It’s the middle of summer and I think we’re all tired of talking about whether or not Jesse Puljujarvi is going to Europe, how the Oilers can or should arrange their bottom-six, and how Ken Holland is going to find a third-line centre. Let’s dive into some dog days of summer topics, you know, the kinds of ones you have sitting around an outdoor pool after cracking open a cold one.
Earlier on Thursday, Nahreman Issa from CTY quote tweeted a post by NHL History Girl stating that it was the 13-year anniversary of Ales Hemsky’s six-year deal with the Oilers. Hemsky, the former 13th overall pick, enjoyed a breakout season for the Oilers that year, putting up 77 points in the regular season and another 17 in the team’s run to the Stanley Cup Final. General manager Kevin Lowe rewarded the young franchise cornerstone a six-year deal worth $4,100,000 that would keep Hemsky in Edmonton through his prime.
One of the greatest Oilers of all time.
Don't even @ me on this… https://t.co/5Q8qycUHcx
— Nahreman Issa (@NahremanIssaCTV) July 25, 2019
This sparked an extremely-dog-days-of-summer debate on Oilers Twitter as to whether or not Ales Hemsky deserved to be considered one of the greatest Oilers of all time. Somebody in response said that it’s a selective list for players who won Stanley Cups for the team, which Hemsky obviously didn’t.
So that brings us to this week’s What Would You Do Wednesday FRIDAY BY THE POOL EDITION question. Who would you consider your all-time Oilers greats? Do you agree you had to have won a Stanley Cup with the team to be on that list? Can somebody who only played here for a short time make the list? Or is it based largely around longevity? Who, to you, are Oilers greats?
The difficulty with talking about Oilers greats is that you have some wildly different eras. You have the 80s, loaded with championships and Hall of Famers, and then you have the 90s and 2000s, plagued by financial struggles, and then you have the 2010s, which featured a decade-long rebuild.
We all know that Wayne Gretzky, Mark Messier, Jari Kurri, Grant Fuhr, and Glenn Anderson, all Hall of Famers with their jerseys retired, are Oilers greats. But who else after those 80s days falls into that category? Obviously, since the 80s teams were so impossibly successful, nobody else in franchise history has seen that level of success. But that certainly doesn’t mean there aren’t any post-80s greats.
Doug Weight and Ryan Smyth are easy additions to the All-Time Great Oilers list. Weight was the face of the franchise in the post-80s days and sits seventh in franchise scoring with 577 points. Smyth, a local hero, is second in all-time games, fifth in goals, and sixth in points all-time as an Oiler. I don’t think anybody would disagree those two should be considered greats.
What about Ales Hemsky and Shawn Horcoff? Here are two players from the same era. Both played key roles on the team’s run to the Cup Final in 2006 and were good players for the team for years. They sit eighth and ninth in all-time points respectively. Also, what about short-term players? Are we at a point now in which we can consider Chris Pronger an all-time great because of his incredible showing in 2005-06? Connor McDavid is already on this list, right?
What say you, Nation? Who would you attach the All-Time Oilers Great tag to? Is this reserved for Stanley Cup winners? Or do you have a bigger list?