If there was one thing we learnt in part one of this series, it’s that Edmonton Oiler Hall of Famers loved single digit numbers.
It’ll be hard to match the star-studded cast that was numbers 1 to 10, but considering Edmonton’s storied history, we are still a long way from seeing the last of some of hockey’s best players (Spoiler: there’s a doozy of a player at the very last spot!)
In part two we are going to see an even more diverse set of players that span—quite literally, the entire 44-year history of the club—right from some of the team’s orginal stars to some current roster players.
Let’s take a look at the best of the best wear numbers 11 to 20 in the orange and blue.
#11 – Mark Messier
Wasting no time in getting into some iconic names here.
Mark Messier is the epitome of what the City of Edmonton stands for. If Messier wasn’t throwing elbows and scoring copious amounts of goals, he’d certainly be working some sort of gritty, unforgiving blue collar job and thriving.
Nicknamed “The Moose”, Messier is usually the second player that people think of when the dynasty Oilers are mentioned, and for good reason. During his Oilers career, he put 1034 points and was a key piece for all five Stanley Cups for the franchise.
After leaving, he added to his legend with a sixth cup with the New York Rangers before calling it a career after a stint with the Vancouver Canucks.
In all, he stands as the third highest scoring NHL player of all-time with 1887 points.
#12 – Dave Hunter
Sticking with the tough players, Dave Hunter was among the toughest to suit up for the club.
Hunter was an orignal Oiler, playing a single year in the WHA before spending parts of 10 years with the club after they merged into the NHL. During that time, he established himself as a hardworking checking forward that found a home in Edmonton’s bottom six.
In his tenure, he racked up an area code worth of penalty minutes (780) and was able to also pitch in offensively with 290 points in 653 games with the club. He was Edmonton’s original role player and perhaps one of the best.
#13 – Ken Linseman
When you are popularly known as “The Rat’” you know there is something memorable about you.
Ken Linseman was a player Edmonton would have hated to play against but loved to have. His ability to get under the skin of opposing players was unmatched during his time and it’s this annoying, perhaps loveable in the eyes of Oilers fans, style of play that made him a popular player in his relatively short stint with the team.
He backed up this play with solid offensive ability as well, putting up 75 and 67 points in two of his three season with Edmonton. He was also a member of the team’s first Stanley Cup victory in 1984.
#14 – Jordan Eberle
The most recent player (not for long) on the list and one that I hold close to my heart.
For older fans, I’m sure that Craig MacTavish will forever be 14 on the Oilers, but for the younger generation of fans, Jordan Eberle was the cream of the crop. His legend began with Team Canada, scoring some of the country’s most iconic goals at the World Junior tournament and then led into a fairly productive stint with the Oilers to begin his NHL career.
We all know where we were when Ebs scored that insanely beautiful goal in his debut game against Calgary.
He isn’t just here for the flashy goals, I assure you. During his 507-game career in Edmonton, he was able to notch 382 points on some VERY bad Oiler teams. For some nights, early on, he was one of the only reasons to tune in to watch the team.
A single disappointing playoff—his only playoff with the team—spelt the end of his tenure, and ever since the Oilers have been searching for his replacement.
#15 – Fredrik Olausson
I will say that most players on this list have some semblance of notoriety and are somewhat reocgnizable. This one isn’t as far as I know.
The number 15 has been scarcely used by Oilers players, but if I had to choose the one who wore it best, it’s Fredrik Olausson.
Olausson cut his teeth with the Winnipeg Jets in the late 80s to early 90s and was actually a really good player for them. If this were a Jets list I’d probably have a lot kinder things to say. Though his 108 games and 44 points with Edmonton mark him as a more obscure Oiler.
#16 – Kelly Buchberger
From a player who didn’t play a long time in Edmonton to one that played over 700 with the club.
Kelly Buchberger wasn’t the most skilled player on the ice, but for many, he is the player that people think about when they think about Oilers hockey in the 1990s.
He served as the team’s captain for three and half seasons from 1995 to 1999 and holds a unique spot in Oilers history as the having taken the most penalty minutes at a whopping 1747, almost 500 more than the next player.
That hard-nosed play helped him get entrenched into the hearts of fans during a very tumultuous period of Oilers’ history.
#17 – Jari Kurri
The original “Finnish Flash” was an Edmonton Oiler and one of the best players of all-time.
Jari Kurri, you could argue, holds the honour of being the best Edmonton Oilers to ever play not named Wayne Gretzky. Kurri was the perfect player for the high-flying Oilers of the 1980s and probably would have built a legend of his own if he was the only good player that team.
The fact that he was able to play on a line with Gretzky was the absolute icing on the cake and did he ever take advantage of that fact. Kurri was a goal-scoring machine in Edmonton and ranks second in franchise history with 474 goals and 1043 points.
His #17 was the second number ever retired by the organization and is rightly regarded as the best Finnish player to ever play.
#18 – Zach Hyman
Yes, I think Zach Hyman has done enough to warrant a spot with #18. I know that Craig Simpson and Ethan Moreau exist, but Hyman has been more productive and has more iconic moments in his two seasons with Edmonton that I think he belongs here.
Hyman is such an easy player to root for in that he plays a style of hockey that is reminiscent of players like Ryan Smyth. He has built himself a solid role of a forechecking top-six forward that has a knack at cleaning up garbage in front of the opposing team’s net.
He has built career highs in goals and points in each of the least two seasons in Edmonton and he has his share of moments in the playoffs (see Calgary 2022 and the LA overtime goal.)
That is all to say that this is only the beginning of Hyman’s time in Edmonton as he is signed through 2028, which is plenty of time to build a legacy.
I’m prepared to catch heat here, but I stand by it.
#19 – Marty Reasoner
There were some slim pickings at #19, but Marty Reasoner stood out above the rest.
Reasoner was another role player for the club and enjoyed six years with the Oilers between 2001 and 2008; though he did miss out on the 2006 cup run after being traded to Boston for Sergei Samsonov.
Although he was never an impact player on the club, he provided some good depth scoring, picking up 121 points in 351 games with the Edmonton.
#20 – Dave Lumley
Yet another member of the dynasty Oilers makes the list and Dave Lumley is kind of a fun one.
He was never going to surpass the superstardom of the top of the roster but, once again, he was the perfect fit in the team’s bottom six and played the role of “checking forward” to perfection. He was an essential cog in the machine that helped it run at peak performance.
He helped the team win their first two cups and was fairly productive in a limited role with 230 points in 386 games in Edmonton. He also holds the franchise record with goals in 12 consecutive games.
Photo by Curtis Comeau/Icon Sportswire
(Read Part 1 here)