Edmonton Oilers

Five best draft picks outside of the first round in Edmonton Oilers’ history

There have been countless legendary players that have and will go through the Edmonton Oilers organization. Despite some rough years with little to show for their efforts, the NHL draft has helped the team acquire many of the most important pieces to their successes.

When looking for the best draft picks in Oilers history, we could easily stop at just the first-round, high-end picks and call it a day. But we want to go deeper and find the players who had successful careers while being drafted in the later rounds of the draft.

So here are five of the best draft picks in Edmonton Oilers history outside of the first round.

Mark Messier

Mark Messier was part of possibly the greatest draft class in Oilers history, the 1979 draft. It was their first as an NHL team and set the standards high for future performance.

Messier was selected in the third round, 48th overall, from the Cincinatti Stingers of the WHA. He very quickly jumped to the NHL and played 75 games in his rookie season, recording 33 points.

From there, Messier turned into one of the greatest players in the team’s history as he was an integral part of all five Stanley Cup teams through the dynasty years. He spent 12 seasons in Edmonton, recording 1034 points in 851 games. He set career highs of 50 goals and 129 points (in separate seasons) with the Oilers.

With Edmonton, Messier won a Conn Smythe Trophy in 1984 as well as a Hart Trophy and Lester B. Pearson Award (now the Ted Lindsay Award) for his efforts in the 1989–90 season. Although he only spent three seasons as captain of the Oilers, they did win their last Stanley Cup with him wearing the C in 1990.

This third-round pick became one of the most recognizable names in Oilers history who left a lasting impact not only on this franchise, but the entire league as well. Messier was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2007, with his number 11 being retired by the Oilers later that same year.

Glenn Anderson

Glenn Anderson was another part of that amazing 1979 draft class. The fourth-round pick of the team, going 69th overall, spent one season developing elsewhere after being drafted before joining the Oilers.

From there, he spent the following 11 seasons with the Oilers, playing a major role in all five of their Stanley Cup wins. Although he may not have gotten the accolades and attention that some other members of the team did, there is no discounting the importance of his presence to these teams.

Anderson put up two 50-goal seasons on his way to scoring 417 goals and 906 points in 845 regular season games with the Oilers. Not to be overlooked are his 81 goals and 183 points in 164 playoff games which were a significant contribution to Edmonton’s success in the dynasty years.

Anderson was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2008, with his jersey number nine lifted to the rafters by the Oilers shortly after in early 2009.

Jari Kurri

This Finnish winger became a staple alongside Wayne Gretzky for some of the highest scoring seasons in NHL history. Jari Kurri, drafted in the fourth round (69th overall) in 1980 quickly established himself as one of the most important pieces to the Oilers dynasty and one of the most recognizable names in team history.

Kurri very quickly joined the NHL after being drafted and made an immediate impact, with 32 goals and 75 points in 75 games in his rookie season. From there, he only got better. Kurri reached career highs of 71 goals and 135 points in the 1984–85 season, a year in which he also won the Lady Byng Trophy.

He, too, was a key member of all five Stanley Cup winning teams iced by the Oilers. In 146 playoff games with Edmonton, he had 92 goals and 202 points, including four playoff runs in which he led the league in goals scored. The Oilers won the Cup in each of those four runs.

Kurri was inducted into the Hall of Fame and had his number 17 retired by the Oilers in 2001.

Esa Tikkanen

Esa Tikkanen is yet another of the integral members of the dynasty years who was acquired with a draft pick. Selected in the fourth round (80th overall) in the 1983 NHL Draft, he spent a few years developing and jumping between the NHL and AHL before finally becoming a full-time NHLer for the 1986–87 season.

He most often lined up alongside Wayne Gretzky and Kurri, playing a role as an agitator, pest, and defensive player to complement the offensive power of the other two. Tikkanen’s role on these teams was important to helping Edmonton win four of their Stanley Cups.

Even though he wasn’t needed to score, he was no slouch offensively. In 522 games, Tikkanen had 178 goals and 436 points to go along with his 759 penalty minutes.

He was perhaps most known in NHL circles for his unique dialect that baffled most everyone. Often referred to as Tikkanese, he found himself combining English and Finnish with a variety of accents that left opponents and teammates, including Kurri, confused.

Shawn Horcoff

When Shawn Horcoff was drafted in the fourth round, 99th overall, back in the 1998 NHL Draft, the stars aligned for him to be something meaningful for the franchise at that pick.

Horcoff worked his way up through the Oilers lineup through determination and work ethic. He was a focal point of the team for some pretty rough years and earned the captaincy for three seasons until his eventual trade out of Edmonton.

Horcoff was a player who continually improved on his game and added more skills to his toolbag until he hit his peak in the 2005–06 season. He had career highs of 22 goals and 73 points in 79 games, including another 19 points in 24 playoff games during the team’s run to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2006.

Unfortunately, a shoulder injury derailed him a couple of seasons after that and he was never able to regain form. During the 2008 season, he was on pace for his first 30-goal season after putting up 50 points in 53 games, earning his first All-Star Game appearance. It was at that All-Star Game where a lingering shoulder injury was aggravated and caused him to miss the remainder of the season. And although the following year he still had 53 points, his game was never quite the same.

Honourable Mentions

Kelly Buchberger

Although he may not be as flashy as some of the other names on this list, Kelly Buchberger was a longtime Oiler who stuck with the team through countless ups and downs during his lengthy tenure with the team. Drafted all the way back in the ninth round (188th overall) in 1985, he spent a couple years developing until making his NHL debut in the 1987 playoffs and being a full time NHLer for the 1988–89 season.

In total, Buchberger spent 12 years with the Oilers, including parts of four seasons as team captain, before being selected in the expansion draft by the Atlanta Thrashers. He had 240 points and 1747 penalty minutes in 795 games in Edmonton.

Fernando Pisani

Fernando Pisani, an eighth round pick (195th overall) in the 1996 NHL Draft, cemented his place in Oilers folklore with an incredible performance in the 2006 Stanley Cup Playoffs. His 14 goals led the league in playoff scoring, as did his five game winning goals. This was the peak of his career in terms of production, but he was still a valued member of the team’s depth for years after that. His place in team history during that playoff run puts him in this category as one of the best late-round draft picks in Oilers history.

Who else would you add to this list? Drop a comment down below, there are plenty of other players who could see their names pop up here!

Sean Laycock

Sean is a stubborn, lifelong Oilers fan who lives by the motto "There is always next year".

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