He was in Oilers training camp in the fall of 1999, with rookie head coach Kevin Lowe (and his assistant Craig MacTavish) evaluating the talent.
He was up and down like a yo-yo in 99-00 because of injuries. Called up and sent down the first time in October, and the final time in March when a flood of injuries hit.
With the Oilers very close to releasing their official training camp roster, I thought it might be interesting to take a look back at fall 1999 (8 years ago) and see who we were talking about back then:
- #1-Kristian Antila: Finn didn’t have much of a pro career in North America.
- #5-Tom Poti: He had marvelous skill but holes in his game. He seems to have straightened everything out and incredibly has played 594 NHL games at age 30.
- #7-Esa Tikkanen: Finishing up his wonderful NHL career, the Oilers gave an invite to the legendary Finn. He’d be in Finland for 99-00 playing a final season for Jokerit in the SM-LIIGA, but did play in the World Championships.
- #8-Frank Musil: He missed entire 1999-2000 season recovering from spinal cord injury in training camp, October 2, 1999. Now an Oilers scout, that injury pretty much ended his career (it was a good one, he played 797 NHL games).
- #9-Bill Guerin: 99-00 was his final full season with the Oilers. Guerin has played very well this decade for numerous clubs, and this season passed the 1,000 NHL games mark.
- #10-Pat Falloon: The Oilers signed him as a free agent the previous summer (1998) and he scored 17 goals. In 99-00, he played 33 regular season games before Pittsburgh claimed him on waivers. This was his final season in the NHL, a disappointing career for the 2nd overall pick in 1991 (575 career NHL games).
- #12-Eric Houde: He had a decent pre-season in 99-00 (1-2-3), but was sent down to the AHL and never played in the NHL for the Oilers (or anyone else. He played 30 games for the Habs 96-99).
- #14-Vladimir Vorobiev: On March 23, 1999 the Oilers dealt RW Kevin Brown to NYR for Vorobiev who had a nice season for the Rangers AHL club. He scored two goals in two games for the Oilers after coming over. He was sent to the AHL in fall 1999 and was playing in the IHL by the end of the 99-00 season.
- #15-Chad Kilger: He was coming off a solid season in 98-99, but struggled badly and would end up being dealt in 2000. Kilger has had a pretty good career as a role player since leaving Edmonton, and has played 661 NHL games.
- #17-Rem Murray: In August 1999 Rem avoided arbitration by signing a 1-year, $825,000 deal. It would be a tough year for him, as on November 4th the Oilers placed him on the injured reserve list with a torn medial collateral ligament in his right knee. Raymond Joseph would be good as new the following season, and had a nice NHL career. He played 560 NHL games.
- #18-Ethan Moreau: Ethan wore numbers 40 and 19 with the Hawks, but settled in with #18 as an Oiler. He’s played 685 NHL games in his career and played them all the same way.
- #19-Boyd Devereaux: He scored 3 goals in pre-season and then went out and had his best season in terms of points (27), a number he has not surpassed during the ensuing 8 years. He’s played 542 games and is 29. Devereaux’s career was affected by a Dallas Drake hit in 99-00. The Oilers set him free and he signed a big deal with Detroit, winning a Stanley with them in 2002.
- #20-Josef Beranek: The Oilers had high hopes for Beranek on his second tour of duty with them, but he had a poor season and was dealt at the deadline for German Titov. He finished his NHL career with 531 career games.
- #21-Jason Smith: On March 23, 1999, the Oilers made a terrific hockey trade. Giving up only a 4th rder and a 2nd rder, they got a quality NHL defender spring 1999-spring 2007. Smith was sent away this spring with 868 NHL games on his resume.
- #22-Roman Hamrlik: This would be the final season with EDM for Hamrlik, who paired with Poti in 99-00 to form a solid combination. He had a fine offensive season and has now played 999 NHL games. He’s also that rare defender who has exceeded 100 career NHL goals.
- #23-Sean Brown: Just 23 years old, Brown was still finding his way as an NHL player in 99-00. He never did get that top 4D role on the Oilers and was sent away at the deadline in 2002. Brown has now played in 436 NHL games.
- #24-Christian Laflamme: I always have a good feeling about this player because he got the Oilers Igor Ulanov on March 9, 2000. He played 324 career NHL games.
- #25-Mike Grier: The big man spent much of his Oiler career following 20-goal seasons with 9-goal seasons, and in 99-00 it was time for 9 goals. One of the players I miss the most from that late 90s/early 00′s teams, he has now played 774 NHL games.
- #26-Todd Marchant: Recent Stanley Cup winner was already a young veteran who could be counted on by 99-00 (which was his 5th full NHL season). He has played 891 NHL games.
- #27-Georges Laraque: This would be his first full NHL season, as BG had been on the EDM-HAM flight the two previous seasons. Has had a nice NHL career as an enforcer, and has played in 563 NHL games.
- #28-Alexei Selivanov: He would score 27 goals for the Oilers in 99-00, but in June 2000 the Oilers would not qualify him because they didn’t feel he was consistent enough to have earned a 10% pay increase from the 1.7M he earned in 99-00. He spent a season with Columbus and then passed out of the NHL with 459 career games (121 goals).
- #29-Bert Robertsson: I believe he was the last forward/defenseman the Oilers employed (I’m not counting Staios) before the beloved Toby Petersen. He was a pretty useful player and lost in the expansion draft, June 2000.
- #30-Bill Ranford: On August 4th, 1999, the Oilers signed Ranford as a free agent with the idea that he’d backup Tommy Gun. He played in 16 games, had a SP of .885 and went 4-6-3. He had a very long NHL career, 647 games and of course backstopped the Oilers to their 1990 Stanley. He officially retired April 24, 2000.
- #31-Eric Heffler: He had a nice season in the AHL in 99-00 as a first year pro, outplaying Mike Minard (Heffler played in 47 games and had a SP of .910. However, he didn’t build on it and was coaching for Princeton(NCAA) by 2002-03.
- #32-Mike Minard: He was drafted by the Oilers in 1995 and made his NHL debut in 99-00, playing in his only game and winning it. From there he signed as a minor league free agent with the Leafs and had a couple of nice seasons in the minors and this past season he played for the Belfast Giants.
- #33-Dan Lacouture: He scored a goal in pre-season 99-00 and scored 23 goals in the minors. He also got a 5 game cup of coffee with the Oilers near the end of the season because of injuries to Mike Grier (torn triceps muscle), German Titov (biceps), Todd Marchant (ankle), Bill Guerin (hip) and Georges Laraque (knee). Lacouture has played 326 NHL games so far.
- #34-Jim Dowd: Lordy I miss Jim Dowd. One of the reasons I’m doing this is a discussion we had the other day about that 4th line on this team. Dowd was the center and a beauty, the Oilers lost him the same day they lost Robertsson in the expansion draft. Dowd has played in 655 NHL games.
- #35-Tommy Salo: Tommy Gun played in 70 games, going 27-28-13 with the Oilers. He boasted a .914SP that season, the best of his career. He played 526 NHL games.
- #36-Sean Selmser: Right winger was a Red Deer Rebel in the early 90s, but came to the Oilers out of the IHL. He had over 200pims in a season 4 times in his minor league career, and played 1 NHL game for Columbus in 00-01.
- #37-Brian Swanson: On August 20, 1999, the Oilers would sign him to a pro contract. Swanson would go to Hamilton after training camp and have a terrific season centering the top scoring line with Daniel Cleary on RW and Michel Riesen on LW. Two rarities: Both wingers played the off-wing, and all three came to the NHL as a line in fall 2000. The line lasted one dozen games. Swanson played 70 NHL games, all but two with the Oilers.
- #38-Michael Henrich: The Oilers would send him to junior after taking a fairly long look at him (he was sent out a few days after the first big round of cuts, after he was cut the roster stood at 36 and they would send out only 2 more RWs), but that probably represented the high water mark of his pro career.
- #39-Doug Weight: He was coming off an injury plagued season and was on his way to a 90-point season (second best of his career). Weight won a Stanley after leaving in summer 2001 and has now played in 1,064 NHL games. He’d be a strong candidate for the best career among the 99-00 Oilers.
- #40-Daniel Cleary: Considering how often he was called up and sent down in 99-00, his AHL season (74 points in 58 games) is even more impressive. Cleary has now played in 477 NHL games.
Part 2 coming up.