As command performances go, you have to look long and hard to find one better than the beauty Bill Ranford turned in over a stretch of seven weeks during the spring of 1990 when he backstopped the Edmonton Oilers to their fifth Stanley Cup and copped the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP along the way.
And talk about tough acts to follow as an exclamation mark to that post-season performance, well, they don’t get any better. Acquired in a trade with Boston that sent Andy Moog to Beantown a couple seasons earlier, Ranford was forced into the spotlight that spring with Grant Fuhr out with a bum shoulder. His transformation from back-up to backbone was nothing short of stunning, especially if you consider how badly his coming out party started.

Bill Ranford

Goalie — Catches Left
Born Dec 14 1966 — Brandon, MAN
Height 5.11 — Weight 185 [180 cm/84 kg]
Drafted by Boston Bruins
Round 3 #52 overall 1985 NHL Entry Draft

BY THE NUMBERS

Season
Age
Tm
GP
W
L
T/O
SV%
GAA
SO
MIN
1985-86
19
4
3
1
0
.906
2.50
0
240
1986-87
20
41
16
20
2
.891
3.33
3
2234
1987-88
21
6
3
0
2
.899
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2.95
0
325
1988-89
22
29
15
8
2
.877
3.50
1
1509
1989-90
23
56
24
16
9
.887
3.19
1
3107
1990-91
24
60
27
27
3
.893
3.20
0
3415
1991-92
25
67
27
26
10
.884
3.58
1
3822
1992-93
26
67
17
38
6
.884
3.84
1
3753
1993-94
27
71
22
34
11
.898
3.48
1
4070
1994-95
28
40
15
20
3
.883
3.62
2
2203
1995-96
29
TOT
77
34
30
9
.885
3.29
2
4322
1995-96
29
37
13
18
5
.875
3.81
1
2015
1995-96
29
40
21
12
4
.894
2.83
1
2307
1996-97
30
TOT
55
20
23
10
.887
3.25
2
3156
1996-97
30
37
12
16
8
.887
3.49
2
2147
1996-97
30
18
8
7
2
.888
2.74
0
1009
1997-98
31
22
7
12
2
.901
2.79
0
1183
1998-99
32
TOT
36
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6
18
4
.885
3.64
1
1812
1998-99
32
32
3
18
3
.881
3.90
1
1568
1998-99
32
4
3
0
1
.918
1.97
0
244
1999-00
33
16
4
6
3
.885
3.59
0
785
10 yrs
EDM
449
167
193
54
.887
3.51
8
25004
4 yrs
BOS
122
52
49
14
.891
3.19
6
6928
2 yrs
WSH
40
15
19
4
.896
2.76
0
2192
1 yr
DET
4
3
0
1
.918
1.97
0
244
1 yr
TBL
32
3
18
3
.881
3.90
1
1568
Career
647
240
279
76
.888
3.41
15
35936

PLAYOFFS

Season
Age
Tm
GP
W
L
SV
SV%
GAA
SO
MIN
1985-86
19
2
0
2
37
.841
3.50
0
120
1986-87
20
2
0
2
47
.855
3.90
0
123
1989-90
23
22
16
6
613
.912
2.53
1
1401
1990-91
24
3
1
2
70
.897
3.56
0
135
1991-92
25
16
8
8
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433
.895
3.37
2
909
1995-96
29
4
1
3
96
.857
4.02
0
239
1998-99
32
4
2
2
95
.905
3.28
1
183
Career
53
28
25
1391
.897
3.07
4
3110

NOTABLE

Ranford was a member of the Edmonton’s 1988 Stanley Cup team after being acquired from Boston in March of that season, but he’d essentially been a cheerleader while Fuhr carried the load – Fuhr played every post-season game on 1988 and 1989. Ranford didn’t play a minute between the pipes. Then came the 1990 post-season. With Fuhr out, Ranford, just 23, got the crease. No pressure, kid.
To say things started badly for Ranford is to understate in the extreme. In the first game of the opening round against Winnipeg, the Jets pumped seven pucks past Ranford in a 7-5 win. Four games in, the Jets led the series 3-1 and Ranford was being shown up by Winnipeg’s Bob Essensa and getting ripped righteously in the newspapers. Then, Ranford buckled down. The Oilers came back to win that series as part of a 15-3 run that ended with a 4-1 series win over Moog and the Bruins and a fifth Stanley Cup. In Game 1 of the final series Ranford made 50 saves and the Oilers won 3-2 in triple-overtime on Petr Klima’s goal.
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“The way I started didn’t help our situation against Winnipeg,” Ranford said of being thrown into the deep end against the Jets to start the miraculous run. “It was a learning thing. Not having Grant and going with a young goalie, there was that transition and a learning process not just for myself but for the team . . . I took a lot of abuse for that game and that became a determining factor for me to prove everybody wrong, that was I was able to do it.”

THE STORY

Aside from the 1990 post-season that defined his career, I’ll remember Ranford as one of the most entertaining stoppers to watch. Long before today’s watching-paint-dry butterfly style choked much of the life out of the crease, Ranford was a two-pad stack demon, an athletic, undersized goaltender who never gave up on a puck. Kick save. Pad stack. An accomplished flopper he was – in his rookie season with the New Westminster Bruins of the WHL in 1983-84, Ranford and Eldon Reddick formed the most athletic crease tandem I’ve ever seen.
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Traded back to Boston in January of 1996 with that 1990 Oiler Cup team a fading memory, Ranford would also make stops in Washington, Tampa Bay and Detroit before circling back to Edmonton in 1999-2000 when he made 16 appearances as the back-up to Tommy Salo. Later, he’d play with Edmonton’s oldtimers in the 2003 Heritage Classic, throwing in a two-pad stack or two just for old time’s sake.
All told, Ranford won 167 regular season games and 28 more in the playoffs for the Oilers. Only Fuhr, with 227, has more career regular season wins in Edmonton’s crease. Nobody has faced more shots or made more saves. Simply put, while that playoff stretch in 1990 is what etched Ranford’s name in Oiler folklore and is what fans most fondly remember, there was much more to him than that.
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This series will look at the top 100 Edmonton Oilers from the NHL era 1979-80 to 2014-15, starting with 100 and working up.

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