With Milan Lucic scoring his 20th goal of the season in last night’s loss to the Kings it gave the Oilers four 20-goal men for the first time since the Cup run season of 2005-06.
While the Oilers have often had trouble keeping the puck out of their net over the years they’ve also had a tough time putting it in. As I was going through the years it was alarming how many seasons where it seemed like having even two guys hit the 20-goal mark was an achievement worth mentioning. I guess I forgot (or repressed) just how bad things have been around here, but seeing the numbers of where we are now as compared to where we’ve been gives me hope for a bright future. Let’s take a look.
Shawn Horcoff – 22G, 51A – 73 points
Jarret Stoll – 22G, 46A – 68 points
Ryan Smyth – 36G, 30A – 66 points
Sergei Samsonov – 23G, 30A – 53 points (18 of his goals came in Boston)
Raffi Torres – 27G, 14A – 41 points
(Hemsky – 19G, Pisani – 18G)
I don’t have to tell you guys what happened that year.
Ryan Smyth – 31G, 22A – 53 points
Petr Sykora – 22G, 31A = 53 points
(Horcoff – 16G, Lupul 16G)
This season truly was the start of the decade of darkness. I remember watching the trade deadline when Smytty got traded and being in complete disbelief. Truly dark times.
Ales Hemsky – 20G, 51A – 71 points
Shawn Horcoff – 21G, 29A – 50 points
Dustin Penner – 23G, 24A – 47 points
(Andrew Cogliano – 18G)
Ahhh yes. Rebuild 1.0. I remember it well. The kid line (Cogliano-Gagner-Nilsson) was hitting their stride and Oil Country was filled with hope of better days. Oh how naive we all were.
Ales Hemsky – 23G, 43A – 66 points
Sheldon Souray – 23G, 30A – 53 points
(Andrew Cogliano – 18G, Shawn Horcoff – 17G, Dustin Penner – 17G)
Of all the horrible rebuild years this one actually featured some solid pieces but ran into an endless stream of injuries. Only Andrew Cogliano and Tom Gilbert played in every game for the Oilers that season and it was also the last season before MacT was let go as head coach.
Dustin Penner: 32G, 31A – 63 points
(Gilbert Brule – 17G)
As far as bad finishes go the 2009-10 season was the best of the worst. Pat Quinn spent his first and only year behind the bench, we saw JF Jacques on the first line for some reason, and Jeff Deslauriers started the majority of the games in net. What a time to be alive!
Taylor Hall: 22G, 20A = 42 points
Dustin Penner: 21G, 18A = 39 points
(Jordan Eberle – 18G, Ryan Jones – 18G)
Cue the start of Rebuild 2.0 and the birth of the H.O.P.E. acronym that has now become a punchline only six years later. I remember going to a pre-season game where Magnus Paajarvi scored a hat trick and thinking that this was the beginning of something beautiful. Another swing a miss.
Jordan Eberle: 34G, 42A = 76 points
Taylor Hall: 27G, 26A = 53 points
(Ryan Smyth – 19G, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins – 18G, Sam Gagner – 18G, Ryan Jones – 17G)
Alright, so if ONE 1st overall pick was good then TWO was going to be great, right? Well… Kinda? As you can see, it was actually Jordan Eberle that had the breakout season that year and it looked like our first line was going to be set for the next 15 years. Le sigh.
Lockout season had no 20 goal scorers
(Nail Yakupov – 17G, Taylor Hall – 16G, Jordan Eberle – 16G)
As far as finishes go, the lock shortened season was the best the Oilers finished in the standings since they last made the playoffs. Justin Schultz ripped up the AHL, Yak’s slide was widely debated, and despite the positive progress Ralph Kreuger was let go via Skype. Looking back, it still seems odd how things with Kreuger went down and I think MacT would probably like a mulligan on that one.
Taylor Hall: 27G, 53A = 80 points
Jordan Eberle: 28G, 37A = 65 points
David Perron: 28G, 29A = 57 points
(Ryan Nugent-Hopkins – 19G)
Welcome to the Eakins era! After being widely chased in the summer, it was the Oilers that closed the deal with the former Marlies bench boss and he was finally going to bring some carrot sticks accountability to the group. That worked well.
Jordan Eberle: 24G, 39A = 63 points
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins: 24G, 32A = 56 points
(Benoit Pouliot – 19G)
How many coaches would you like in a year? Is your answer three? Good because that’s what happened in 2014-15. After Dallas Eakins was let go, then GM Craig MacTavish stepped behind the bench for a few games to assess the team from ground level before passing it off to Todd Nelson. It was an odd situation but completely unsurprising considering how odd the Oilers were run at the time.
Taylor Hall: 26G, 39A = 65 points
Jordan Eberle: 25G, 22A = 47 points
(Leon Draisaitl – 19G)
Had Connor not gotten hurt last year we likely could have seen four 20 goal men a year ago, but Brandon Manning ruined that party. While the Oilers finished in 29th last year they certainly had a better team on paper than the results showed in the standings. Lots of injuries. No luck whatsoever.
Connor McDavid – 29G, 66A – 95 points
Leon Draisaitl – 28G, 47A – 75 points
Milan Lucic – 20G, 25A – 45 points
Patrick Maroon – 27G, 15A – 42 points
(Ryan Nugent-Hopkins – 18G)
I don’t know how many of us would have expected the Oilers to be challenging for the division title (last night’s loss aside) but I’m certainly not complaining. Can Nuge pot another two goals in the last three games to give him 20 on the year and five 20-goal men in a year? It could happen.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN?
Looking back at the numbers from the past decade was both depressing and invigorating at the same time. Connor McDavid completely changes the landscape for the Oilers as he’s single handedly able to boost the play of whoever is on the ice with him. The Oilers haven’t had a player that has pushed for 100 points since Doug Weight did it back in 1995-96 and having other teams focus so much on Connor should have actually made it easier for his teammates to produce. If Nuge and Eberle can have bounce back years in 2017-18 then we might be talking about the Oilers having six 20 goal men on their roster, and it’s been a very long time since we’ve been able to say that.