By the time I arrived here in late December of 1989 and was told by my editor at the Edmonton Journal to follow Jim Matheson over to Northlands Coliseum, stay the hell out of the way and help him with coverage of the Oilers, many of the big names from the teams that had already won four Stanley Cup were gone.
Wayne Gretzky had been sold to the Los Angeles Kings and Paul Coffey had been traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins, to name just two. Mark Messier, now captain, remained. So did Jari Kurri, Glenn Anderson, Esa Tikkanen, Charlie Huddy and Grant Fuhr. It was a diminished group, but one that was good enough to produce yet one more run at a Stanley Cup. Enter Joe Murphy and a couple of other youngsters named Adam Graves and Martin Gelinas, who formed the Kid Line.
Joe Murphy
Right Wing
Born Oct 16 1967 — London, ONT
Height 6.01 — Weight 190 [185 cm/86 kg]
Drafted by Detroit Red Wings
Round 1 #1 overall 1986 NHL Entry Draft

BY THE NUMBERS

Season
Age
Tm
GP
G
A
PTS
+/-
PIM
S
S%
1986-87
19
5
0
1
1
0
2
3
0.0
1987-88
20
50
10
9
19
-4
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37
82
12.2
1988-89
21
26
1
7
8
-7
28
29
3.4
1989-90
22
TOT
71
10
19
29
5
60
117
8.5
1989-90
22
9
3
1
4
4
4
16
18.8
1989-90
22
62
7
18
25
1
56
101
6.9
1990-91
23
80
27
35
62
2
35
141
19.1
1991-92
24
80
35
47
82
17
52
193
18.1
1992-93
25
19
7
10
17
-3
18
43
16.3
1993-94
26
81
31
39
70
1
111
222
14.0
1994-95
27
40
23
18
41
7
89
120
19.2
1995-96
28
70
22
29
51
-3
86
212
10.4
1996-97
29
75
20
25
45
-1
69
151
13.2
1997-98
30
TOT
37
9
13
22
9
36
81
11.1
1997-98
30
27
4
9
13
8
22
52
7.7
1997-98
30
10
5
4
9
1
14
29
17.2
1998-99
31
76
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25
23
48
10
73
176
14.2
1999-00
32
TOT
55
12
15
27
1
94
118
10.2
1999-00
32
26
7
7
14
-7
41
68
10.3
1999-00
32
29
5
8
13
8
53
50
10.0
2000-01
33
14
1
5
6
-5
20
22
4.5
4 yrs
CHI
210
83
96
179
2
304
597
13.9
4 yrs
DET
90
14
18
32
-7
71
130
10.8
3 yrs
EDM
222
69
100
169
20
143
435
15.9
2 yrs
SJS
86
30
27
57
11
87
205
14.6
2 yrs
STL
102
24
34
58
7
91
203
11.8
2 yrs
WSH
43
6
13
19
3
73
72
8.3
1 yr
BOS
26
7
7
14
-7
41
68
10.3
Career
779
233
295
528
29
810
1710
13.6
PLAYOFFS
Season
Age
Tm
GP
G
A
PTS
+/-
PIM
S
S%
1987-88
20
8
0
1
1
-2
6
5
0.0
1989-90
22
22
6
8
14
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1
16
29
20.7
1990-91
23
15
2
5
7
3
14
22
9.1
1991-92
24
16
8
16
24
2
12
32
25.0
1992-93
25
4
0
0
0
-2
8
8
0.0
1993-94
26
6
1
3
4
2
25
12
8.3
1994-95
27
16
9
3
12
-1
29
69
13.0
1995-96
28
10
6
2
8
1
33
38
15.8
1996-97
29
6
1
1
2
-2
10
8
12.5
1997-98
30
6
1
1
2
-1
20
10
10.0
1998-99
31
6
0
3
3
0
4
21
0.0
1999-00
32
5
0
0
0
-2
8
8
0.0
Career
120
34
43
77
-1
185
262
13.0

NOTABLE

Messier, pushing 30, was the man for John Muckler’s team during the post-Gretzky era. No mistake about that, not with 129 points in the 1989-90 regular season. Kurri and Anderson were still go-to guys as well. Still, it was questionable if the Oilers, a 90-point team, had enough depth, even with Craig Simpson and Petr Klima in the mix, to get the better of teams like Boston (101 points), Buffalo (98 points) and the hated Calgary Flames (99 points).
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Muckler got the secondary bang he was looking for when he put Murphy, a former first overall draft pick by the Detroit Red Wings, Graves, who’d come with Murphy along with Klima in the Jimmy Carson trade, and Gelinas, part of the Gretzky deal, together. Murphy, who managed just 25 points in 62 games during the regular season, would be the catalyst on the line with 14 points in 22 post-season games (Graves had 11 points and Gelinas five).
Messier and Simpson led the charge with 31 points each while Kurri had 25, Tikkanen 24 and Anderson 22, but the Kid Line played a big hand in pushing the Oilers over the top as they beat Winnipeg in the first round, Los Angeles in the second, Chicago in the third and Boston in the 1990 Cup final. Murphy got the Game 4 winner in overtime to end the series against the Kings and the game-winner and series-decider in Game 6 against Chicago.
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THE STORY

That last sweet sip of champagne for the Oilers wasn’t even Murphy’s finest overall playoff performance in Edmonton. That would come during the 1992 playoffs. Murphy, who had his best regular season as an Oiler with 35-47-82, followed that with a team-leading 24 points in 16 post-season games, including two game-winners against Vancouver in the second round. The Oilers were swept in four games by Chicago in the third round.
All told, Murphy amassed 45 points in 53 playoff games with the Oilers, including the 1991 playoffs when he had just seven points in 15 games. The bottom line is that while Murphy never did live up to the billing that came as a first overall draft pick as an NHLer after being taken by Detroit, he was mostly money when it really mattered during his tenure in Edmonton.
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“They put our line together about the third game of the playoffs and all I recall is us just saying ‘Let’s go out there and work hard,’” Gelinas said of the 1990 Cup team. “Murph had a lot of skill and Gravy was the big, heavy guy. All three of us combined created a pretty good energy and a big buzz. We got some timely goals, but more importantly when we were on the ice we were just making things happen.”
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.
Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TSN 1260.

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