Of course the Edmonton Oilers blew their brains out at the 1995 NHL Entry Draft when they took Steve Kelly instead of Shane Doan or Jarome Iginla with the sixth overall pick. Kelly played only 149 games in the NHL, just 27 of those with the Oilers, while Doan and Iginla are still playing today.
There was another pretty good option available at Northlands Coliseum that day, and his name was Radek Dvorak, a Czech forward who ended up going 10th overall, one pick ahead of Iginla, to the Florida Panthers. While Dvorak wasn’t in the class of Doan or Iginla, he’d play 1,260 NHL games, including 154 with the Oilers 2002-03 to 2005-06. Better late than never.
Radek Dvorak #18
|NUMBER:||18||BIRTHDATE:||March 9, 1977|
|HEIGHT:||6′ 2″||BIRTHPLACE:||Tabor, Czech Republic|
|WEIGHT:||195||DRAFTED:||FLA / 1995 NHL Entry Draft|
|SHOOTS:||Right||ROUND:||1st (10th overall)|
BY THE NUMBERS
CAREER REGULAR SEASON STATISTICS
|2004-05||HC CESKE BUDEJOVICE-CZREP-2||32||23||35||58||18|
CAREER PLAYOFF STATISTICS
|1994-95||HC CESKE BUDEJOVICE-CZREP||9||5||1||6|
|2004-05||HC CESKE BUDEJOVICE-CZREP-2||16||5||13||18||20|
Edmonton’s decision to take Kelly, a speedster from the Prince Albert Raiders, while the crowd was chanted for Doan, a hard-nosed forward with the Kamloops Blazers, or Iginla, also a member of the Blazers, rubs Oiler fans raw to this day. Dvorak would have been a decent consolation prize.
“This kid could well be one of the big, strong, powerful guys who could turn out to be one of the top two or three players available in the draft,” Bob McKenzie said when the Panthers picked Dvorak. You can see McKenzie’s draft day assessment of Dvorak here.
McKenzie was partially right. While Dvorak never turned into the power forward some thought he might – he was built like a coat rack and played with more finesse than muscle — or put up huge numbers, Iginla and Doan are the only players from the Class of 1995 who played more NHL games.
Dvorak was 25 by the time the Oilers acquired him and Cory Cross from the New York Rangers for Anson Carter and Ales Pisa in March of 2003. A silky smooth skater, Dvorak wasn’t far removed from the best offensive season of his career, 31-36-67 with the Rangers in 2000-01.
While Dvorak wouldn’t replicate those numbers again, his best season with the Oilers was 2003-04 when he finished second to Ryan Smyth in team scoring with 15-35-50, he was a solid penalty killer and top-six forward who had some success on a line with Raffi Torres and Mike York.
At the end of his run in Edmonton, 2005-06 when the Oilers went to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup against Carolina, Dvorak was limited to 64 games by injury and had been relegated to a secondary role. All told, Dvorak would tally 27-59-86 during his 154-game tenure here.
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.
- 86. Igor Kravchuk
- 87. Lubomir Visnovsky
- 88. Luke Richardson
- 89. Willy Lindstrom
- 90. Bryan Marchment
- 91. Miroslav Satan
- 92. David Perron
- 93. Igor Ulanov
- 94. Justin Schultz
- 95. Scott Mellanby
- 96. Norm McIver
- 97. Mark Lamb