10

Top 10 Who Got Away: Jason Arnott (3)

I always thought that had Jason Arnott come to the Edmonton Oilers a decade earlier than he did — as a member of the Boys on the Bus who won five Stanley Cups instead of the outfit that was on the decline in the mid-1990s — he’d have survived the off-ice issues that contributed to his premature departure. He might have thrived in the hockey fishbowl that is Edmonton.

Fact is, Arnott, a big, good-looking centre who’d have fit right in on those Oilers’ championship teams that beat opponents for fun, who were famous for having a good time off the ice, never got the same breaks. When you’re winning, people look the other way. If you’re not, they don’t. Simply put, “boys will boys” wasn’t going to cut it for Arnott when he fell out of favor with fans as quickly as he’d become a favourite with a 33-goal season as a rookie.

Jason Arnott

Center — shoots R
Born Oct 11th, 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%

ATOI

1993-94

19

EDM

78

33

35

68

1

104

17.0

1994-95

20

EDM

42

15

22

37

-14

128

9.6

1995-96

21

EDM

64

28

31

59

-6

87

11.5

1996-97

22

EDM

67

19

38

57

-21

92

7.7

1997-98

23

TOT

70

10

23

33

-24

99

5.0

1997-98

23

EDM

35

5

13

18

-16

78

5.0

1997-98

23

NJD

35

5

10

15

-8

21

5.1

1998-99

24

NJD

74

27

27

54

10

79

13.5

15:24

1999-00

25

NJD

76

22

34

56

22

51

9.0

17:05

2000-01

26

NJD

54

21

34

55

23

75

15.2

16:12

2001-02

27

TOT

73

25

20

45

2

65

12.7

17:21

2001-02

27

NJD

63

22

19

41

3

59

13.0

17:13

2001-02

27

DAL

10

3

1

4

-1

6

10.7

18:13

2002-03

28

DAL

72

23

24

47

9

51

13.6

16:12

2003-04

29

DAL

73

21

36

57

23

66

14.7

17:00

2005-06

31

DAL

81

32

44

76

13

102

19.2

17:12

2006-07

32

NSH

68

27

27

54

15

48

14.2

17:59

2007-08

33

NSH

79

28

44

72

19

54

11.3

18:59

2008-09

34

NSH

65

33

24

57

2

49

16.8

18:55

2009-10

35

NSH

63

19

27

46

0

26

8.8

18:42

2010-11

36

TOT

73

17

14

31

-6

40

10.1

15:31

2010-11

36

NJD

62

13

11

24

-9

32

9.4

15:27

2010-11

36

WSH

11

4

3

7

3

8

13.3

15:53

2011-12

37

STL

72

17

17

34

13

26

12.0

14:05

6 yrs NJD

364

110

135

245

41

317

11.1

16:17

5 yrs EDM

286

100

139

239

-56

489

10.6

4 yrs DAL

236

79

105

184

44

225

15.6

16:52

4 yrs NSH

275

107

122

229

36

177

12.6

18:39

1 yr STL

72

17

17

34

13

26

12.0

14:05

1 yr WSH

11

4

3

7

3

8

13.3

15:53

Career

1244

417

521

938

81

1242

12.1

16:58

PLAYOFFS

Season

Age

Tm

GP

G

A

PTS

+/-

PIM

S%

ATOI

1996-97

22

EDM

12

3

6

9

-3

18

11.1

1997-98

23

NJD

5

0

2

2

1

0

0.0

1998-99

24

NJD

7

2

2

4

-3

4

16.7

16:48

1999-00

25

NJD

23

8

12

20

7

18

14.3

16:29

2000-01

26

NJD

23

8

7

15

8

16

19.0

15:49

2002-03

28

DAL

11

3

2

5

-2

6

16.7

15:35

2003-04

29

DAL

5

1

1

2

-1

2

9.1

17:23

2005-06

31

DAL

5

0

3

3

-1

4

0.0

20:04

2006-07

32

NSH

5

2

1

3

0

2

18.2

19:17

2007-08

33

NSH

4

1

0

1

-1

4

16.7

18:29

2009-10

35

NSH

6

2

0

2

-3

0

7.7

17:51

2010-11

36

WSH

9

1

5

6

4

2

7.7

16:03

2011-12

37

STL

7

1

0

1

-1

0

9.1

10:53

Career

122

32

41

73

5

76

12.5

16:21

WITH THE OILERS

Arnott set a franchise record with 33 goals as a rookie. It seemed he might become the next great Oiler at a time when almost all the names engraved on the five Stanley Cups had been moved along in the name of cost-cutting. Arnie, who tooled around town in a bright red Viper when the weather allowed, looked like a star in the making. Instead, things went sideways. His production dipped. Off the ice, Arnott was slapped with a paternity suit. Then, there was the quote that sunk him with fans, uttered after a bad performance: “I just wasn’t into it.” Remember? Of course you do.

GM Glen Sather has always maintained he didn’t want to trade Arnott, but that he had to because of the pressure brought on by the relentless negative attention. To hear Slats tell it, Arnott was essentially chased out of town by fans and the media. I’m not sure it was as cut-and-dried as that, but after 286 games over parts of five seasons in Edmonton, Arnott and Bryan Muir were sent to New Jersey for forwards Valeri Zelepukin and Bill Guerin. Arnott was just 23 at the time and, as fans found out soon enough, had the best hockey of his career ahead of him.

DOWN THE ROAD

Arnott won a Stanley Cup with the Devils in 2000, his third season in New Jersey. He scored 20-or-more goals in each of his four full seasons in the swamp. He spent parts of four seasons with the Dallas Stars and had a career-high 76 points in 2005-06. Arnott moved on to Nashville for four seasons and he stayed productive — 72 points in 2007-08 and 33 goals in 2008-09. His career wound down with a second stop in New Jersey and stints in Washington and St. Louis.

All told, Arnott tallied 417-521-936 in 1,244 regular season games and added another 73 points in 122 playoff games. Big, tough and skilled was Arnott — exactly the kind of centre the Oilers lacked and wanted for many seasons after he left. While I’m still not convinced Sather had to trade him, that was the call that was made and there’s not much argument the Oilers lost a helluva player.

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.

Previously in this Series:



  • Bigdaddypuck

    Two things also come to mind about Arnie. The oilers didn’t appreciate his parents involvement with input to his career. They had been compared to lindros’s parents. And he had a couple injuries and while absent the team did better with out of the lineup. He was traded too soon but at least we got Bill who competed and had of air about him in the dressing room. Satan being traded always bothered me more because at least the return on Arnie paid off for the oilers.

  • Cowboy Bill

    Can’t cry over spilt milk . What’s done is done .
    But Kyle Brodziak & Tobias Rieder are another two that got away . They just happen to both be UFA’s . Wouldn’t they look good on the Oiler roster this season ? It’s time for the Oilers to correct some of these wrongs .

      • Cowboy Bill

        What I’m saying is Arnott is in the past , while Brodziak & Rieder are UFA’s available right now , in the present . So the Oilers are in a position to right that wrong . Arnott is done . Why bother dragging his name up from the past ? Wayne Gretzky got a way too .

  • Rusty Patenaude

    Yep…driven out of town by the hyper critical Oiler fans. He was joined by others (Schultz, Lupul, Eberle). This cult of negativity drives me crazy as an Oiler fan. These guys can go elsewhere and be relatively anonymous and live a life without crazy hating fans stalking them. These phoney fans and bloggers would help the Oilers by toning down the negativity.

    • Canoe Ride 27

      Don’t forget Dubnyk and Hall. Looch is the new target with Caggiula becoming one.
      This is the part of the franchise that drives me crazy. We the fans turn on you, you’re done.