TOP 100 OILERS: JASON ARNOTT (42)

Jason Arnott was everything you could want in a hockey player. He was big, tough and talented. Arnott was certainly everything the Edmonton Oilers wanted when they happily snapped him up seventh overall from the Oshawa Generals in the 1993 Entry Draft and then watched him establish a franchise record for goals by a rookie with 33 during 1993-94 season.

Alas, history tells us that a tenure that began with Arnott looking like he might be the next great Oiler, a franchise cornerstone at a time when they needed one, ended badly and all-too-quickly amid declining on-ice performance and off-ice issues that included a paternity suit. Then, there was the infamous quote after one notably bad performance that soured fans once and for all – “I just wasn’t into it.”

Jason Arnott

Center — shoots R

Born Oct 11 1974 — Collingwood, ONT 

Height 6.05 — Weight 220 [196 cm/100 kg]

Drafted by Edmonton Oilers

Round 1 #7 overall 1993 NHL Entry Draft

BY THE NUMBERS

Season

Age

Tm

GP

G

A

PTS

+/-

PIM

S

S%

TOI

ATOI

1993-94

19

EDM

78

33

35

68

1

104

194

17.0

1994-95

20

EDM

42

15

22

37

-14

128

156

9.6

1995-96

21

EDM

64

28

31

59

-6

87

244

11.5

1996-97

22

EDM

67

19

38

57

-21

92

248

7.7

1997-98

23

TOT

70

10

23

33

-24

99

199

5.0

1997-98

23

EDM

35

5

13

18

-16

78

100

5.0

1997-98

23

NJD

35

5

10

15

-8

21

99

5.1

1998-99

24

NJD

74

27

27

54

10

79

200

13.5

1140

15:24

1999-00

25

NJD

76

22

34

56

22

51

244

9.0

1299

17:05

2000-01

26

NJD

54

21

34

55

23

75

138

15.2

875

16:12

2001-02

27

TOT

73

25

20

45

2

65

197

12.7

1267

17:21

2001-02

27

NJD

63

22

19

41

3

59

169

13.0

1085

17:13

2001-02

27

DAL

10

3

1

4

-1

6

28

10.7

182

18:13

2002-03

28

DAL

72

23

24

47

9

51

169

13.6

1166

16:12

2003-04

29

DAL

73

21

36

57

23

66

143

14.7

1241

16:00

2005-06

31

DAL

81

32

44

76

13

102

167

19.2

1393

17:12

2006-07

32

NSH

68

27

27

54

15

48

190

14.2

1223

17:59

2007-08

33

NSH

79

28

44

72

19

54

248

11.3

1500

18:59

2008-09

34

NSH

65

33

24

57

2

49

196

16.8

1229

18:55

2009-10

35

NSH

63

19

27

46

0

26

216

8.8

1178

18:42

2010-11

36

TOT

73

17

14

31

-6

40

169

10.1

1133

15:31

2010-11

36

NJD

62

13

11

24

-9

32

139

9.4

958

15:27

2010-11

36

WSH

11

4

3

7

3

8

30

13.3

175

15:53

2011-12

37

STL

72

17

17

34

13

26

142

12.0

1014

14:05

6 yrs

NJD

364

110

135

245

41

317

989

11.1

5356

16:17

5 yrs

EDM

286

100

139

239

-56

489

942

10.6

4 yrs

DAL

236

79

105

184

44

225

507

15.6

3982

16:52

4 yrs

NSH

275

107

122

229

36

177

850

12.6

5130

18:39

1 yr

STL

72

17

17

34

13

26

142

12.0

1014

14:05

1 yr

WSH

11

4

3

7

3

8

30

13.3

175

15:53

Career

1244

417

521

938

81

1242

3460

12.1

15658

16:58

PLAYOFFS

Season

Age

Tm

GP

G

A

PTS

+/-

PIM

S

S%

TOI

ATOI

1996-97

22

EDM

12

3

6

9

-3

18

27

11.1

1997-98

23

NJD

5

0

2

2

1

0

6

0.0

1998-99

24

NJD

7

2

2

4

-3

4

12

16.7

118

16:48

1999-00

25

NJD

23

8

12

20

7

18

56

14.3

379

16:29

2000-01

26

NJD

23

8

7

15

8

16

42

19.0

364

15:49

2002-03

28

DAL

11

3

2

5

-2

6

18

16.7

171

15:35

2003-04

29

DAL

5

1

1

2

-1

2

11

9.1

87

17:23

2005-06

31

DAL

5

0

3

3

-1

4

17

0.0

100

20:04

2006-07

32

NSH

5

2

1

3

0

2

11

18.2

96

19:17

2007-08

33

NSH

4

1

0

1

-1

4

6

16.7

74

18:29

2009-10

35

NSH

6

2

0

2

-3

0

26

7.7

107

17:51

2010-11

36

WSH

9

1

5

6

4

2

13

7.7

144

16:03

2011-12

37

STL

7

1

0

1

-1

0

11

9.1

76

10:53

Career

122

32

41

73

5

76

256

12.5

1717

16:21

NOTABLE

The end for Arnott as an Oiler came after just five seasons and 286 games when, to hear GM Glen Sather tell it, the pressure of playing in Edmonton and the off-ice distractions that became the focus of local media became too much. Sather maintained he never wanted to trade the kid, but, you know, the relentless negative attention left him little choice.

“He got into a (paternity) problem but only one time,” Sather told the Edmonton Journal. “He was young. It became such a sensational scoop for everybody and it chased him out of town. He was sensitive, but what kid his age isn’t? I never wanted to get rid of him.” While there’s a kernel of truth in Sather’s take, that far from the whole story.

Yes, Arnott was guilty of handling the trappings of wealth and youth badly. He enjoyed zipping around town in the flashy, new Viper he bought with his first contract. He partied. Then, the paternity suit. Arnott wasn’t the first Oiler, nor the last, to make mistakes. Players from the Stanley Cup teams did the same. The difference was that by the time Arnott arrived, the Oilers were clearly a team in decline. Success mitigates miss-steps, while failure tends to amplify them. Arnott’s Oilers had Shayne Corson as captain. Full stop.

THE STORY

Arnott

Sather could have stuck with Arnott but the bottom line is he chose not to, instead dealing him to New Jersey with Bryan Muir in January of 1998 for Valeri Zelepukin and Bill Guerin. Arnott was just 24 when Sather pulled the trigger on that deal. While Guerin certainly was a nice return, at least for the short term, the Oilers never got the consistent, quality years a grown-up and more mature Arnott had to offer in New Jersey, Dallas and Nashville.

Gone too soon was Arnott, who, off-ice distractions and all while playing on bad teams, managed to score 100 goals and 239 points in his 286 games as an Oiler. Arnott would go on to score 317 more regular season goals in his other NHL stops and finish with 938 points in a career highlighted by his overtime winner to give the Devils the 2000 Stanley Cup.

How many times in the years following Arnott’s departure have Oiler fans lamented the lack of having a big, tough, skilled forward like him? I’ve lost count. Arnott was all that, but it wasn’t to be – even though, in hindsight, it could have, and probably should have, been.

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:

  • LibrarianMike

    I’m just glad the Oilers and Edmonton’s media learned their lesson with Arnott by not putting too much pressure on their young stars and then running them out of town when they didn’t live up to impossible expectations.

  • Aendayana777

    I liked Arnott. He came so close to win the Calder in his rookie year I think. Some dude named Forsberg maybe beat him. My favourite memory of him was one year there was a fan appreciation day at the Coliseum and they had all the players have some activity to do through which they could interact with the crowds. I was there with my barely 3 months old daughter and Jason was shooting some basketball on the ice. I got him to take my daughter and took a picture of them. A crying baby and a wide eyed star.It was truly epic. I shall look for the pic and post it. Wish it worked out better for him here. I was so happy when he scored that goal to win the Cup. Part of me celebrated big time. Nice write up

  • camdog

    On a side I’d hoped I’d never have to read an Oilers story with Shayne Corson mentioned, those were dark days, darker than the 10 year run into the abyss.

  • VC Glaswegian

    Solid hockey player

    Always a benchmark – milestone for every Oiler and fan and/or supporter of the one that slipped through our system whatever that was or may be.

    I hope we all keep Jason Arnott in mind when calling out any of our players especially the young ones
    ” let he cast the first stone ”
    Cheers To Jason

  • D'oh-ilers

    Always liked Arnott as a player. The way so many good players in the post-dynasty era were chased out of town, and the dumb reasons for it, still irks me.