We know there hasn’t been much success in Edmonton the past eight seasons now, but during the 1980s they were the team.
Back in 1984, the Oilers started their dynastic run by ending the New York Islanders’ dynasty beating them in five games. Now, 30 years later, they’re getting the band back together again on Oct. 10 to celebrate the first of what ultimately became five Stanley Cup titles in Edmonton.
As Derek van Diest of the Edmonton Sun shared, the idea to get everyone back together was Wayne Gretzky’s.
“I think everybody, which Wayne (Gretzky) alluded to, and him being the architect of getting this idea, wanted to see the guys and get together,” Oilers President and member of that ’84 team Kevin Lowe said. “We’ve never celebrated the team in any capacity, we did have the Heritage Classic in 2003, which was a bit of a celebration. This is a real fitting event and it looks like everybody is going to be here.”
By “everybody” Lowe means just about everyone involved with the Oilers’ success. Players, coaches, scouts, equipment staff, and executives will all be part of the celebration. We’ll see if former owner Peter Pocklington is welcome since he’s the guy who traded Gretzky and all.
That ’84 Oilers team was one of the most talented teams ever assembled. With Gretzky, Mark Messier, Jari Kurri, Grant Fuhr, Paul Coffey, and Glenn Anderson along with coach Glen Sather they scored 446 goals that season, 86 more than the second-best scoring team, the Quebec Nordiques.
Justin Schultz was perhaps the most hotly pursued free agent defenseman of the summer not named Ryan Suter.
The unsigned Anaheim Ducks draft pick was courted heavily by teams and his desire to play back home in Canada won him over as he signed a two-year deal with the Oilers. After playing three years for the University of Wisconsin, he’ll now look to earn a spot in the Oilers top-six along the blue line.
The question people have now is whether or not he’s worth the hype. The numbers he put up in college certainly lead you to believe he is.
After playing in the national championship during his freshman year, Schultz broke out in a big way the next two seasons scoring 34 goals and adding 54 assists during those years. In each of those seasons he was a Hobey Baker Award finalist, college hockey’s top prize. Managing to do that in both his sophomore and junior seasons is rare.
Can those skills translate into the pro game? The Oilers and GM Steve Tambellini sure hope so. After spending the No. 1 pick three years running on forwards, Edmonton’s severely lacking defensive corps was lacking a young stud of their own.
If Schultz pans out the way many believe he can, he’ll have fans in Edmonton thinking he’s the Paul Coffey of a new generation of young Oilers stars.
With all the discussion he’s generated lately, you’d think Justin Schultz was the next Paul Coffey (who called him, by the way). For some, all the talk is fascinating. Others are growing tired of all the hubbub about a guy who hasn’t skated a single NHL shift. Wherever you rest, an answer will come soon. Bob McKenzie reports that the unrestricted rookie will announce his decision tomorrow.
Could it be the Edmonton Oilers? Perhaps the much-hinted-upon Vancouver Canucks? Might he defy the expectations that he’ll sign with a team in Western Canada?
We’ll find out tomorrow, which will give Schultz one more day in the limelight before a deluge of other news bits on July 1.
As far as finding out how good he is, we won’t get our first sign for a few months. It would be awfully disappointing if he was the rookie defenseman answer to Fabian Brunnstrom, though, wouldn’t it?
For a guy who’s never played a shift of NHL hockey,* unrestricted free agent defenseman Justin Schultz sure has the league’s many teams tripping over their own feet to impress him. Depending on whose rumors you consume, the likes of the Vancouver Canucks and Minnesota Wild are among the frontrunners. Still, the Edmonton Oilers are high on the list of “teams who could really use Schultz” and they’re pulling out all the stops.
Apparently that means having Oilers legends Wayne Gretzky and Paul Coffey give him a call to pump the team up in his eyes, as Darren Dreger reports.
Who knows how much of a difference that will make, but for a franchise that – to many – hasn’t done much right, this is a commendable gamble. Schultz gets the best of both worlds, too; even if he doesn’t sign with the Oilers, he’s one of the few humans who can say that Gretzky and Coffey tried to “pitch” to him.
(He better be good, huh?)
* – Or maybe partially because he hasn’t played a shift of hockey, and thus, will be relatively cheap thanks the the entry-level maximum limits …
Evgeni Malkin did more than just retake the lead in the NHL’s point race by registering three assists on Sunday, he also surpassed a key career milestone. Malkin got his 500th career point on Matt Niskanen’s first period goal. You can take a look at the play for yourself below.
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As you saw, Boston’s Adam McQuaid was injured on the play. He has an upper body injury and his availability for Tuesday’s game is unknown.
Malkin went onto record points 501 and 502 in his 413rd career game. He’s still no Sidney Crosby, who has 584 points in 420 contests. However, in a franchise that has been home to some legendary players, Malkin is fifth on the team’s all-time points per game list behind just Paul Coffey, Jaromir Jagr, Crosby, and Mario Lemieux.
He also is arguably the biggest reasons why the Pittsburgh Penguins have a 42-21-5 record in a season where Crosby has only played in eight of their first 68 games. He’s got some fierce competition, but there are a lot of reasons to like Malkin’s chances of winning his first Hart Trophy.