The Edmonton Oilers have been dynamic in the offensive zone through much of their franchise history. They have always had players who could find the back of the net on a regular basis, leading the Oilers to five Stanley Cups. However, not all there great forwards were goal scorers. Some made a difference with their toughness, grit and leadership. They are the glue guys. The unsung heroes, that are the backbone to every championship team.
Today we look at the left wingers from Oilers history, to determine the best of the best. You will notice that we have a good mix of scorers and glue guys on the list.
There are a couple of players that deserve to be mentioned who barely missed the cut. Dave Hunter scored 119 goals during his 10 seasons in oil country and was part of three Stanley Cup winning teams. Vincent Damphousse only spent a season with the Oilers, but had a very impressive year. He tallied 89 points on 38 goals and made the all-star game.
10. Kelly Buchberger- Buchberger spent 12 seasons in Edmonton playing 795 games. He wasn’t much of and offensive threat, only scoring 82 goals but that isn’t the reason he makes the list. Buchberger was as tough as nails and did whatever it took to win. He was also a great leader, wearing the captain’s C his last four seasons in Edmonton.
9. Ethan Moreau- Moreau was a member of the Oilers from 1999 through 2010. Moreau was very similar to Buchberger, in the fact that he didn’t do his best work on the offensive end. But like Buchberger, Moreau was a hard-nosed player who left it all on the ice. Moreau captained the Oilers, the last three seasons he was in Edmonton. During the 653 games Moreau spent in Edmonton, he registered 212 points including 112 goals.
8. Shayne Corson- Corson only spent three seasons in Edmonton, but was very productive as an Oiler. He scored 53 goals and added 84 assists in 192 games while making the all-star game in 1994. Also a great team leader, Corson wore the Captain’s C his last year in Edmonton.
7. Dustin Penner- Penner spent parts of four seasons as an Oiler and found the back of the net 93 times while also adding 93 helpers. Penner’s best season in Edmonton came in 2009-2010, when he scored 32 goals and added 31 assists in 82 games.
6. Taylor Hall- Hall is a huge part of Edmonton’s very bright future, but has already done enough in three shorts year,s to make the list. Hall was the first overall selection in the NHL entry draft by Edmonton in 2010 and has provided a spark from the get go. Hall’s best statistical season came just last year when he scored 50 points in 45 games, placing him top ten in the NHL in assists, points and points per game.
5. Mike Krushelnyski- Krushelnyski spent four seasons with the Oilers and won three Stanley Cups. He scored 95 goals in those fours seasons, including 43 in 1984-1985 to help him land in the all-star game. That year, he also tallied 45 assists, making it the best statistical season of his career.
4. Esa Tikkanen- Tikkanen spent his first seven and a half years in the NHL, as a member of the Edmonton Oilers, after being selected in the fourth round of the 1983 entry draft. During his time as an Oiler, Tikkanen scored 178 goals to go along with 258 assists, totaling 436 points. Not bad when you consider he only played 522 games. For his time in Edmonton, Tikkanen walked away with four Stanley Cup rings.
3. Craig Simpson- Simpson lands at number three on this list because he knew how to put the puck in the back of the net. In five and a half seasons as an Oiler, Simpson registered 185 goals in only 419 games, helping Edmonton win two Stanley Cups. His best season came in his first season in Edmonton, when Simpson scored 43 goals in 59 games. When you add the 13 goals he scored before being acquired by the Oilers, Simpson finished the year with 56 goals, good for second in the NHL.
2. Ryan Smyth- after a five year hiatus, Smyth is back in oil country where he belongs. Smyth spent the first 11 plus years of his NHL career as an Edmonton Oiler and has played a key role in their success for a long time. During his time as an Oiler, Smyth has scored 286 goals and registered 322 assists while making one all-star game. The brain trust for the Canadian national team thought so highly of Smyth, that he made a World Cup team as well as Two Olympic teams.
1. Mark Messier- Messier split his time on the ice as a left winger and a center, but since he deserves the recognition of being number one, I counted him on the wing. Messier played professional hockey for an astounding 25 years, with his first 12 as an NHLer, being an Oiler. During his 12 seasons in Edmonton, Messier played 851 games and registered 392 goals to go along with 642 assists. Messier also led Edmonton to five Stanley Cups before he left the Oilers at age 30. The amount of awards that are attached to Messier’s name as an Oiler are lengthy but most are well worth mentioning. He played in eight all-star games, was a first team all-star three times, as well as winning the Hart Trophy as the leagues MVP and the Conn Smythe Trophy as the MVP of the playoffs. Not bad for a third round pick.