TOP 100 OILERS: MIKE YORK (80)

YorkHelmet

If you were to name the best Edmonton Oilers of all time who didn’t crack six feet on a tape measure, Mike York would more than likely find a spot in the top-10 of most fans. I can’t come up with a whole lot of little guys who were more effective than York was at getting things done as a member of the Oilers, despite being physically overmatched.

York was generously listed at five-foot-10 and 185 pounds — height aside, he was not blessed with a physique that made anybody think “athlete.” That said, York was a handy forward for any coach to have around. He could score some and play in your top six. He could kill penalties. He could play centre or on the wing. York provided all that for coach Craig MacTavish in 144 games with the Oilers.

MIKE YORK #16

NUMBER:

16

BIRTHDATE:

January 3, 1978

HEIGHT:

5′ 10″

BIRTHPLACE:

Waterford, MI, United States

WEIGHT:

185

DRAFTED:

NYR / 1997 NHL Entry Draft

SHOOTS:

Right

ROUND:

6th   (136th overall)

BY THE NUMBERS

CAREER REGULAR SEASON STATISTICS

SEASON

TEAM

GP

G

A

P

+/-

PIM

S

S%

1999-00

RANGERS

82

26

24

50

-17

18

177

14.7

2000-01

RANGERS

79

14

17

31

1

20

171

8.2

2001-02

RANGERS

69

18

39

57

8

16

188

9.6

2001-02

OILERS

12

2

2

4

-1

0

30

6.7

2001-02

UNITED STATES-OLYMPICS

6

0

1

1

0

2002-03

OILERS

71

22

29

51

-8

10

177

12.4

2003-04

OILERS

61

16

26

42

18

15

144

11.1

2004-05

ISERLOHN ROOSTERS-GERMANY

52

16

46

62

77

2004-05

UNITED STATES-WC-A

7

0

1

1

0

2005-06

ISLANDERS

75

13

39

52

-9

30

146

8.9

2006-07

ISLANDERS

32

6

7

13

-9

14

46

13.0

2006-07

FLYERS

34

4

4

8

-9

8

41

9.8

2007-08

COYOTES

63

6

8

14

-8

4

85

7.1

2008-09

BLUE JACKETS

1

0

0

0

0

0

1

0.0

NHL TOTALS

579

127

195

322

-34

135

1,206

10.5

CAREER PLAYOF STATISTICS

SEASON

TEAM

G

A

P

+/-

PIM

S

S%

2002-2003

OILERS

6

0

2

2

2

2

4

0.0

NHL TOTALS

6

0

2

2

2

2

4

0.0

NOTABLE

York had something of an in with Oiler fans even before he arrived in Edmonton from the New York Rangers because he was swapped for Tom Poti, who’d fallen out of favour with fans in a big way, and Rem Murray in March 2002. People wanted Poti gone. To get York in return was a bonus.

That aside, I thought York was a terrific acquisition. A grad of the Michigan State Spartans, York earned a spot on the 1999-2000 NHL All-Rookie team after scoring 26 goals with the Rangers. He’d spent time playing on the FLY Line with Eric Lindros and Theoren Fleury. You don’t get that spot on the marquee on Broadway without having some game.

York was equally comfortable playing even strength alongside Mike Comrie, manning the power play or killing penalties with Todd Marchant, and he was effective in all three roles. In 2002-03, York scored 22 goals with the Oilers – 13 at even strength, seven on the PP and two shorthanded.

THE STORY

The 22 goals (in just 71 games) represented York’s second-best single-season total after the 26 in New York, and he’d never hit the 20-goal mark again the NHL. Nagged by a wrist injury, York would score 16 goals in 61 games for the Oilers in an up-and-down 2003-04 campaign.

The one thing GM Kevin Lowe didn’t have enough of up front was players who combined skill and grit. York, who did his best work darting in and out of open ice, wasn’t the answer. Lowe got what he was looking for in the summer of 2005, trading York and a draft pick for Michael Peca.

Peca, a two-time Selke Trophy winner, produced points like York did (not in Edmonton but over the course of his career), killed penalties and brought more sandpaper, contributing to Edmonton’s 2006 Cup run. York, who had 40-57-97 in his 144 games as an Oiler when traded, later made stops with the Islanders, Philadelphia, Phoenix and Columbus, but never really played more than a utility role after his first season on Long Island.

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.

PREVIOUSLY:

  • Mike Krushelnyski

    York spent the 2010-11 season here in Lahti, Finland with Pelicans. He arrived with high expectations because we really hadn’t had a player of his calibre for ages.

    But quickly it was realised that he really didn’t have any wheels left. He really just couldn’t keep up with the pace and recorded just 27 points in 52 games. He did sort of redeem himself when he led the team in scoring on the relegation playoffs. After that season he’s put up decent numbers in the German Elite League.

    He seemed like a true professional but sadly with one knee he was a shadow of his former self.

  • .

    No disrespect to Mike York, but if one were to put together a top ten list of players who didn’t crack six feet on a tape measure, I might consider some of these options:

    5’10” and under: Norm Ullman, B.J. MacDonald, Risto Stiltanen (5’7″), Grant Fuhr, Andy Moog (5’9″), Reijo Ruotsalainen (5’8″), Mark Napier

    5’11”: Paul Shmyr, Glenn Anderson, Curtis Joseph, Doug Weight, Adam Oates, Ken Linseman, Dave Lumley, Dave Hunter, Bill Ranford, Ron Chipperfield, Laurie Boschman, Jaroslav Pouzar, Mike Peca, etc.

    #allstatsmatter

  • Jay (not J)

    Not tall Oilers.

    I’m still steamed over Ray Whitney. He was one of their best offensive players in preseason and Ron Low just wouldn’t play him, which I suppose forced Sather to trade him.

      • I went to a preseason game that year. I think it was vs Toronto. It seems to me the Oilers were offensively challenged and that game, he maybe didn’t score but he was the only Oiler with Grade A scoring chances.

        Throw in him and his family’s history with the team, I was frustrated he wasn’t getting playing time and disappointed when he left. But I’ll give you that I didn’t think he’d turn out as well as he did.

  • Jay (not J)

    I expected a little more from York when he came over….

    But Oilers got something for a guy (Poti) who was clearly done with the organization…

    Oilers have done worse on trades… Janne Niinimaa for Isbister and Torres, Torres for Brule, Satan for two dmen who played a combined 2 games in NHL.

  • Maggie the Monkey

    I’m looking forward to the entry in this series about Mike Comrie. The story about his second time around with the Oilers is second only to Smyth’s, as far as I can recall.