Photo Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

WWYDW(FE): The Greats

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.

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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.

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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? 

  • FutureGM

    Have to win a cup?! That is bonkers because anyone who is an Oilers fan knows that ol 94 Ryan Smyth is an Oiler great. Maybe Buchberger too
    Also anyone saying Pronger is an Oiler great should be banned from the rink. He demanded a trade after a run to the final.
    After that it gets a little murky on guys like Hemsky, Weight, Horcoff, Lowe, Tikker, Hall, Ebs, Nuge etc. Would be nice to have a wall of honor without retiring their number like they do for the Eskimos. Could include Sather, MacT, Buchy and such

  • ed from edmonton

    To respond to this question we really need to understand how long the list is. If its the top 10 all time, then not many of any outside of the glory years. If it a list divided into best forwards, Dmen and goalies the answers would be quite different.

    For example top 10 scoring forwards for the Oil are

    Wayne Gretzky

    Jari Kurri

    Mark Messier

    Glenn Anderson

    Paul Coffey

    Ryan Smyth

    Doug Weight

    Aleš Hemský

    Shawn Horcoff

    Esa Tikkanen

    Top 10 Dmen based on games played are:

    Kevin Lowe

    Ryan Smyth

    Mark Messier

    Glenn Anderson

    Shawn Horcoff

    Kelly Buchberger

    Jari Kurri

    Craig MacTavish

    Wayne Gretzky

    Charlie Huddy

    All time goalies based on wins:

    Bill Ranford

    Grant Fuhr

    Tommy Salo

    Andy Moog

    Cameron Talbot

    I would think any list would be limited to these guys.

  • inverno76

    Top 15


    And in no particular order


    Honourable mentions: Pronger, Laraque,Semenko,Marchant,Guerin and for one playoffs Pisani

  • YFC Prez

    I’m going to leave out the obvious ones. Instead list some of my favorites outside of the likes of the hall of famers Smyth Guerin and weight.

    Horcoff took a lot when he was here. But the man was a Oiler. I liked the player then and consider him one of the faces of the franchises history. Proud he was an oiler.

    In net Roloson and cujo may not be Fuhr or ranford. But they were each so good at times for the oilers.

    This is going to tick some people off but defence I absolutely loved gator and wait for it Lowe. * barricades himself in nuclear bunker* “please he was a hard nosed good d-man, stop throwing stuff at me!” I like this type of dman though. Probably why nurse is my favorite back there now.

  • madjam

    My extended list – J.Arnott ,V.Damphousse, B.Nicholls, J.Murphy , C.Simpson ,J.Carson,K.LInesman and M.Gelinas . Defence – C.Muni . L. Fogolin, I. Kravchuk , S.Smith, D.Manson and J.Beukeboom .

  • JayTee

    I’d even put Draisaitl on the list. He’s trending in that direction anyways. He’s done what only Connor and Weight have done in the last 25 years on this team, and that’s scoring 100 points in a season. He’s also the only one in the last 30 years to score 50 for this franchise.

  • toprightcorner

    Firstly, you have to set a minimum amount of games played. If Crosby was traded to Edmonton and only played 1 year, he would be one of the greatest players to ever play for the Oilers but he would not be one of the greatest Oilers. To be one of the greatest Oilers, you need to have played at your best while with the Oilers. I would say you would have to play for the Oilers for at least 5 seasons so you could set the minimum requirement at 400 games.

    The next requirement would have to be that for those 400+ games as an Oiler, were you consistently one of the best players on the team. If you weren’t one of the best on the team, you can’t be considered one of the best of all time.

    Next, you would have to be considered one of the best Oilers within a 10 year window of your time with the team. This limits it so you don;t end up adding 3-4 players every 5 years, but instead a max of 2-3 players every 10 years. If the Oilers were a dominant team in the league for a period of time, like in the 80’s, that number could increase accordingly.

    If you pass all of those interal Oilers markers, then you need to be compared to the rest of the league. I think you would have to be considered one of the top 30 in the league for at least 300 games either forward or defense.

    If we were to look at the last 15 years, Hemsky and Smyth would be the only ones that would make the cut. Hemskey was considered the best Oiler for most of his career in Edmonton and he was in the top 30 in the league for at least 3-4 years, even with injuries. Horcoff was a very good Oiler, but never considered one of the best.

    For the past 5 years and the next 5 years, McDavid will definitely make the cut and Draisaitl is on his way. McDavid is so dominant that he makes the list today, if Draisaitl scores in the 35-45 goal and 80+ points for 2-3 more years, he would also make the cut as even now he is considered top 20 forwards in the NHL.

    Nobody else that is currently on the Oilers will be even close. Klefbom had been one of the Oilers best dman for the past 3-4 years, but even if he continues to be for the next 3-5 years, he isn’t considered good enough league wide to get the nod.

    Nuge is a very good player and one of the best since he was drafted, but he does not have the league-wide pedigree to make the cut. The only way he may eek onto the list is if he plays his entire career with the Oilers and in doing so, he will probably end up with over 1000 games and 600 pts during a 10+ year career.
    The only other potential Oiler that could be considered over the next 10 years could be Bouchard. If Bouchard ends up being a 50-60 pt player and ends up with 350+ points, then he could be considered in the top 30 of the league over a big chink of that time and then could possibly make the cut. The odds are very slim, but he has the makings of being that player.

  • OilCan2

    Wow. This article and comments made my fan life flash before my eyes. From being at the first game in Edmonton’s Fabulous New Coliseum to my most recently viewed game seeing Nuge & Draisaitl each grab a Hattie. Watch a great parade of awesome players. It should be the 100!