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NHL History: Edmonton Oilers draft Ryan Smyth, Jason Bonsignore 26 years ago today

One of the worst and best days combined happened for the Edmonton Oilers happened 26 years ago today.

That day was the 1994 NHL entry draft where the Oilers drafted Jason Bonsignore fourth overall, making it the worst day, and Ryan Smyth sixth overall, making it the best day.

Bonsignore was a highly touted prospect in that draft after an OHL season that saw him score 86 points in 58 games. A big, strong and skilled centre, he was set to be a threat in the NHL for years to come.

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Instead, he only played 21 games for the Edmonton Oilers and had an NHL career that lasted only 79 games. Bonsignore has widely been considered to be one of the biggest busts in NHL history.

He was traded from the Oilers alongside Bryan Marchment and Steve Kelly on December 30th, 1997 to the Tampa Bay Lightning for Roman Hamrlik and Mike Comrie. The Oilers made out pretty good in that deal.

And on the other hand, the selection of Ryan Smyth was nothing short of huge for the Oilers. He turned out to have one of the best careers of any players in that draft.

Smyth retired in 2014 after a 19 year, 1270 game career that saw him score 386 goals and 842 points. He ranks first among players from the 1994 draft class in games played, third in goals, fourth in assists and third in total points.

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Only Daniel Alfredsson and Patrik Elias had more points than Smyth.

An Oiler for 15 years, Smyth embodied everything that it means to be an Edmonton Oiler. He was the absolute heart and soul of the team for so long and that’s why he will forever go down in history as one of the best Oilers to ever don the jersey.

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In his final game for the Oilers on April 11th, 2014, he wore the C on his chest and fans came him an incredible cheer as he lapped the rink. In my eyes, one of the biggest mistakes the Oilers could’ve made was not making him captain years sooner.

On Twitter: @zjlaing