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Underdog Week: Doug Weight

Edmonton Oilers v Boston Bruins Photo by Steve Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images

Doug Weight was the Oilers’ best player when I was a kid. In fact, when I first started watching hockey, he was the best player.

The coolest thing about that, is that, based on the information I’ve give you, it’s still not clear how old I am.

Weight was the Oilers’ leading scorer seven times. The only season that he started with the Oilers, and didn’t lead the team in scoring, was 1998-99, when he missed 39 games due to injury, and still comfortably led the team in points per game.

He was the team’s offensive engine from 1993-2001. It may not have been the best stretch in team history. In fact, following the dynasty of the 80s, I’d imagine it would’ve been tough to watch the team settle into mediocrity. But, those late 90s teams were a scrappy bunch of underdogs, just like their leader.

Weight was a second round draft pick by the New York Rangers, who played his amateur hockey for Lake Superior State, of the NCAA, where he was teammates with his future Oilers teammate Jim Dowd.

He was acquired for a well-known member of Oilers championship teams, Esa Tikkanen. But Tikkanen, though still in his late 20s, was declining, and actually being outscored by the 22-year-old Weight at the time of the trade.

It’s tough to imagine a similar trade happening today, but it sure worked out well for the Oilers.

Over his 588 games in Edmonton, Weight recorded 577 points. His 0.98 points per game average trails only Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, among post-dynasty era Oilers (1990-2020).

Going by Hockey Reference’s Adjusted Points, which makes cross-era point comparisons easier, by accounting for scoring inflation, Weight averaged over an adjusted point per game (626 in 588). Since 1990 only three Oilers share that distinction, with at least 200 games played for the club: McDavid, Draisaitl, and Taylor Hall. Though Weight leads the group both in service time and total adjusted points, as of right now. Also, the other members of this exclusive club were picked 1st, 3rd , and 1st overall, respectively.

Weight’s seven team scoring titles trails only Wayne Gretzky’s nine for the most in team history. And, though McDavid will hopefully stick around long enough to surpass both of them, Weight’s eight year reign as the team’s best player is only a year shorter than Gretzky’s, and in my opinion they are the only two players who can claim that distinction for a period of more than five seasons.

Weight had a season of over 100 points, and another of 90 in an era where every other Oiler was struggling to break 60. He played his entire prime here and nearly averaged a point per game in his eight and a half year tenure. He surpassed 1000 points in his career, despite spending his best years in the dead puck era.

From 1993-2001 he had the 17th most points in the entire league, and more than 300 more than any other Oiler. He doesn’t get talked about enough as one of the best players of his generation. In my opinion, he should eventually be inducted into the hockey hall of fame.

It may be a long shot, but the odds of a second rounder from Lake Superior State putting up those numbers have got to be pretty long as well.