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Photo Credit: NHL.com

Top 100 Oilers: Mark Messier (2)

Mark Messier isn’t the greatest player in the history of the NHL, but if you made a short list of the most complete players to ever lace their skates in the league, The Moose would be on it along with the great Gordie Howe, who set the bar as a hockey Frankenstein several generations before Mess first pulled on the silks of the Edmonton Oilers in 1979.

For me, Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux are the most talented players ever to grace the NHL in any generation. When it comes to the total package — the ability to skate, score and play a physical game — Messier and Howe are one-two, in that order, of the guys who could play it anyway you wanted and beat you for fun. Messier, like Howe before him, didn’t much care how he got the better of opponents, only that he did. Whatever it took.

Mark Messier

Center
Born Jan 18th, 1961 — Edmonton, ALTA
Height 6.01 — Weight 205 [185 cm/93 kg]

Drafted by Edmonton Oilers

Round 3 #48 overall 1979 NHL Entry Draft

BY THE NUMBERS

Season

Age

Tm

GP

G

A

PTS

+/-

PIM

S

S%

TOI

ATOI

1979-80

19

EDM

75

12

21

33

-10

120

113

10.6

1980-81

20

EDM

72

23

40

63

-12

102

179

12.8

1981-82

21

EDM

78

50

38

88

21

119

235

21.3

1982-83

22

EDM

77

48

58

106

19

72

237

20.3

1983-84

23

EDM

73

37

64

101

40

165

219

16.9

1984-85

24

EDM

55

23

31

54

8

57

136

16.9

1985-86

25

EDM

63

35

49

84

36

68

201

17.4

1986-87

26

EDM

77

37

70

107

21

73

208

17.8

1987-88

27

EDM

77

37

74

111

21

103

182

20.3

1988-89

28

EDM

72

33

61

94

-5

130

164

20.1

1989-90

29

EDM

79

45

84

129

19

79

211

21.3

1990-91

30

EDM

53

12

52

64

15

34

109

11.0

1991-92

31

NYR

79

35

72

107

31

76

212

16.5

1992-93

32

NYR

75

25

66

91

-6

72

215

11.6

1993-94

33

NYR

76

26

58

84

25

76

216

12.0

1994-95

34

NYR

46

14

39

53

8

40

126

11.1

1995-96

35

NYR

74

47

52

99

29

122

241

19.5

1996-97

36

NYR

71

36

48

84

12

88

227

15.9

1997-98

37

VAN

82

22

38

60

-10

58

139

15.8

1998-99

38

VAN

59

13

35

48

-12

33

97

13.4

1333

22:36

1999-00

39

VAN

66

17

37

54

-15

30

131

13.0

1399

21:12

2000-01

40

NYR

82

24

43

67

-25

89

131

18.3

1578

19:14

2001-02

41

NYR

41

7

16

23

-1

32

69

10.1

759

18:31

2002-03

42

NYR

78

18

22

40

-2

30

117

15.4

1453

18:38

2003-04

43

NYR

76

18

25

43

3

42

104

17.3

1253

16:29

12 yrs EDM

851

392

642

1034

173

1122

2194

17.9

10 yrs NYR

698

250

441

691

74

667

1658

15.1

5043

18:12

3 yrs VAN

207

52

110

162

-37

121

367

14.2

2732

21:52

1 yr CNS

47

1

10

11

-6

58

55

1.8

Career

1756

694

1193

1887

210

1910

4219

16.4

7775

19:20

PLAYOFFS

Season

Age

Tm

GP

G

A

PTS

+/-

PIM

S

S%

1979-80

19

EDM

3

1

2

3

2

2

11

9.1

1980-81

20

EDM

9

2

5

7

1

13

24

8.3

1981-82

21

EDM

5

1

2

3

-4

8

17

5.9

1982-83

22

EDM

15

15

6

21

11

14

50

30.0

1983-84

23

EDM

19

8

18

26

9

19

63

12.7

1984-85

24

EDM

18

12

13

25

13

12

56

21.4

1985-86

25

EDM

10

4

6

10

1

18

23

17.4

1986-87

26

EDM

21

12

16

28

13

16

62

19.4

1987-88

27

EDM

19

11

23

34

9

29

42

26.2

1988-89

28

EDM

7

1

11

12

-1

8

23

4.3

1989-90

29

EDM

22

9

22

31

5

20

47

19.1

1990-91

30

EDM

18

4

11

15

2

16

41

9.8

1991-92

31

NYR

11

7

7

14

-4

6

27

25.9

1993-94

33

NYR

23

12

18

30

14

33

75

16.0

1994-95

34

NYR

10

3

10

13

-11

8

26

11.5

1995-96

35

NYR

11

4

7

11

-10

16

41

9.8

1996-97

36

NYR

15

3

9

12

2

6

43

7.0

Career

236

109

186

295

52

244

671

16.2

AWARDS

1983-84 Conn Smythe Trophy

1989-90 Hart Memorial Trophy, Ted Lindsay Award

1991-92 Hart Memorial Trophy, Ted Lindsay Award

NOTABLE

Messier, a big, raw-boned, homegrown talent when he broke in with the Oilers, won five Stanley Cups in Edmonton and another with the New York Rangers. He sits third in NHL career scoring with 1,887 regular season career points, 1,034 of those with the Oilers. The former Oiler captain is a two-time Hart Trophy winner as league MVP and a Conn Smythe Trophy winner. Messier’s accomplishments and his numbers speak for themselves and will stand the test of time. But there was more, much more, to No. 11.

Messier could do it all, but it’s the snap factor that separates him and Howe from the ranks of many of the other all-time greats at the top of the NHL’s career scoring list. He could dominate opponents on the ice with speed and skill or beat them in the alley, if that’s what it took. Messier would happily knock your teeth down your throat using whatever means he had at his disposal in any given situation — fist, stick, elbow. It didn’t matter. You can see some of Messier’s handiwork here. More here against the New York Islanders.

That nasty streak aside, Messier also had both the desire and ability to lead. He did it with actions and words, with and without the captain’s C on his chest. Whether it was great goal, a punishing hit, a well-placed elbow or that famous glare, Messier knew how to get his message across. He did whatever he had to do and said whatever he had to say — that went for teammates as well as opponents. His best season? That was 1989-90, with Gretzky gone, when he had 129 points, won the Hart Trophy and led the Oilers to their fifth Cup as team captain.

THE STORY

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen any of the leaders that I’ve ever had do it as well as Mark did that particular year,” coach John Muckler said of Messier leading the push for the 1990 Cup. Of course, by the time of Messier’s called shot in the 1994 playoffs as a member of the New York Rangers, he was being heralded as one of the greatest team leaders in any sport. The seeds of that were sown in Edmonton.

“You learn from all the people you come in contact with and, of course, through winning, you gain experience and, unfortunately, through losing you gain experience as well,” Messier said. “You start putting all these things together as your career evolves and pretty soon you figure out what works and what doesn’t and that’s what experience does. Pretty soon, you realize that relationships are important and learn to cultivate those and extract the best you can out of everybody and I think that is what leadership is.”

Simply put, Messier figured out “what works” early in his career and put his own dazzling and sometimes vicious spin on it during his prime years, which came during his 12 unforgettable seasons with the Oilers. Nobody, and I mean nobody, competed with more passion and purpose, or had more fun doing it, than The Moose. Watching Messier skate out with the Stanley Cup at Rexall Place one more time during his jersey retirement ceremony with tears running down his face was, like the player, unforgettable.

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.

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