I’ve been wondering about the Edmonton Oilers and their gifted kids. Folks, I don’t think there’s a way to screw this up to any significant level. Unless the Oilers pull an “Arnott” or trade one of the kids on an entry level deal for a Bouwmeester it seems to me this train should drive deep into the first division.
Playoff success is less predictable.
How many of the current Oilers could we answer ‘yes’ to when applying their name to the following question:
- Could the Oilers win a Stanley with (player name) as their (position on the roster)?
The hard part is done. Right? The Heart of the Order is Hall, Nuge, Yakupov, Eberle, Petry, Schultz. Veterans like Hemsky, Smyth, Horcoff, Smid, added to quality young talents like Gagner, Paajarvi, the coming blue, Dubnyk?
By 1980-81, the Oilers had:
- C: Gretzky, Matti Hagman, Stan Weir
- L: Messier, Brett Callighen, Dave Hunter, Dave Semenko
- R: Kurri, Anderson, Blair MacDonald, Dave Lumley, Donny Murdoch, Curt Brackenbury
It’s interesting to look back and see which of these men played on special teams. This is from hockey reference, goals for on the PP and GA on the PK
PP GF (on ice)
- Gretzky 67
- Kurri 36
- MacDonald 27
- Callighen 25
- Hagman 19
- Messier 17
- Anderson 16
- Semenko 11
- Murdoch 11
I remember this team well, look at those Gretzky wingers–old and new–on the ice for the magic. The kids (Mess and Andy) doing well with their time and Murdoch matching Semenko in half a season. Fun group there, Hagman’s long forgotten but he was a nice player.
PK GA (on ice)
- Weir 44
- Messier 30
- Hunter 29
- MacDonald 18
- Gretzky 17
- Anderson 13
Weir played the current Horcoff role, and we can see Messier–even as a young man–doing the tough work. Hunter is on this list but not Lumley–I was surprised but do remember Lumley being in the doghouse one long damn time and this might have been the winter.
We can match today’s forwards to the legendary team pretty well–99, Messier, Kurri, Anderson would be Nuge, Hall, Eberle, Yakupov–and we can match some of the others (Weir=Horcoff, Smyth=MacDonald or Callighen) but I keep coming back to the third line–Hunter, Lumley, even Callighen–those checkers who may not score but also don’t give up a score while the best players get a breather.
That little area right there–the Weir/Hagman/Callighen/Hunter/MacDonald group–that’s the next step for Steve Tambellini. I expect some will come from the group of kids that includes Lander, Paajarvi, Hartikainen and Pitlick, but also believe that acquiring a player or two with some experience–like Hunter and Lumley by 1981–is a very good plan.