8

Top 10 Who Got Away: Roman Hamrlik (10)

When you create a list of the best young players who got away from the Edmonton Oilers in the post-Stanley Cup era, there’s no shortage of names that come to mind. In many cases, the Oilers simply couldn’t afford to keep them. In others, the player didn’t get much of a chance here or didn’t hit his stride until after he left town. Sometimes, management just blew it. Roman Hamrlik falls into the first category.

The Oilers knew exactly how good Hamrlik, the first overall pick by the Tampa Bay Lightning in 1992, was when they obtained him in December 1997. Hamrlik lived up to that billing in 196 games in Edmonton silks, but they couldn’t afford to pay him. At the 2000 Entry Draft in Calgary, Kevin Lowe, in his first couple months as GM after taking over from Glen Sather, dealt the minute-munching Czech blueliner to the New York Islanders for young, cheaper players. Such was the reality for Oiler fans in those budget-conscious days.

Roman Hamrlik

Defense — shoots L
Born Apr 12th, 1974 — Zlin, Czech Rep.
Height 6.01 — Weight 207 [185 cm/94 kg]

Drafted by Tampa Bay Lightning

Round 1 #1 overall 1992 NHL Entry Draft

BY THE NUMBERS

Season

Age

Tm

GP

G

A

PTS

+/-

PIM

S

S%

ATOI

1992-93

18

TBL

67

6

15

21

-21

71

113

5.3

1993-94

19

TBL

64

3

18

21

-14

135

158

1.9

1994-95

20

TBL

48

12

11

23

-18

86

134

9.0

1995-96

21

TBL

82

16

49

65

-24

103

281

5.7

1996-97

22

TBL

79

12

28

40

-29

57

238

5.0

1997-98

23

TOT

78

9

32

41

-15

70

198

4.5

1997-98

23

TBL

37

3

12

15

-18

22

86

3.5

1997-98

23

EDM

41

6

20

26

3

48

112

5.4

1998-99

24

EDM

75

8

24

32

9

70

172

4.7

23:49

1999-00

25

EDM

80

8

37

45

1

68

180

4.4

25:18

2000-01

26

NYI

76

16

30

46

-20

92

232

6.9

25:12

2001-02

27

NYI

70

11

26

37

7

78

169

6.5

25:32

2002-03

28

NYI

73

9

32

41

21

87

151

6.0

26:34

2003-04

29

NYI

81

7

22

29

2

68

182

3.8

24:35

2005-06

31

CGY

51

7

19

26

8

56

89

7.9

21:51

2006-07

32

CGY

75

7

31

38

22

88

125

5.6

24:52

2007-08

33

MTL

77

5

21

26

7

38

129

3.9

23:08

2008-09

34

MTL

81

6

27

33

4

62

143

4.2

21:55

2009-10

35

MTL

75

6

20

26

-2

56

100

6.0

23:26

2010-11

36

MTL

79

5

29

34

6

81

129

3.9

22:17

2011-12

37

WSH

68

2

11

13

11

34

58

3.4

19:13

2012-13

38

TOT

16

0

1

1

-4

8

7

0.0

11:29

2012-13

38

WSH

4

0

1

1

-1

2

2

0.0

15:36

2012-13

38

NYR

12

0

0

0

-3

6

5

0.0

10:06

6 yrs TBL

377

52

133

185

-124

474

1010

5.1

4 yrs MTL

312

22

97

119

15

237

501

4.4

22:40

4 yrs NYI

300

43

110

153

10

325

734

5.9

25:27

3 yrs EDM

196

22

81

103

13

186

464

4.7

24:35

2 yrs CGY

126

14

50

64

30

144

214

6.5

23:39

2 yrs WSH

72

2

12

14

10

36

60

3.3

19:01

1 yr NYR

12

0

0

0

-3

6

5

0.0

10:06

Career

1395

155

483

638

-49

1408

2988

5.2

23:32

PLAYOFFS

Season

Age

Tm

GP

G

A

PTS

+/-

PIM

S

S%

ATOI

1995-96

21

TBL

5

0

1

1

-1

4

10

0.0

1997-98

23

EDM

12

0

6

6

-4

12

19

0.0

1998-99

24

EDM

3

0

0

0

1

2

1

0.0

16:23

1999-00

25

EDM

5

0

1

1

-4

4

10

0.0

24:44

2001-02

27

NYI

7

1

6

7

-6

6

21

4.8

29:09

2002-03

28

NYI

5

0

2

2

-2

2

9

0.0

29:24

2003-04

29

NYI

5

0

1

1

0

2

10

0.0

25:30

2005-06

31

CGY

7

0

2

2

-7

2

10

0.0

19:44

2006-07

32

CGY

6

0

1

1

-3

8

9

0.0

26:53

2007-08

33

MTL

12

1

2

3

-3

8

15

6.7

22:55

2008-09

34

MTL

4

0

0

0

-5

2

10

0.0

25:19

2009-10

35

MTL

19

0

9

9

-1

15

21

0.0

20:08

2010-11

36

MTL

7

0

3

3

-1

6

4

0.0

23:20

2011-12

37

WSH

14

1

3

4

8

12

18

5.6

22:17

2012-13

38

NYR

2

0

1

1

0

2

0

7:16

Career

113

3

38

41

-28

87

167

1.8

22:55

WITH THE OILERS

Photo Credit: Brian Bahr

Hamrlik was a bonafide first-pairing guy. He could run the power play. He could defend. He had all the tools you’d expect from a first overall draft pick and he was the best of the bunch on an Edmonton blueline that included Boris Mironov and Janne Niinimaa. The problem for the cash-strapped Oilers in the summer of 2000 was Hamrlik was coming off a 45-point season and he was due for a raise on a contract that had paid him $2.25 million.

Hamrlik was just 26 years old and already had 573 NHL games between Tampa Bay and Edmonton on his resume when Lowe dealt him to New York for Eric Brewer, Josh Green and a second-round pick that turned into Brad Winchester. Brewer, 21 at the time of the trade and on an entry level deal at $925,000, was no slouch, and he’d go on to play 315 games with the Oilers, but he was no Hamrlik either. Green and Winchester were never more than bottom-six forwards here.

DOWN THE ROAD

Photo Credit: Brian Bahr

Hamrlik ended up with a four-year deal with the Islanders that was worth $12.8 million, well beyond what the Oilers, who’d transitioned from Peter Pocklington to the Edmonton Investors Group in ownership, would have been able to pay at the time. With Mironov traded the summer before (1999) and Hamrlik gone, the Oilers had Niinimaa, Brewer, Jason Smith, a young Tom Poti and Igor Ulanov on the blueline, but that group was nowhere near what it had been two seasons before at the top end.

All told, Hamrlik would play another 822 regular season games after leaving the Oilers, many of those in the heart of his prime years. Hamrlik went on to make stops with the Islanders, Montreal Canadiens, Calgary Flames, Washington Capitals and New York Rangers. Between when he left Edmonton and when he retired, Hamrlik had six seasons with 30-or-more points, including two with 40-or-more.

This series of various Top 10 lists will focus on the post-1990 Oilers – the players who haven’t played on a Stanley Cup winner in Edmonton.

RECENTLY BY ROBIN BROWNLEE