22 Days Until The Season Begins

Cam Lewis
7 months ago
Throughout the summer and into the fall, we’ll be counting down the days until the Edmonton Oilers begin their 2023-24 season with a daily trip down memory lane. Today at No. 22 we have Roman Hamrlik, one of the best defencemen the team had during the 90s.
The Tampa Bay Lightning made Hamrlik their first-ever draft pick with the first-overall selection in the 1992 draft. He jumped into the NHL as an 18-year-old and was immediately tasked with being one of the top defencemen on a brand-new team.
Hamrlik had some big seasons offensively with the Lightning, highlighted by 1995-96 when he scored 65 points and finished seventh in Norris Trophy voting, but struggled on the defensive side of the ice and posted a minus-124 rating with Tampa over 377 games.
The Oilers traded for Hamrlik in the middle of the 1997-98 season. The team had a paltry 11-20-9 record at the end of December and badly needed a defenceman who could move the puck and provide offence. They traded two struggling former top picks, Steve Kelly and Jason Bonsignore, along with veteran shutdown defender Bryan Marchment to the Lightning for Hamrlik and Paul Comrie.

The Oilers lost Hamrlik’s first three games with the team but then went on a season-changing six-game winning streak in January. Hamrlik logged 25:12 per game on average and scored 26 points over 41 games as the Oilers snuck into the playoffs with a 35-37-10 record. They pulled off an upset over the Colorado Avalanche in the first round but lost to the Dallas Stars in the second.
Hamrlik scored 32 points in 75 games for the Oilers in 1998-99 and 45 points in 80 games in 1999-00 and rounded out his defensive game to become an effective top-pairing blueliner. During the off-season in 2000, Hamrlik was traded to the New York Islanders in exchange for Eric Brewer, Josh Green, and a second-round pick that was used on Brad Winchester.
After Edmonton, Hamrlik spent four seasons with the Islanders, two with the Calgary Flames, four with the Montreal Canadiens, and made short stints with the New York Rangers and Washington Capitals. He played 1,395 games in the NHL and put up 638 points.


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