Introducing: The Erstwhile Oilers

Given the absence of the Edmonton Oilers from the playoffs for a third consecutive year, I have once again taken up the bittersweet pursuit of following the Erstwhile Oilers, that group of former home-town heroes who, like Ray Whitney (pictured twice here), are contributing elsewhere. There are a few dozen Erstwhile Oilers scattered around the NHL, but come playoff time there usually seems to be just enough to fill a regulation NHL roster. So it is in 2009, where I have identified a "roster" of 25 active players with historical ties to the Oilers organization.

Here's that imaginary roster including 2008-09 stats (playoff stats through Apr 26):

54 GP, 36-11-7, 2.10, .933
(4, 4-0, 1.50, .925)
40 GP, 25-11-2, 2.58, .909
(0, all zeroes)
15 GP, 5-5-2,,, 2.84, .907
(2, 0-0, 0.00, 1.000)

82 GP, 12-36-48, EV (5, 1-1-2, +6)
71 GP, 7-26-33,, +11(6, 0-3-3, +3)
81 GP, 6-27-33,, +4 (4, 0-0-0, -5)
82 GP, 3-18-21,, +23(3, 0-0-0, -5)
52 GP, 3-10-13,, +2 (6, 2-4-6, +1)
65 GP, 3-5-8,,,, +8 (4, 0-0-0, -1)

82 GP, 24-53-77, +2 (6, 2-4-6, -1)
79 GP, 25-25-50, +1 (6, 1-1-2, +1)
79 GP, 21-27-48, -12(6, 2-1-3, +3)
81 GP, 16-32-48, -8 (5, 0-1-1, EV)
E.Cole, CAR
80 GP, 18-24-42, EV (6, 0-0-0, -1)
74 GP, 14-26-40, +14(5, 0-3-3, -1)
D.Cleary, DET
74 GP, 14-26-40, EV (4, 2-3-5, +6)
65 GP, 17-19-36, +3 (2, 0-0-0, EV)
62 GP, 10-13-23, +8 (5, 0-0-0, -1)
49 GP, 8-14-22,, +8 (4, 0-1-1, EV)
71 GP, 4-18-22,, -6 (4, 0-0-0, +1)
64 GP, 13-8-21,, -1 (4, 0-0-0, -4)
R.Torres, CBJ
51 GP, 12-8-20,, -4 (4, 0-2-2, -3)
72 GP, 5-13-18,, -2 (5, 0-1-1, +2)
K.Maltby, DET
78 GP, 5-6-11,,, -9 (4, 0-0-0, -2)
33 GP, 0-2-2,,,, -6 (4, 0-0-0, -1)

Not the most balanced of rosters, especially up front where there are just two full-time centres in Peca and Marchant; so happens that Arnott, Weight, Stoll, Reasoner and Comrie all missed the playoffs this season. No Smytty either. Such is the nature of the "filter"; these aren't the best of the ex-OIlers, merely the ones who have played (or at least dressed) in the post-season. Which, of course, is more than one can say about any current Oilers.

I'm sure I missed a couple along the way, especially of the Tim Thomas type
, who was Edmonton property for a time without ever playing an NHL game for the Oil. Please post any names that come to mind in the comments section.

Only the Devils, Canucks and Hawks don't have any ex-Oilers, while the Hurricanes and Scott Howson's Blue Jackets each have 4.

While the list speaks for itself, I certainly do not mean to imply that all of these guys moving on represent mistakes by Oilers management; indeed several of them were moved for each other so there is no way we could have kept all of them. Of particular note is the sequence Woywitka-begat-Pronger-begat-Lupul-begat-Pitkanen-begat-Cole-begat-O'Sullivan, all trades which have occurred since the lockout. All but Woywitka (who is standing in for the injured Eric Brewer) were the primary player in their respective trades both coming and going. The key point seems to be the Oilers have never been able to stabilize what should be an important asset, with each guy arriving with high expectations but moving on to greener pastures after a year or even less. Need I add, all but O'Sullivan have played in the 2009 post-season.

I'll leave it as an exercise to the reader to establish imaginary line combinations for the Erstwhile Oilers, such as the Pennies-on-the-Dollar Line of Whitney, Satan and Chimera ...

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