TOP 100 OILERS: JIMMY CARSON (78)

JimmyCarson

Jimmy Carson’s biggest shortcoming during his brief time with the Edmonton Oilers wasn’t that he didn’t produce. He did, amassing 50 goals and 103 points in just 84 games. Carson’s failing was that he wasn’t Wayne Gretzky and, really, what was he supposed to do about that?

As the most significant player coming to Edmonton from the Los Angeles Kings in the trade that saw the Great One sold to Tinseltown Aug. 9, 1988, Carson, an unquestionably talented young man, had zero chance of getting over with a still stunned and angry Oiler fan base. He didn’t.

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JIMMY CARSON #12

NUMBER:

12

BIRTHDATE:

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July 20, 1968

HEIGHT:

6′ 1″

BIRTHPLACE:

Southfield, MI, United States

WEIGHT:

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200

DRAFTED:

LAK / 1986 NHL Entry Draft

SHOOTS:

Right 

ROUND:

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1st (2nd overall)

BY THE NUMBERS

SEASON

TEAM

GP

G

A

P

+/-

PIM

S

S%

1986-87

KINGS

80

37

42

79

-5

22

215

17.2

1987-88

KINGS

80

55

52

107

-19

45

264

20.8

1988-89

OILERS

80

49

51

100

3

36

240

20.4

1989-90

OILERS

4

1

2

3

-2

0

11

9.1

1989-90

RED WINGS

44

20

16

36

-6

8

127

15.8

1990-91

RED WINGS

64

21

25

46

3

28

175

12.0

1991-92

RED WINGS

80

34

35

69

17

30

150

22.7

1992-93

RED WINGS

52

25

26

51

0

18

108

23.2

1992-93

KINGS

34

12

10

22

-2

14

81

14.8

1993-94

KINGS

25

4

7

11

-2

2

47

8.5

1993-94

CANUCKS

34

7

10

17

-13

22

82

8.5

1994-95

WHALERS

38

9

10

19

5

29

58

15.5

1995-96

WHALERS

11

1

0

1

1

0

9

11.1

NHL TOTALS

626

275

286

561

-20

254

1,567

17.5

CAREER PLAYOFF NUMBERS

SEASON

TEAM

GP

G

A

P

+/-

PIM

S

S%

1986-87

KINGS

5

1

2

3

6

1987-88

KINGS

5

5

3

8

-2

4

16

31.2

1988-89

OILERS

7

2

1

3

0

6

15

13.3

1990-91

RED WINGS

7

2

1

3

-2

4

6

33.3

1991-92

RED WINGS

11

2

3

5

0

0

20

10.0

1992-93

KINGS

18

5

4

9

1

2

30

16.7

1993-94

CANUCKS

2

0

1

1

1

0

2

0.0

NHL TOTALS

55

17

15

32

-2

22

89


NOTABLE

Carson, acquired with Marty Gelinas and draft picks in the Gretzky deal, was coming off seasons of 37 and 55 goals In L.A. – giving him more goals, 92, than any other teenager in NHL history, including No. 99. Carson is, to this day, the second-youngest player to reach 100 goals, after Gretzky.

Under any other circumstances, Carson’s numbers in his first season with the Oilers, 49-51-100 in 80 games, would be cause for high-fives. Of course, these weren’t other circumstances. Gretzky, along with Mike Krushelnyski and Marty McSorley, was in L.A. where he had 168 points and, just to rub it in, led the Kings past the Oilers in the first round of the 1989 playoffs.

Four games into the 1989-90 season, Carson asked for a trade. His take at the time after he was dealt to the Detroit Red Wings Nov. 2, 1989: “The end analysis was, I was not Wayne Gretzky.” Los Angeles owner Bruce McNall, who made the Gretzky deal with Peter Pocklington, didn’t seem surprised years later that Carson was out of hockey completely by age 28.

“In a weird way, I knew Jimmy’s heart was not as much into it,” McNall told the L.A. Times. “He was an intellectual, multidimensional guy, read the Wall Street Journal, and so many other players just don’t have his opportunities and interests. So I always thought, deep down, that maybe long-term hockey wouldn’t be for him.”

THE STORY

If there’s a silver lining to Carson’s brief, unhappy stint in Edmonton, it’s that his trade to Detroit (with Kevin McClelland) brought Petr Klima, Joe Murphy and Adam Graves the other way. Klima, Murphy and Graves played significant roles when the Oilers claimed their fifth Stanley Cup in 1990.

If we’re talking about talent alone, Carson probably had more of it than half the players in the top-20 of this list of Top 100 Oilers. It wasn’t just about that, of course, and while the Oilers have yet to sip from the Cup since 1990, Carson long ago slipped into private life out of the NHL spotlight. He’s a financial advisor in Michigan.

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.

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    • Rob...

      I wan’t to say something caustic but funny, but find that my heart is no longer in it. To heck with them all. They’re so bad that they’re starting to tarnish even the Oilers past greatness.

      • I agree, it is the apathy that the team has! They do not care!! Out of playoffs yet again = stop even trying!! I say boycott the games!! Please fans send our so called players a message!! Do not go to the hockey games untill they start working hard!!

        • Rob...

          I’ll watch to see what Connor does. That’s it. I can’t take anymore Hall passing the puck to the opposition while not under pressure, watching Schultz pinching at the absolute wrong time, watching Fayne or Sekara miss the net with a slapshot, watching Yak circle the offensive zone with the puck for 15 seconds completely oblivious to the open man he could have passed to for a good scoring opportunity, watching our entire defensive core fail to get the puck out of their zone because they refuse to look up and see where the seam is.

          Jimmy Carson represents a hated time in Oiler’s history, but at least he lead to something good when he was traded (as pointed out by Robin). Lets hope the next 5 months leads to some trades that get us more than we give up and end this misery.

      • Morgo_82

        Never mind just this season, how about the last decade.
        I want to either drink excessively or slam my head against a wall until I forget the whole thing, whichever is quicker.

        • MrBung

          For sure…but this season…this was supposed to be different…New management from outside the old boys club, proven/experienced/respected coach, Connor McDavid…but alas…the more things change, the more they stay the same.

  • Gerald R. Ford

    Ah, the good old days. When lazy, soft, entitled high-round picks with zero heart and desire could actually at least produce.

    *wipes tear from eye*

  • ubermiguel

    I never really clued into to how young Carson was when he was here and when he left hockey. I’m far more forgiving of his asking for a trade now. He’s also an interesting example of talent being greater than the desire to play. For the opposite situation see: Smyth, Ryan.

  • Jay (not J)

    Carson’s problem was that he didn’t endear himself to his teammates. He was aloof off the ice. On the ice, he only liked to play at one end. He felt back checking and going into corners was someone elses job

    He made some not-so-nice comments about the Oilers and the city of Edmonton after being traded to Detroit.

  • .

    How to win a bet with a Flames fan . . .

    The Bet: bet you can’t name the player traded for three players who’ve won the Cup with the Oilers and all had their NHL jersey retired.

    Answer: Jimmy Carson. Traded from LA to Edmonton for Gretzky (jersey retired by the league), traded to Detroit for Adam Graves (jersey retired by the Rangers), and later traded from Detroit to LA for Paul Coffey (jersey retired by Edmonton).

    Also Carson’s most likely the only player traded for two HOFers.