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NHL History: The Infamous 1990 Draft

Maybe everybody was still hungover from their Stanley Cup celebrations.

It’s difficult to say exactly what happened, but, 30 years ago today, the Oilers had one of the worst drafts in NHL history.

In their first three years in the NHL, the Oilers had an incredible run at the NHL entry draft. Between 1979 and 1981, they managed to snag Kevin Lowe, Mark Messier, Glenn Anderson, Paul Coffey, Jari Kurri, Grant Fuhr, and Steve Smith, who, along with Wayne Gretzky, would form one of the greatest teams hockey has ever seen.

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After that, though, the luck at the draft completely dried up. There were a few hits here and there, like Jeff Beukeboom, Esa Tikkanen, and Kelly Buchberger, but the Oilers would spend the majority of the 80s striking out when it came to the draft.

The 1990 draft was stacked with talent. With the first overall pick, the Quebec Nordiques selected Owen Nolan. At fifth overall, the Penguins selected Jaromir Jagr, who went on to become the second-highest scoring player in NHL history. With the 20th pick, the New Jersey Devils grabbed Martin Brodeur, who now holds the NHL’s record for all-time wins.

There was also plenty of talent that went under the radar. The Rangers snagged future Hall of Fame defenceman Sergei Zubov in the fifth round while Los Angeles and Washington hit home runs with Robert Land and Peter Bondra, who went in the seventh and eighth round respectively.

So, who did the Oilers snag in this star-studded draft? Nobody. Not a single one of Edmonton’s 11 draft picks that year played a game in the NHL.

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Not Scott Allison, not Alexander Legault, not Joe Crowley, not Joel Blain, not Greg Louder, not Keijo Sailynoja, not Mike Poker, not Roman Majzlik, not Richard Zemlicka, not Petr Korinek, not Sami Nuutinen.

Thankfully, Glen Sather made up for this flub of a draft by doing what he did best — making a good trade.

A few years later, he sent Esa Tikkanen to the Rangers in exchange for their second-round pick from the 1990 draft, Doug Weight. With 1033 points to his name, many of which came in Edmonton, Weight is the third-highest scorer from the 1990 draft class.

Who needs to draft when you can make deals like that, right? Right?!!