that story about Sather thinking he was trading for a bigger player. Where are these guys now? Miller? Let’s just hope MacT is capable of finding some real hockey players, and not just go digging through the bargain bins and team discard piles like Tambellini.

    • DSF

      Not very smart comment. If Sather had an option between the two he would have went with Todd’s brother. How did his career turn out? You can’t just get big players, it is the style of how they play that is important.

      Anyone who thinks that MacT is going to go out and get big players will be very sorry if he does because most likely we will over pay or trade too much for one. Do we have a problem with size? Yes, but let’s not go overboard with picking out guys who are just big.

      Look how well Pouliot turned out.

      If you can amass a bunch of skilled players you can always do a kassian type trade. The problem is, is that we don’t have enough depth in skill to do that.

  • geoilersgist

    Classic. That goal was one of the highlights of being an Oilers fan in the 90s. I really hope MacT can turn this team into something that resembles those teams.

    • John Chambers

      I hope he doesn’t because then we would be a bunch of 3rd or 4th line hockey players that can play hard but never have enough skill to win a cup.

      Hopefully he can procure some bottom six guys that actually can play hockey in the style that some of the players had in the 90’s.

  • John Chambers

    Great review of an Oiler we should not have traded! I remember that when Grier, Marchant, and Moreau were playing, you never knew what was coming……..they were either going to score a greasy goal, beat the crap out of you, or both!

    I would describe heart and toughness as Todd Marchant.

  • John Chambers

    I remember a university teacher once telling me, “it’s when the game is on the line that champs step up, I don’t care about assignments during the year, Im proud of you to have demolished the 90% final, shows me you can step up, thats all that matters in life”

    That prof is my buddy to this day and when I remember guys like Marchand and Grier, most useless in general but big guns when it mattered most. Respect.

  • ubermiguel

    I wish the stats showed his faceoff numbers. Marchant could also forecheck you back to the goal line with his speed. A team always needs smart checking centres like MacTavish, Marchant, and Stoll.

  • StHenriOilBomb

    As a kid I grew up watching the boys on the bus, but my Oilers obsession really blossomed when I watched that OT win against Dallas.

    My first trip to Edmonton as a 16 year old was on a school band trip. After following the series all week, I skipped the movie we were supposed to be at and took a couple of friends to watch game at the Hooters in West Edmonton Mall. A pretty awesome experience for a teenage boy. That overtime is what did it for me. I’d never seen people so jacked about hockey. It just doesn’t happen like that in Victoria.

    Marchant became of of my favourite players instantly.

    Ps: That visit is also memorable within my circle of friends because a bud of ours spilled mayo on his pants, and when a Hooters waitress leaned over to wipe it up she was startled to find that something was growing in his pants. She kind of called him out on it, and laughed at him. And then we teased him about it for the rest of the trip. Poor bugger.

  • DSF

    I appreciated Marchants guts and heart, his speed and elusiveness were world class as were his instincts.

    Todd is a historic example of Oilers mismanagment and lack of Intuitive Dynamic fabric.

    Marchant was never utilised properly here, back then we asked him to sacrifice his offensive focus for defense, and he willingly did so. He had the speed to rack up elite level stats on any NHL team because of his elite speed and the fact you can build around it,but he accepted a different role.

    I always felt he was terriby mismanaged, his speed was used for defenseive focus instead of pure offense and thats a tradgedy, the Oilers coaching staff refused to set up plays to support Todd instead they used him to push back defenses and catalysed the offense around other players, Marchant was a better zone entry specialist than Hemmer is today, and that means he was elite.And just like Hemmer Todd needed HUGE bodies coming in behind him to bury his rebounds, he was the most consistant zone entry specialist I believe the Oilers have ever had and he left more rebounds than anyone i remember playing here.Only a technically challenged coaching staff would fail to catalyse a lethal playaction off of that consistant zone entry and first shot ability. And the Oilers failed to do so, I watched it and felt the same way back then, they failed to optimise a world class talent.

    The Oilers coaching staff did a fine job of indoctrinating Todd into the defensive side of the game, but this was simply because they didnt have the skillset as coaches to help him evolve his offensive game , they couldnt ignore his elite NHL speed and realised the DYNAMIC impact he had on games useing it. The Oilers did what they do best they tightened up.And made Todd a defensive specialist which was the low risk low work organisational option, Todd had the potential to be a top ten scorer in the NHL had he been centered upon and supported properly, people yap about his stoney hands,ha ha ha, they dont realise how many times he kept the pedal down to gain the zone and surrendered his shot at scoring to back the defense in deep, he SACRIFICED for the team every night.

    Todd Marchants career was a resounding sucess so at the end of the day the Oilers get some credit developmentaly. Todd has earned every accolade he has ever recieved.

    Thanks for the reminder, as the years go by there are so many great players who contributed a great deal that we let some slip out of our focus, its always nice to be tapped on the shoulder so we can glance back and appreciate where we have been. Great piece, thanks a bunch.