I like to collect draft stories, and over the years the Oilers have had some funny ones. Here are a few you might find amusing.


  • Glen Sather: "Edmonton had a rivalry with Calgary for years and we never made any deals with them. I heard they were going to pick a Scottish player, Tony Hand, in the last pick of the draft, and I knew it because our scouts had been talking to their scouts. We ended up picking him one pick ahead of Calgary just to piss them off."

  • Fact: Sather was telling a story. Hand was in fact the last player selected in the 1986 NHL entry draft. Calgary didn’t have a pick after Hand was selected. Good story, though.


In 1979, the Oilers had the 21st overall selection (final pick in round 1) and their draft board was setting up pretty well. A player they had ranked #10 overall was still available, but the Atlanta Flames were offering #23 and another pick later in the draft for him.

Fraser and the Oilers kept the pick and selected Kevin Lowe.

That 21st overall selection–if dealt–could have gathered a very famous NHL player.



Scouting services were not convinced Ales Hemsky had the gumption to stand in against tough NHL defenders (and lord knows he was tested over the years). Redline Report said he had ‘no balls’ and The Hockey News scouting profile referenced it too.

  • THN: When scouts talk about Ales Hemsky, they mention Martin Havlat in the same breath for good reason. They’re both from the Czech Republic and are highly skilled wingers. Hemsky is a top notch puck carrier who can reach top speed in a few quick strides. He handles the puck with poise and confidence and is such a good stick handler he’s often double teamed. “He has great skills,” said a scout. “He is a typical European winger with good hands, good skills, great skater. Size is an issue but we all knocked Havlat a little too. He is very creative.” Hemsky has a quick and accurate shot. He had 100 regular season points and led Hull in playoff scoring with 5 points in 5 games. The knock on him, however, is that he is a soft player. “He could be a Martin Straka or a Havlat,” said a scout. “I’d take a flyer on him.”
  • Word to the Bird

    That hit on Hemsky may be tough to watch as an Olier fan… but boy oh boy!!!! did Hemsky ever turn Regehr inside out on a spectacular goal later on against Calgary/Kipper…lol.

    I gotta admit…as a longtime fan of him and the Oilers… that Hemsky has shown many highlight moments and he never backed down when flying into those corners…

    I am sorry his time here in Oil Country is apparently ending but Yakupov and Ebs are ahead now as the ones on RW. New Kids on the Block!!! Wish ya the best Hemmer if a trade works out…either this summer or by the season trade deadline…

  • D

    I really enjoy the intrigue around the 1979 draft LT.

    The WHA merger, the boycott of Molson, buyout of Cincinnati, Gretzky protected for the Oilers, the WHA teams selecting last – even though many of their players went back to their original NHL teams, the Oilers losing Gustafsson in the expansion draft, the four WHA teams folding as legal entities, and of course, the NHL draft age being reduced to 18, essentially doubling the pool.

    So glad the Oilers didn’t trade down on draft day in 1979.

  • Two things..

    1) Wow, what would the Oilers look like today had they never scooped up Kevin Lowe??? I don’t mean that in any preconceived way… I’m just saying he’s had such a huge impact on the team in the past and today in both a good and bad way, that things would be really different.

    2) Seeing those vids of Regehr kick the living sh– out of Hemsky really bring back bad memories. It also pisses me off that in most cases it went unanswered. I never want to see our stars get pushed around like that again. It is arguable whether a heavyweight on a team can prevent that. I actually am skeptical myself. But I will say that there is no doubt in my mind that you can be on the receiving side of this and play off your game, or you can be on the giving side of this and have your opponent off their game.

    We know the impact a guy like this can have. Regehr, Clutterbuck, etc. will always take runs at players. If you can’t beat them, join them. I think Mike Brown can play like that, and Hordichuk would have too (but god love him, he was a terrible hockey player. I think having Mike Brown in a limited 4th line role, running some guys now and then wouldn’t be bad. But it would be nice to have a regular in our lineup like Regehr to punish the crap out of the opposition and get them focusing on revenge more than the scoreboard.

    BTW, as much as I despise Robyn Regehr, I also respect those types of players. You can’t be afraid to be dirty in the NHL, and you can’t worry about some goon on the other bench. You just have to keep sticking to your game. He did it well, as a Flame.

    • I share your sentiments on having guys that can push back and make other teams accountable for running our stars.

      The problem is we have the smallest enforcer in the league and he scares no one, not even his sister…….I’m talking Brown of course.

      Imagine what kind of latitude our stars would get with a guy like Lucic, Neil, or Bickell protecting them. I for one do not accept the widely held notion that our enforcer must be a great hockey player………there have been many enforcers past and present, that simply afforded skilled player to play with confidence. To me that is more valuable than pure gold!

      • I used to be of that mindset too, but I think the game’s changed too much now. This debate is pretty tired now, so I’m not looking to get into it much again, but for the record, my stance now is that the big hulking goon is generally a sideshow. I don’t think having the biggest heavyweight really does much to protect our stars.

        When it’s guys like Clutterbuck and Torres and Dustin Brown doing the running around these days, having a big goon isn’t going to do squat, in my opinion. Those 3, and others, can play regular shifts, and a big goon would never see the ice against someone who can put up points too.

        Now you mentioned Lucic… of course he is a big exception to the rule, and this is the type that we need… however, as we know, they’re extremely hard to come by. We have a chance to land Clarkson or Horton (extremely doubtful.. I’d say like almost 0 chance we get him) in free agency. Those are types that could also help in this regard too. They aren’t Lucic level though, but they’d help.

        But I’m now completely sold that a “nuclear deterrent” is butt useless. They absolutely do have to play hockey because they just won’t get a shift against the leagues best agitators / hitters nowadays. Any big hitter / agitator worth his salt will not be intimidated by anyone. So long as the instigator rule exists, this will always be the case.

        As for Brown, no, I’m sure he’s not feared, but he still is useful in my opinion. The thing for a guy like him is you give him 5 minutes a night and you send him out to run anyone he plays against.. he can handle his own battles. There are better options out there for this though, of course.. but you get my point I’m sure. Teams do that to us all the time, we have to start doing it back.

    • Rocket

      Ken Linseman is all I have to say. One of my all-time favorite players. Top 5 Oilers ever.

      Players of the type we are discussing need the 100% support of managment to project that persona on the ice. Yes anyone can be nasty, but some are better at it than others, naturals if you will. By support I mean that if they break a stick over someones ankle they dont get benched for doing it or punished for doing it, the team must absorb the penaltys and repercussions. The nasty needs to be focused and a dynamic part of the playaction or a head hunt with intent, no halfhearted retaliatory penaltys.

      This is a team planning issue more than anything else, and the loud statement that this team WILL COMPETE, translates into keep your head up for 60 mins and is a big step in the right direction. We do not forgive – we do not forget – we are coming.

      Elite players can project nasty and violence better than anyone else if they pick their spots. Raffi Torres comes to mind, and Hall is developing the ability to project violence at perfect times and catch guys off guard, unpredictable violence, the right kind to weild.

      I would take Torres back .

      I always wondered why Hemmer himself didnt carve a few guys up over the years, he has a stick, he should have taken one or two guys out early in his career. Maybe Blasted the Boogeymans knee out after the second season of abuse.No disrespect to the late and well remembered Boogeyman.

      Keep your eye on Hall , once he realised guys were actually trying to hurt him after his Rookie year he decided to get serious and now has a reputation of biting back nasty and dirty if you get in his grille to much, ask Clutterbuck, Taylor will hit FIRST if you take a line or a bead on him. This is what we have been missing in the nasty department, the “hit first” and “hit dirty” mentality.

      If the coaches support the players actions on the ice and the players are confident they will not lose career opportunitys then we will see a nasty tough team. Everyone needs a greenlight and the edge must be managed via the system intent in a positive manner or team toughness doesnt translate.

  • TwoSkidoos

    Regehr always was and always will be a dirty player. Some of those clips (played over and over again) are dirty. Driving a guys head into the boards is really cool…..

    There was intent to injure on many of those plays as many of them are either after a pass and several steam boats or before Hemsky’s even touched a puck.

    Regehr = douche

    I’m all for tough hockey, but that’s not tough, that’s dirty.

    • PutzStew

      I’ve always been curious as to why Hemsky wasn’t smart enough to avoid those hits. It’s not Reggies fault that Hemsky keeps putting himself in those situations. Reggies has to of loved the fact that he knew Hemsky would do it. Like shooting fish in a barrel.

  • PutzStew

    By far one of the best things I have read from you in a while (ALthough Klima the other day was really good too)….until you got to Hemsky.

    Sick of hearing about about him, Horcoff and Smyth. Time to move on and forget.

  • PutzStew

    I loved the way that Hemsky went into the corners with the puck with no fear. One issue, that’s where he lost it. He has the balls to go there, just not the physicality. More size on the wing and down the centre, but that is what we have been asking for years. I would like to request that fans posting be more original and please stop saying Bickel. No one thought of him before one of our local media throw his name out, and now thats all anyone can say. I like Sean Courtier. May cost more, but he’s big, a centre, and has played for a team that plays a hard physical style in Philly. Just a thought.

    • 106 and 106

      Couturier has also been mentioned repeatedly as a trade target – not necessarily the most original target (throw out a Weber though… no don’t – kidding! Kidding!!!!). And Bickel is having a great run – might be a Pisani type post-season but he will get paid. Let’s hope it’s not the Oil that pay him.

  • BigM

    Say what you want about Hemsky, but if you say he is soft you are freaking high off your a$$. I was thinking about it, but I will not retire my login name out of respect for the player who has the worst case of dangilitis I have ever observed…

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Weebles (Hemsky) wabbled, and he did fall down.

    What would’ve Hemsky’s career been like if he had crushed Regehrs larynx with that cross check to the throat. Might have earned him some space, instead of all that capital punishment.

    Dish it out first, and answer for your actions later. Pretty good 5 gm investment i’d have to think.

    • Rocket

      Totally. While I don’t condone larynx crushing, players need to send a message so opponents don’t take liberties with them. Eberle right now is getting the Hemsky treatment & nothing seems to be done about it. Hope his shoulders hold up.

      • Rocket

        In today’s NHL where the standings are so tight having one of your top skill players sit for five games is not worth it. For a 3rd or 4th line plug, though, it is definitely fine to take a suspension protecting the skill guys. The Oilers do not need a nuclear deterrent, just three forwards and a d-man or two willing to make the other team pay for taking liberties with the skill players. Better yet, take an eye for an eye approach and run the opponents skill player in retaliation. That will settle things down fast.

        For years Hemsky was the only target on the team and noone ever stepped up, even the supposed “tougher players” on the team. You see the same thing happening now, which is why I was glad to see Hall take the run at Clutterbuck. Too bad he was not a couple inches to the left with his elbow up instead……..

        • Rocket

          You make some good points. I’m probably just overreacting. I guess I just wish The Oilers were tougher overall. Two or three Dustin Browns would help. Getting them might not be so easy though.

          BTW, I’m not a season ticket holder (I wish I was) but I try to make it to a few games a year if I can. I was at that game when Hall hit Clutterbuck.
          I stood up and cheered. Could not have happened to a nicer guy.

  • BigM

    In my house I’ve taught my kids to spit whenever the name Gary Unger is brought up and I now see the genesis of my anger. Sather may not have acquired that bum during the draft but he picked him up the next year (because Slats was sooooo smart).

    You see, Unger was the moron who took a 5 minute major against the Kings in the 3rd period of game 4 of the first round of the 81/82 playoffs setting the stage for the infamous “Miracle on Manchester”. You can look it up but trust me as a lifelong Oiler fan – that penalty derailed the cup run by 2 years.

    You see…..a true Oiler supporter NEVER forgets.

  • The Soup Fascist

    I would agree with the old “you have to make some room for yourself out there” theory. There are plenty of guys who did that. Problem is it kind of has to be preprogrammed in you to do it. A young Mike Comrie always played against bigger guys and a couple of times a year would stick a guy or whack the top of his skate laces with an axe swing and take five and a game – saw it in Jr. A fairly regularly. But that was who he was. That was second nature to his game.

    It is incredibly tough to manufacure “the dirties”. If you do not have that edge in your personality it is not typically something you premeditate. How many times did Gretzky take the law into his own hands? Rarely. Not because he had Sammy on the bench, but it was simply because he was not predisposed to react to that. Messier had Sammy on the bench too, but his first reaction was to even the score. Doesn’t mean Gretzky was soft. He just was not wired that way. Same with Hemsky.

    My point is if it is not in your nature to want to “crush a guys larynx” it is virtually impossible to will yourself to do it. Again, I agree guys like Hemsky may have benefitted from doing something like that, but it simply isn’t part of who they are. Having a conscience is a blessing …… And a curse.

  • Rocket

    You’re right. It would have been nice to see Hemmer protect himself with his stick.

    Chris Chelios was a smaller D-man but his career was very long and fruitful because he was nasty with the stick. Puck carriers would get a whack. And guys going to hit him might get a cross check to the chicklets. Hard to concentrate on hockey when you’re paranoid about what Chris Chelios was going to do.

  • The Soup Fascist

    Hope in the future Oilers defend their star players better than they did Hemsky, could have 700 NHL points already if this team backed each other a little..Hall and Nuge already have re-injured their shoulders in the NHL, you’d think the Hemsky injuries would be a warning but nope..lets get more O’Sullivans and Nilsson’s to dangle and coke machines who cant skate a damn to try to protect the kids..
    Hope MacT addresses this concern in the summer, if not we will soon have five injured Ales Hemsky’s on this team.

  • Jprime

    The number of times Regehr played/touched the puck in that video was a -10. Based on that video, I’m positive he doesn’t know how to stick handle a puck if was ever required to do so.