Jason Strudwick is a man of many talents. Aside from re-inventing names and mangling the English language as a guffawing radio talk show host and pushing the human limits of singing off-key as a member of the Bubblegum Gang, Strudwick’s most noteworthy, and probably unlikely, accomplishment is that he hung around the NHL for 674 regular season games, including 186 with the Edmonton Oilers.
Strudwick, a plodding skater, managed that feat despite having not even a thimble full of offensive ability or creativity, because he was willing to put in the work, knowing he could be sitting in the press box instead of on the bench when the game started. He maximized marginal talent with work ethic and the willingness to give his teammates everything he had. If that’s not the definition of an unsung hero, I don’t know what is.
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Jason Strudwick

Defense — shoots L
Born Jul 17, 1975 — Edmonton, ALTA
Height 6.03 — Weight 230 [191 cm/104 kg]
Drafted by New York Islanders
Round 3 #63 overall 1994 NHL Entry Draft

BY THE NUMBERS

Season
Age
Tm
GP
G
A
PTS
+/-
PIM
S
S%
TOI
ATOI
1995-96
20
1
0
0
0
0
7
0
1997-98
22
TOT
28
0
2
2
-2
65
8
0.0
1997-98
22
17
0
1
1
1
36
3
0.0
1997-98
22
11
0
1
1
-3
29
5
0.0
1998-99
23
65
0
3
3
-19
114
25
0.0
833
12:49
1999-00
24
63
1
3
4
-13
64
18
5.6
958
15:12
2000-01
25
60
1
4
5
16
64
21
4.8
599
9:59
2001-02
26
44
2
4
6
4
96
13
15.4
429
9:45
2002-03
27
48
2
3
5
-4
87
19
10.5
409
8:32
2003-04
28
54
1
3
4
-16
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73
32
3.1
805
14:55
2005-06
30
65
3
4
7
-10
66
31
9.7
1009
15:31
2006-07
31
8
0
0
0
0
2
3
0.0
109
13:40
2007-08
32
52
1
1
2
0
40
21
4.8
673
12:57
2008-09
33
71
2
7
9
-4
60
32
6.3
896
12:38
2009-10
34
72
0
6
6
-18
50
19
0.0
1219
16:56
2010-11
35
43
0
2
2
-16
23
9
0.0
648
15:04
5 yrs
VAN
243
4
15
19
-15
367
82
4.9
2818
12:09
3 yrs
EDM
186
2
15
17
-38
133
60
3.3
2763
14:51
3 yrs
NYR
125
4
5
9
-10
108
55
7.3
1791
14:20
2 yrs
CHI
102
3
6
9
-20
160
51
5.9
1215
11:55
2 yrs
NYI
18
0
1
1
1
43
3
0.0
Career
674
13
42
55
-82
811
251
5.2
8588
13:19

PLAYOFFS

Season
Age
Tm
GP
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G
A
PTS
+/-
PIM
S
S%
ATOI
2000-01
25
2
0
0
0
0
0
0
2:15
2005-06
30
3
0
0
0
-1
0
2
0.0
13:35
2007-08
32
2
0
0
0
0
0
0
9:41
Career
7
0
0
0
-1
0
2
0.0
9:14

WHY HE MAKES IT

I’m not cracking on Strudwick here with the comments about lack of talent and creativity because traits like that don’t mean a damn thing if you aren’t willing to apply them to the job at hand. There have been plenty of examples of that over the years — players with twice the ability of guys like Strudwick who never got more than a cup of coffee in The Show, let alone more than 600 games, because they couldn’t be bothered to break a bead of sweat.
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That was never an issue with Strudwick, who toiled on some of the worst Oiler teams in the history of the franchise. He played for three different head coaches in three seasons at the start of a reluctant rebuild. Strudwick had all of 17 points during that tenure as a third-pairing blueliner. His calling card was doing the dirty work — blocking shots, banging bodies, dropping the gloves to stand up for a teammate when the situation called for it and always being ready to play. That’s a tough gig. That’s being a pro.
In two of his seasons here, the Oilers managed all of 62 points — once under Pat Quinn and the other time under Tom Renney after an 85-point season under Craig MacTavish. These were Oiler teams that were overmatched and overwhelmed on a nightly basis. Suffice to say, it’s easier to put the work in on a front-runner or a playoff contender because there’s something to play for. These teams were not that. The Oilers were hopelessly out of contention by the New Year in two of Strudwick’s three seasons here.
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THE FINE PRINT

In 2009-10, Strudwick finished second on the team in blocked shots (138) to Tom Gilbert, who had 162. Strudwick played 72 games and averaged 16:56 in ice time per game. Gilbert, a first-pairing guy, played 82 games with an average ice time of 22:25. Strudwick had six points that season, leaving him with a blocks-to-points-ratio (my contribution to advanced stats) of 23-to-1. That, folks, is the epitome of doing the grunt work.
Of course, we give Strudwick a hard time around here because he’s been a friend and contributor to Oilersnation (whomever edited his raw copy deserves to be on this list) since retiring in 2011. Then, there’s the sweaters and the hair and the awful karaoke and the on-air WTF moments — like the bouquet of flavors coming in his mouth. That laugh. We’ve had a steady diet of that since June, when Strudwick took over as the full-time co-host of the Jason Gregor Show on TSN 1260.
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All that said, Strudwick earned his place on this list. It’s not surprising he runs a hockey camp for defensemen here in Edmonton. Guys like him tend to end up being coaches or instructors because they had to pay attention to every detail to get to the NHL in the first place, let alone stay there. He was a beauty, and the kind of player every team needs. If you want to read a bit more about Strudwick off the ice, there’s a terrific piece by Gregor here.
This series of various Top 10 lists will focus on the post-1990 Oilers – the players who haven’t played on a Stanley Cup winner in Edmonton.