TOP 100 OILERS: PAT HUGHES (36)

Hughes

I’ve always had a soft spot for role players who up their game and are at their very best when it matters most, and that’s why I’m a sucker for Pat Hughes. Hughes was hard-nosed “lesser light” who shone almost as brightly as the biggest stars with the Edmonton Oilers when they finally claimed their first Stanley Cup in 1984. When it mattered, Hughes was money.

Hughes, who spent a lot of time playing in the bottom six with the Oilers over the years, notably on a line with Dave Hunter and Kevin McClelland, would win a pair of Stanley Cups during his tenure in Edmonton, but it was that first one, helping the Oilers end the four-Cup dynasty of the New York Islanders in five games, that puts him on this list for me.

Pat Hughes

Forward

Born Mar 25 1955 — Calgary, ALTA 

Height 5.11 — Weight 190 [180 cm/86 kg]

Drafted by Montreal Canadiens

Round 3 #52 overall 1975 NHL Amateur Draft

Drafted by Calgary Cowboys

Round 6 #80 overall 1975 WHA Amateur Draft

BY THE NUMBERS

Season

Tm

GP

G

A

PTS

+/-

PIM

S

S%

1977-78

MTL

3

0

0

0

-2

2

5

0.0

1978-79

MTL

41

9

8

17

7

22

51

17.6

1979-80

PIT

76

18

14

32

-38

78

159

11.3

1980-81

TOT

60

10

9

19

-12

161

92

10.9

1980-81

PIT

58

10

9

19

-9

161

89

11.2

1980-81

EDM

2

0

0

0

-3

0

3

0.0

1981-82

EDM

68

24

22

46

21

99

167

14.4

1982-83

EDM

80

25

20

45

0

85

144

17.4

1983-84

EDM

77

27

28

55

18

61

164

16.5

1984-85

EDM

73

12

13

25

-7

85

98

12.2

1985-86

BUF

50

4

9

13

-6

25

51

7.8

1986-87

TOT

45

1

5

6

-7

28

33

3.0

1986-87

STL

43

1

5

6

-6

26

30

3.3

1986-87

HAR

2

0

0

0

-1

2

3

0.0

5 yrs

EDM

300

88

83

171

29

330

576

15.3

2 yrs

MTL

44

9

8

17

5

24

56

16.1

2 yrs

PIT

134

28

23

51

-47

239

248

11.3

1 yr

BUF

50

4

9

13

-6

25

51

7.8

1 yr

HAR

2

0

0

0

-1

2

3

0.0

1 yr

STL

43

1

5

6

-6

26

30

3.3

Career

573

130

128

258

-26

646

964

13.5

PLAYOFFS

Season

Tm

GP

G

A

PTS

+/-

PIM

S

S%

1978-79

MTL

8

1

2

3

4

1979-80

PIT

5

0

0

0

21

1980-81

EDM

5

0

5

5

16

1981-82

EDM

5

2

1

3

6

1982-83

EDM

16

2

5

7

14

1983-84

EDM

19

2

11

13

14

12

44

4.5

1984-85

EDM

10

1

1

2

1

4

3

33.3

1986-87

HAR

3

0

0

0

-1

0

0

Career

71

8

25

33

14

77

47

6.4

NOTABLE

It’s been well documented how the 1982-83 edition of the Oilers was humbled by the Islanders in the 1983 Cup final, getting swept in four straight games, and the lessons that were learned about what it would take to make the next step. Those are lessons Hughes, who arrived in Edmonton from Pittsburgh in March of 1981, took to heart when the Oilers hit the ice for the 1983-84 season still stinging from the sweep.

Hughes scored 27-28-55, which represented career highs for goals, assists and points, during the regular season. Hughes followed that up with 13 points (2-11-13), again career highs, in 19 post-season games against the Winnipeg Jets, Calgary Flames, Minnesota North Stars and the Islanders on the way to the bedlam that ensued at Northlands Coliseum when the Oilers clinched that first Cup on May 19, 1984.

Of course, it was the big boys who led the way – Wayne Gretzky (35 points), Jari Kurri (28 points), Mark Messier (26 points), Paul Coffey (22 points) and Glenn Anderson (17 points) did their thing. But it was the middle of the line-up that that pushed the Oilers over the top. Ken Linseman had 14 points and Hughes was next with 13. Seven other players had 10 points during that playoff run. Top to bottom, there wasn’t a single player who took that 4-0 waxing from the Islanders the year before who didn’t bring it in 1984.

THE STORY

“It was a huge thrill,” said Hughes, who returned to Edmonton for the 30-year anniversary of the 1984 championship. “Not only as players, who as a kid growing up, this is a lifelong goal to hoist the Stanley Cup, but for all the people who couldn’t play that are the fans, they got excited about it.

“For a city like Edmonton it’s different than in a Montreal or Toronto or Detroit, they’d won it many years. This was the first Cup for this city ever, and I think people just went crazy over it. It was a special time . . . in Game 5 it was an electric atmosphere. The city felt it and the team felt it. You could just tell we were on the verge of something special. It was a really exciting place to be, it was for many days after that as well.”

Hughes, who retired from the NHL after the 1986-87 season and has been a member of the Ann Arbor Police Department in Michigan for more than 20 years, played his backside off to bring that first Cup to Edmonton and then added an exclamation mark with his second Cup in 1985. Hughes was never better through 573 regular season games and 71 more in playoffs than he was wearing Oiler silks.

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:

    • I interviewed Pat Hughes on the podcast we used to do and he was awesome. His story about the 5-goal night was legendary. He talked about how it was the game of his life and he couldn’t miss the net even if he tried. Weird how that happens sometimes.

    • Keepyourstickontheice

      One of my favorite stories my dad would tell me from the wonder years was about his five goal game.

      TV reporter goes to Pat Hughes after the game and asks “so when you were lacing up your skates today, did you think you were going to have a five goal game”?

      His only answer, “Are you f*cking kidding me? I don’t think Wayne thinks he’s gonna have 5 goal games ever, why would I” and then he walked away.

      Mic Drop.

    • Spydyr

      Hunter-McClelland-Hughes

      IMO was one of the best third lines in Oiler history. The only one that compares is the kid line consisting of:

      Graves-Murphy-Gelinas

        • ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

          Remenda would say (and does) “it’s not how you got ’em, it’s how many.” There’s another saying worth considering: “it’s not how many you got, but when you got them.” Like in comedy, timing is everything in hockey.

          Hughes played like a top six in big games and at big moments, and was a big contributor to secondary scoring after the two first lines of Gretzky-Kurri and Messier-Anderson. The “how many” numbers don’t always bear that out–if you’ve never seen him, think of Hughes like the best of Letestu today.

  • The older I get, the better I was...

    I think the person jumping on the ice in the picture is actually Willy Lindstrom – Pat is on the right hand side looking down the bench I believe.

    It was exciting and at the same time terrifying watching the playoffs in 1984. As much as Gretzky, Messier etc. led the way there were so many key critical goals scored by the guys like Pat. We never seemed comfortable that any game was in the bag until the buzzer sounded – such was the reputation of the hated Islanders.

    I always thought Pat was one of those guys that delivered consistently every single night – you knew exactly what you were going to get from him. A good pick.

    • Spydyr

      The biggest goal ever scored by an Oiler. Game one of the final the year the Oilers won their first Cup. Kevin McClelland. Final score 1-0 Oilers. For me that game proved the Oilers could win the low scoring games in the playoffs and Fuhr was capable of being a Cup winning goalie.

  • ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    Hughes was gold when it counted and always had the work ethic that you’d want in every player. The Hunter-McClelland-Hughes line was a classic heavy line that could check and hit any line in the league. They were a big part of winning.

    small point: the photo caption is incorrect. That’s not Hughes in the picture (jumping onto the ice), it’s Willy Lindstrom, #19. Hughes is sitting at the end of the bench on the far right of the image, next to Kevin McClelland.

    http://oilersnation.com/2015/11/29/top-100-oilers-willy-lindstrom-89

  • Spaceman Spiff

    It’s funny – my biggest memories I have of Hughes go way back to the Miracle on Manchester game against the Kings in 1982. Sometime late in the game, with the Kings mounting their comeback, Hughes got stoned on two breakaways by Mario Lessard. I think if he’d have scored on either of them the Kings’ rally – and the game, and probably the series – might have ended differently.

    Nice article and a good place for him on the list. So much has been made about the top two lines on the Oilers of the Glory Days but I’m not sure if the younger folks know much about the bottom two lines and the interesting and valuable role players they had. Hughes was surely one of them.