TOP 100 OILERS: MARK LAMB (97)


Based on talent and physical tools, Mark Lamb had no business being in the NHL, let alone on this list, but he was a stubborn little player who refused to take “no” for an answer. Lamb parlayed those traits into a career in the NHL that spanned 403 games, including 176 games and a Stanley Cup with the Edmonton Oilers in 1990.

Unlike a couple of far more talented players who occupy lower slots on this list of top 100 Oilers – Pat Price and Dean McAmmond – Lamb found a way to extract everything possible from limited gifts. He wasn’t big. He wasn’t fast. Simply put, Lamb, who grew up as a cowboy and bull rider, made it to the NHL because he was tenacious as hell.

MarkLamb

Mark Lamb #7

Center

NUMBER:  7 BIRTHDATE: August 3, 1964
HEIGHT: 5′ 9″  BIRTHPLACE:  Ponteix, SK, Canada
WEIGHT: 180 DRAFTED: CGY / 1982 NHL Entry Draft
SHOOTS: Left ROUND: 4th   (72nd overall)

BY THE NUMBERS

SEASON TEAM GP G A P +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG S S%
1985-86 FLAMES 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.0
1985-86 MONCTON GOLDEN FLAMES-AHL 79 26 50 76 51
1986-87 RED WINGS 22 2 1 3 0 8 0 0 0 8 25.0
1986-87 ADIRONDACK RED WINGS-AHL 49 14 36 50 45
1987-88 OILERS 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.0
1987-88 NOVA SCOTIA OILERS-AHL 69 27 61 88 45
1988-89 OILERS 20 2 8 10 4 14 1 0 0 20 10.0
1988-89 CAPE BRETON OILERS-AHL 54 33 49 82 29
1989-90 OILERS 58 12 16 28 10 42 2 0 2 81 14.8
1990-91 OILERS 37 4 8 12 -2 25 1 0 1 41 9.8
1991-92 OILERS 59 6 22 28 4 46 2 0 1 61 9.8
1992-93 SENATORS 71 7 19 26 -40 64 1 0 0 123 5.7
1993-94 SENATORS 66 11 18 29 -41 56 4 1 1 105 10.5
1993-94 FLYERS 19 1 6 7 -3 16 0 0 1 19 5.3
1994-95 FLYERS 8 0 2 2 1 2 0 0 0 7 0.0
1994-95 CANADIENS 39 1 0 1 -13 18 0 0 0 23 4.4
1995-96 CANADIENS 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.0
1995-96 HOUSTON AEROS-IHL 67 17 60 77 65
1996-97 HOUSTON AEROS-IHL 81 25 53 78 83
1997-98 EV LANDSHUT-GERMANY 46 7 21 28 36
1998-99 HOUSTON AEROS-IHL 79 21 49 70 10 72 2 2 4 194 10.8
1999-00 HOUSTON AEROS-IHL 79 15 46 61 17 58 5 2 4 181 8.3
NHL TOTALS 403  46  100  146  -80  291 11 1 6 488  9.4

CAREER PLAYOFFS STATISTICS

SEASON TEAM GP G A P +/- PIM  PPG  SHG  GWG  S S%
1986-1987 RED WINGS 11 0 0 0 11 0 0 0
1987-1988 NOVA SCOTIA OILERS-AHL 5 0 5 5 6
1988-1989 OILERS 6 0 2 2 1 8 0 0 0 8 0.0
1989-1990 OILERS 22 6 11 17 12 2 1 0 2 34 17.6
1990-1991 OILERS 15 0 5 5 -4 20 0 0 0 14 0.0
1991-1992 OILERS 16 1 1 2 -5 10 0 0 0 13 7.7
1996-1997 HOUSTON AEROS-IHL 13 3 12 15 10
1997-1998 EV LANDSHUT-GERMANY 6 3 1 4 8
1998-1999 HOUSTON AEROS-IHL 19 1 10 11 12 0 0 0
1999-2000 HOUSTON AEROS-IHL 11 2 7 9 6 1 0 0
NHL TOTALS 70 7 19  26  4 51 1 0 2 69 

NOTABLE

MarkLamb

Lamb, drafted 72nd overall by Calgary in 1982, broke the 100-point barrier three times as a junior, including a career-high 136 points with Medicine Hat as a 19-year-old in 1983-84. To put that in context, that total left him tied for seventh in WHL scoring with Cliff Ronning. Ray Ferraro of Brandon led with 192 points. Dale Derkatch, who never played a single NHL game, was third with 159 points (he had 179 the season before).

So, while Lamb had numbers as a junior, he knew that wouldn’t be his ticket to the NHL. After two years in Calgary’s organization, playing just one game with the Flames, he signed as a free agent with the Detroit Red Wings, getting into 22 games. When Detroit waived him, the Oilers, looking for organizational depth at centre, snapped him up before the 1987-88 season.

Lamb played just 22 games with the Oilers in his first two seasons, spending most of his time in the minors. When he did play in Edmonton, Glen Sather employed him as a fourth-line checker and penalty killer. Lamb had Wayne Gretzky, Mark Messier, Craig MacTavish and Dave Hannan ahead of him on the depth chart in 1987-88.

THE STORY

MarkLamb

With Gretzky a year gone and John Muckler taking over as coach, Lamb had a bigger role in 1989-90. Even then he had just 28 points – Kevin Lowe and Steve Smith outscored him. Then came the Oilers’ playoff run, when Lamb often found himself playing with Jari Kurri and Esa Tikkanen.

Lamb scored the game-winner in overtime in Game 2 of the first round against the Winnipeg Jets and also got the game-winner in Game 7. By the time the Oilers hoisted their fifth Stanley Cup after dispatching the Boston Bruins in six games, Lamb had 17 points (6-11-17), leaving him behind only Craig Simpson, Messier, Kurri, Tikkanen and Glenn Anderson.

Lamb never was anywhere near the best player on the Oiler teams he toiled with, but he was at his very best in a career built on dogged determination in the 1990 playoffs, when the Oilers needed him most.

This series will look at the top 100 Edmonton Oilers from the NHL era 1979-80 to 2014-15, starting with 100 and working up. 

Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TSN 1260.

  • camdog

    Loved Mark Lamb!

    If the current Oilers went into the Stanley Cup Playoffs with a Mark Lamb on the second line, and three young stud kids on the third line people in here would have been freaking, but sometimes hockey chemistry works in funny ways. The Oilers won a many Stanley Cups by spreading the skill throughout the line up, rather than loading up the first 2 lines.

    • Good observation. Pretty sure they said it’s going to take 24 months (Right RB?)…..i suspect by then McDavid could carve his way on to the list……hell, he’s probably already better than Mark Lamb…..

      I wonder if a spot was left open for him?

  • Another great article, RB.

    Is there a running list of the top 100 somewhere? If not, maybe at the bottom of each article you could have the list from 100 and working down……just an idea, to give us old fans with poor memories a reminder for who Mark Lamb et al are ahead of on the list….

  • Leef O'Golin

    I remember seeing Mark Lamb play pool at Billy Ranford’s bar. He was shorter than me, but built like fire hydrant. I was definitely a fan of how he played, but a little too frightened to approach him. That guy exuded toughness.

  • DoubleDIon

    Mark Lamb better than Dean McAmmond? I don’t think so. The guy was barely an NHLer. Terrible hockey player, really one of only a couple of bad players on the team from that era. He had one good playoff run and was a replacement level player for the rest of his career.

  • I was at game 2 when Lamb scored in OT against the Jets in ’90. I think my ticket was 30 bucks.

    What a playoff Lamb had that year. He had the John Druce-like Cinderella run. Unfortunately Lamb didn’t get a 10 million buck contract off that like Pisani did.

    As a matter of fact, If my memory serves me correctly, Lamb and Dave Brown made barely over 100 grand. I remember Martin Gelinas was a rookie and was making 90 grand.

    More sensible times. The money now is disgusting.