TOP 100 OILERS: ETHAN MOREAU (54)

Moreau

If you hang around a team like the Edmonton Oilers for years and years, you come across a handful of guys who play the game with so much heart – you can call it competitiveness or desire – that it’s difficult not to admire their tenacity and sheer will to succeed.

Like Kelly Buchberger, Igor Ulanov, Ryan Smyth and Jason Smith on the Oiler teams I covered, Ethan Moreau was one of those guys willing to pay a physical price every night. With players like that, the hands or the legs go and the rest of body usually breaks down long before the heart does. At the end, the spirit is willing, but the body is not. You have to rip the jersey off their back. Moreau was a charter member of that fraternity.

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Ethan Moreau

Left Wing — shoots L

Born Sep 22 1975 — Huntsville, ONT  

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Height 6.02 — Weight 220 [188 cm/100 kg]

Drafted by Chicago Blackhawks


Round 1 #14 overall 1994 NHL Entry Draft

BY THE NUMBERS

Season

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Age

Tm

GP

G

A

PTS

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+/-

PIM

S%

ATOI

1995-96

20

CHI

8

0

1

1

1

4

0.0

1996-97

21

CHI

82

15

16

31

13

123

13.2

1997-98

22

CHI

54

9

9

18

0

73

10.3

1998-99

23

TOT

80

10

11

21

-3

92

10.4

12:22

1998-99

23

CHI

66

9

6

15

-5

84

11.3

12:30

1998-99

23

EDM

14

1

5

6

2

8

6.3

11:47

1999-00

24

EDM

73

17

10

27

8

62

16.0

15:07

2000-01

25

EDM

68

9

10

19

-6

90

9.3

14:11

2001-02

26

EDM

80

11

5

16

4

81

8.5

12:43

2002-03

27

EDM

78

14

17

31

-7

112

10.2

13:30

2003-04

28

EDM

81

20

12

32

7

96

11.1

15:04

2005-06

30

EDM

74

11

16

27

6

87

7.3

15:59

2006-07

31

EDM

7

1

0

1

-4

12

5.6

15:08

2007-08

32

EDM

25

5

4

9

-4

39

9.3

15:55

2008-09

33

EDM

77

14

12

26

0

133

8.8

15:22

2009-10

34

EDM

76

9

9

18

-18

62

6.3

14:24

2010-11

35

CBJ

37

1

5

6

-9

24

1.8

12:29

2011-12

36

LAK

28

1

3

4

-3

20

3.4

10:32

11 yrs

EDM

653

112

100

212

-12

782

9.4

14:32

4 yrs

CHI

210

33

32

65

9

284

11.7

12:30

1 yr

CBJ

37

1

5

6

-9

24

1.8

12:29

1 yr

LAK

28

1

3

4

-3

20

3.4

10:32

Career

928

147

140

287

-15

1110

9.4

14:07

PLAYOFFS:

Season

Age

Tm

GP

G

A

PTS

+/-

PIM

S%

ATOI

1996-97

21

CHI

6

1

0

1

3

9

10.0

1998-99

23

EDM

4

0

3

3

3

6

0.0

17:26

1999-00

24

EDM

5

0

1

1

0

0

0.0

15:46

2000-01

25

EDM

4

0

0

0

-2

2

0.0

10:35

2002-03

27

EDM

6

0

1

1

-4

16

0.0

12:23

2005-06

30

EDM

21

2

1

3

0

19

5.0

14:35

Career

46

3

6

9

0

52

3.9

14:17

NOTABLE

When Moreau arrived in Edmonton in March of 1999 with Daniel Cleary, Chad Kilger and Christian Laflamme in a trade that sent Boris Mironov, Dean McAmmond and Jonas Elofsson to Chicago, he was a 23-year-old winger already tagged as a bottom-six forward. Not exactly marquee stuff for a player who was selected 14th overall in the 1994 Entry Draft.

Moreau could score a little, having potted 15 goals in his second season with the Blackhawks, but his calling card was his willingness to bang, do the grunt work along the boards and hustle. Moreau could be out-skilled by opposing players, but he was seldom outworked. He was a fitness freak whose sweat and toil in the gym never translated to the kind of numbers you’d like to see from a forward picked in the top-15.

Doug Weight, Smyth, Alex Selivanov and Bill Guerin were the go-to guys up front back then, while guys like Moreau, Todd Marchant and Mike Grier did the shutdown work. Even so, Moreau scored 17 goals in this first full season with the Oilers and his 27 points left him seventh among Oiler forwards. Numbers aside, Moreau brought it just about every single night – something that wasn’t lost on his teammates. I can tell you first hand, he had the respect of everybody in the room.

THE STORY

The hard-nosed Moreau had his best season as an Oiler in 2003-04 with 20 goals and 32 points. He was part of the Oiler team that made it to Game 7 of the 2006 Stanley Cup final. When Moreau was signed to a four-year contract extension in October 6, 2006 and then took over from Jason Smith as Oiler captain Oct. 2, 2007 it seemed liked a natural progression. Instead, the new deal and the “C” on his jersey marked the beginning of the end.

Beset by injuries – a shoulder injury and a lower leg fracture – Moreau played just 32 games in total during the 2006-07 and 2007-08 seasons. In February of 2009 he took a high stick and sustained a scratched cornea. It’s impossible to lead if you can’t stay in the line-up. Now on the wrong side of 30, a diminished Moreau still talked the talk, but he couldn’t walk the walk.

In the summer of 2010, with the Oilers ready to buy out the remainder of his contract, Moreau was claimed on waivers by Columbus. He played less than half a season for the Blue Jackets in 2010-11 and just 28 games with the Los Angeles Kings in his final NHL season, 2011-12. When I think of Moreau’s time in Edmonton, I think of his first six seasons with the Oilers — a leader who gave you all he had — not the final chapters when he just couldn’t get it done anymore. 

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:


  • Jay (not J)

    Ahead of Souray, Gagner and Penner? I guess playoff contributions count for something, but does he really get off the hook for his captaincy? He was a non entity (his fault or not). I have troubles thinking back to Moreau without remembering that horrible fight he had with Iginla where he dished out ‘retribution’ for Souray. The bored look on Iggy’s face while he kind of just took a few shots was damning. I’m surprised to see him so close to the top 50. I was kind of all over the place between the late 90s and the lockout so I didn’t see much of the Oilers in that era and I guess I didn’t see Moreau at his best.

    One feather in his cap: Bioware gave a major minor character in their Mass Effect series Moreau as a last name in his honour.

      • Jay (not J)

        I didn’t see it. To me it seemed Yak like. There looked like a lot of energy coming of of him – the look on his face always showed a bit of pain and a lot of determination- but it never accomplished much. More to my point though, the dressing room got bad on his watch. No that’s not all his responsibility, but as team captain he was one of the people who should have been curtailing it but instead we got the Souray/ Spector interview where the whole organization was tarnished. It was the captaincy that I was referring to when I described him as a non entity and that era reeks of the absence of leadership. I will not try and pretend that he was in a perfect situation. Clearly management was failing him as well as the rest of his team.

        • fasteddy

          I don’t have a clue what the dressing room was like, but just because a guy has a no-bs attitude , works like a dog, and believes respect is earned not given, doesn’t mean he was a bad captain. I would argue that’s exactly the kind of captain many teams would prefer. And lastly, again purely speculation, it has been noted many times that Souray was such a pain in the neck, (specifically a complete know-it-all that wouldn’t listen to coaches or teammates), that my guess is Ethan wasn’t giving him or his antics the time of day; possibly what the supposed dressing room issues were related to.

          • Jay (not J)

            All of the stuff about Souray that I heard came out after the interview and it largely came from the Oilers. Hardly credible given the context and given that leadership group’s ‘dig in and fight’ response to player issues (Lowe with the Brick kid – his name completely escapes me right now, and Tambellini’s insistence on bringing this issue into the next season when Souray and the teammates that he was practising in the offseason with appeared ready to turn the page).

            I agree, the work ethic was great and it’s the kind of example that you would like to see set for a team. Given his complete lack of results though, did the production undermine the message? How do you tell Dustin Penner he would be a better player if he lost the spare tire when he outscores you 3 to 1?

  • HardBoiledOil 1.0

    guys like Moreau and Jason Smith are what this team has been sorely missing for quite some time! (and Mike Grier, and Todd Marchant, you know good 3rd liners.)

  • Morgo_82

    For his character, grit and determination I agree with Moreau being at the mid point of this list. He also played a lot of years of hard nosed hockey as an Oiler and I don’t recall him even backing down from anyone (especially when it was to stand up for a teammate). Too bad his last couple of years here his body had broken down to the point where it rendered him almost completely ineffective, which led to him constantly taking untimely penalties.

    • Ethan was a solid player and a good man in the dressing room and in the community.

      His last couple of years took some of the shine off that because he just wasn’t able to perform at previous levels, but he gave the Oilers what he had to give — however much or little that was at any particular time.

  • Oil83

    A complete class act. I met him and his family in 2004 in the airport after I had just went down with my beer league team to Florida. He saw that I had my sticks and bag and stopped to talk for about 15 minutes. He was so proud that we put the boots to the American teams. As I told him about our failure to a team from Toronto due to a crazy night of cocktails he said “oh man that must have been so much fun”. Go figure a nhl player telling a beer league guy how fun a it sounds to play in a tournament in Florida.

  • BorjeSalming-IanTurnbull

    The King of the bone head penalty. He was a player whose talent went of the cliff at the 600 game mark. We all pray this doesn’t happen to Lucic

    • FISTO Siltanen

      A dumb play by him I recall is one game where it was obviously offside. The puck was in the Blues zone and despite 3 Blues players standing nearby watching Moreau not touching the puck he looked around and then proceede to touch it.

      Intentional offside…all the way back to the Oilers zone.

  • I was at Anderson’s retirement game – Oil vs Phx. Ethan got a hatty, must have been up there on the career highlights. I always appreciated the Georges, Choppers and Gators we used to have – But hey, we get years of watching Lucic Kassian and Maroon.

    • If you want to focus on the struggles of Moreau’s final couple seasons here, that’s your right. Seems odd, though, that you’d zero in on that and disregard a far longer period of time when he was a very solid player and a real leader here.

      Selective memory.

      • Spydyr

        After the train wreck that is the Katz era and ten season outside the playoffs I do dwell too much on the negative when it comes to the Oilers.

        You are right the first half of his career I really liked his play and leadership.

  • fran huckzky

    I can’t believe some commenters are dissing Ethan. He should have retired twoyears earlier but if we had a leader like him now,we would be in a better place. I remember him screaming in pain when his shoulder would pop out. He’d go to the bench,get it popped back in and head back out looking for somebody to run over.