RE-LIVE THE EDMONTON OILERS 1998-99 SEASON

StayOilersStay

The Edmonton Oilers would make the playoffs for the third straight season in 1998-99, but that seemed like a sidebar after an off-season of drama and upheaval that saw the team change hands as the Edmonton Investors Group took over ownership of the team from Peter Pocklington.

With a March 13, 1998 deadline set by the Alberta Treasury Branch, which had taken over the Oilers in receivership from Pocklington, and a real threat that the team would be purchased by Texas businessman Les Alexander and moved to Houston, Cal Nichols and the EIG, a consortium of 38 Alberta business people, stepped up and purchased the Oilers for $100 million Cdn.

RECORD: 33-37-12 78 pts 2nd in Northwest Division

GD 230-226 plus-4 SH% 9.6 SV% .900

NOTABLE TRANSACTIONS

1999-03-23

Kevin Brown traded to NY Rangers for Vladimir Vorobiev.

1999-03-23

Jason Smith traded by Toronto for 4th round pick in 1999 (Jonathan Zion) and 2nd round pick in 2000 (Kris Vernarsky).

1999-03-20

Daniel Cleary traded by Chicago with Chad KilgerChristian Laflamme, and Ethan Moreau for Jonas Elofsson, Dean McAmmond, and Boris Mironov.

1999-03-20

Tommy Salo traded by NY Islanders for Mats Lindgren and 8th round pick in 1999 (Radek Martinek).

1999-03-11

Mikhail Shtalenkov traded to Phoenix for 5th round pick in 2000 (Matt Koalska (Nashville)).

1999-02-03

Barrie Moore traded to Washington for Brad Church.

1999-01-29

Andrei Kovalenko traded to Philadelphia for Alexandre Daigle (traded to Tampa Bay for Alexander Selivanov).

1999-01-11

Petr Klima signed as free agent by Detroit.

1999-01-06

Fred Brathwaite signed as free agent by Calgary.

1998-10-05

Dennis Bonvie claimed on waivers by Chicago.

1998-10-05

Zdeno Ciger claimed on waivers by Nashville.

1998-10-05

Daniel Lacroix traded by Philadelphia for Valeri Zelepukin.

1998-10-01

Drake Berehowsky traded to Nashville with Greg de Vries and Eric Fichaud for Jim Dowd and Mikhail Shtalenkov.

1998-10-01

Marty McSorley signed as free agent (formerly with San Jose).

1998-09-17

Todd Reirden signed as free agent (formerly with New Jersey).

1998-08-21

Pat Falloon signed as free agent (formerly with Ottawa).

1998-08-18

Jesse Belanger signed as free agent by Tampa Bay.

1998-08-14

Kevin Brown signed as free agent (formerly with Carolina).

1998-08-13

Chris Ferraro signed as free agent (formerly with Pittsburgh).

1998-07-15

Curtis Joseph signed as free agent by Toronto.

1998-07-14

Terran Sandwith signed as free agent by Anaheim.

1998-07-02

Scott Fraser signed as free agent by NY Rangers.

1998-06-27

Alex Henry drafted 67th overall.

1998-06-27

Shawn Horcoff drafted 99th overall.

1998-06-27

Fredrik Lindquist traded by New Jersey with 4th (Kristian Antila) and 5th (Oleg Smirnov) round picks in 1998 for 3rd round pick in 1998 (Brian Gionta).

1998-06-27

Mike Morrison drafted 186th overall.

1998-06-26

Doug Friedman claimed by Nashville in expansion draft.

1998-06-18

Mike Watt traded to NY Islanders for Eric Fichaud.

1998-06-16

Josef Beranek traded by Pittsburgh for Bobby Dollas and Tony Hrkac.

LEADING SCORERS

Rk

Player

Pos

GP

G

A

PTS

+/-

PIM

S

S%

TOI

ATOI

1

Bill Guerin

RW

80

30

34

64

7

133

261

11.5

1576

19:42

2

Josef Beranek

LW

66

19

30

49

6

23

160

11.9

1084

16:25

3

Mike Grier

RW

82

20

24

44

5

54

143

14.0

1308

15:57

4

Pat Falloon

RW

82

17

23

40

-4

20

152

11.2

1205

14:42

5

Boris Mironov

D

63

11

29

40

6

104

138

8.0

1633

25:55

6

Rem Murray

LW

78

21

18

39

4

20

116

18.1

1235

15:50

7

Doug Weight

C

43

6

31

37

-8

12

79

7.6

854

19:51

8

Todd Marchant

C

82

14

22

36

3

65

183

7.7

1376

16:47

9

Roman Hamrlik

D

75

8

24

32

9

70

172

4.7

1786

23:49

10

Ryan Smyth

LW

71

13

18

31

0

62

161

8.1

1025

14:26

Goalies:

Rk

Player

GP

W

L

GA

SA

SV

SV%

GAA

SO

MIN

1

Bob Essensa

39

12

14

96

974

878

.901

2.75

0

2091

2

Mikhail Shtalenkov

34

12

17

81

782

701

.896

2.67

3

1819

3

Tommy Salo

13

8

2

27

279

252

.903

2.31

0

700

4

Steve Passmore

6

1

4

17

183

166

.907

2.82

0

362

SEASON RECAP

With Nichols and the EIG riding to the rescue and the sale approved by the NHL, the Oilers would stay in Edmonton – although not all of the players would. The notable absentee when the season began was goaltender Curtis Joseph, who’d been the driving force in returning the team to the playoffs in the two previous seasons. Joseph signed with the Toronto Maple Leafs as a free agent.

By March, the Oilers were 25-33-10. That’s when GM Glen Sather, working with a budget set out by the EIG, got busy and made three significant trades. Sather sent Mats Lindgren and a draft pick to the New York Islanders for Tommy Salo. He traded fan favorite Boris Mironov and Dean McAmmond to the Chicago Blackhawks for Ethan Moreau, Chad Kilger and Christian Laflamme. Sather’s best work came when he acquired future captain Jason Smith from Toronto for peanuts – a fourth-round draft pick.

The Oilers would go 8-4-2 the rest of the way as Salo took over the crease from Bob Essensa and Mikhail Shtalenkov (he went 8-2-2 during that stretch). The good news was the late charge was enough to get the Oilers into the playoffs with 78 points. The bad news was they’d face the Dallas Stars, who’d finished with 36 more points, for the third straight post-season.

LOOKING BACK

The Stars weren’t in the mood to entertain any possibility of a repeat of the 1997 post-season upset they’d suffered at the hands of the Oilers, and they stifled Edmonton’s attack in sweeping the series. Salo would go the distance in goal, but he got little help – the Oilers scored just seven goals in dropping four, one-goal decisions.

More change was coming. The sweep against Dallas would be coach Ron Low’s swan song behind the bench after five seasons. With assistant coach Kevin Lowe waiting in the wings, Low received a low-ball contract offer he’d turn down. Lowe would take over as head coach the following season.

The 1998-99 campaign, then, was a year in which what happened on the ice was overshadowed by what happened off it as the Pocklington era ended, the EIG era began and the five Stanley Cup parades the Oilers had enjoyed were nothing more than a distant dot on the horizon in the rear-view mirror. 


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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