1996–97 Edmonton Oilers season

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1996–97 Edmonton Oilers
Division 3rd Pacific
Conference 7th Western
1996–97 record 36–37–9
Home record 21–16–4
Road record 15–21–5
Goals for 252
Goals against 247
Team information
General Manager Glen Sather
Coach Ron Low
Captain Kelly Buchberger
Alternate captains Luke Richardson
Doug Weight
Arena Edmonton Coliseum
Average attendance 16,043 (93.8%)
Minor league affiliate(s) Hamilton Bulldogs (AHL)
Wheeling Nailers (ECHL)
Team leaders
Goals Ryan Smyth (39)
Assists Doug Weight (61)
Points Doug Weight (82)
Penalties in minutes Kelly Buchberger (159)
Plus/minus Bryan Marchment (+13)
Wins Curtis Joseph (32)
Goals against average Bob Essensa (2.83)

The 1996–97 Edmonton Oilers season was the Oilers' 18th season in the NHL, and they were coming off a 30–44–8 record, earning 68 points, in the 1995–96 season, failing to qualify for the post-season for the 4th straight season.

The Oilers would have their best season since 1991–92, as they would win 36 games, and earn 81 points, finishing in third place in the Pacific Division, and seventh in the Western Conference, earning their first playoff berth in five years. The main reason for the Oilers' turn-around was their solid goaltending and defensive hockey, allowing 247 goals, which was 57 fewer goals than the previous season.

Regular season[edit]

On November 26, 1996, the Oilers defeated their provincial rival Calgary Flames on the road by a score of 10-1.[1] Ten different Oilers scored in the game. It was the first time that the Oilers had scored 10 goals in a regular-season game since December 4, 1988, when they defeated the New York Rangers at home by a score of 10-6.[2]

Offensively, Doug Weight who led the club once again in points, earning 82, and a club high 61 assists, while Ryan Smyth would have a breakout season, scoring a team high 39 goals and leading the team in power-play goals with 20. Andrei Kovalenko, acquired in the off-season, would score 32 goals and 59 points, while Jason Arnott would earn 57 points in 67 games. Rookie Mike Grier had 32 points in 79 games and Mariusz Czerkawski finished third on the team in goals with 26. Boris Mironov would anchor the defense, earning 32 points in only 55 games. Todd Marchant led the team in shorthanded goals with 4 and team captain Kelly Buchberger provided the team toughness, earning a club high 159 penalty minutes.

In goal, Curtis Joseph would get the majority of playing time, winning 32 games, while posting a 2.93 GAA and a .907 save percentage, and set a team record with 6 shutouts. Bob Essensa, and despite a strong GAA of 2.83, he would win only 4 games.

The Oilers had the most power-play opportunities during the regular season, with 406.[3]

Season standings[edit]

Pacific Division
No. CR GP W L T GF GA Pts
1 1 Colorado Avalanche 82 49 24 9 277 205 107
2 4 Mighty Ducks of Anaheim 82 36 33 13 243 231 85
3 7 Edmonton Oilers 82 36 37 9 252 247 81
4 9 Vancouver Canucks 82 35 40 7 257 273 77
5 10 Calgary Flames 82 32 41 9 214 239 73
6 12 Los Angeles Kings 82 28 43 11 214 268 67
7 13 San Jose Sharks 82 27 47 8 211 278 62

Note: CR = Conference rank; GP = Games played; W = Wins; L = Losses; T = Ties; GF = Goals for; GA = Goals against; Pts = Points
         Bolded teams qualified for the playoffs.

Western Conference[4]
R Div GP W L T GF GA Pts
1 p – Colorado Avalanche PAC 82 49 24 9 277 205 107
2 Dallas Stars CEN 82 48 26 8 252 198 104
3 Detroit Red Wings CEN 82 38 26 18 253 197 94
4 Mighty Ducks of Anaheim PAC 82 36 33 13 245 233 85
5 Phoenix Coyotes CEN 82 38 37 7 240 243 83
6 St. Louis Blues CEN 82 36 35 11 236 239 83
7 Edmonton Oilers PAC 82 36 37 9 252 247 81
8 Chicago Blackhawks CEN 82 34 35 13 223 210 81
9 Vancouver Canucks PAC 82 35 40 7 257 273 77
10 Calgary Flames PAC 82 32 41 9 214 239 73
11 Toronto Maple Leafs CEN 82 30 44 8 230 273 68
12 Los Angeles Kings PAC 82 28 43 11 214 268 67
13 San Jose Sharks PAC 82 27 47 8 211 278 62

Divisions: CEN – Central, PAC – Pacific

bold – Qualified for playoffs; p – Won Presidents' Trophy


Schedule and results[edit]

1996–97 Game Log

Legend:   Win (2 points)   Loss (0 points)   Tie (1 point)

Playoffs[edit]

The Oilers would face the Central Division winning Dallas Stars in the opening round of the playoffs. After splitting the first 2 games in Dallas, the Oilers returned home for game 3 for their first home playoff game since 1992, and found themselves losing 3–0 with about 4 minutes remaining in the 3rd period. Edmonton would then strike for 3 goals to tie the game, and Kelly Buchberger would provide the overtime heroics, as the Oilers would win the game 4–3 and take a 2–1 series lead. Dallas would tie the series up again in game 4, however, the Oilers would shock the Stars, winning 1–0 in double overtime in the 5th game in Dallas, and returning to Edmonton in a position to clinch the series. The Stars would spoil the Oilers' party, winning the 6th game 3–2, setting up a game 7 at Reunion Arena in Dallas. The game would be a memorable one, as the score was tied up at 3 as the teams would head into overtime. Todd Marchant would turn out to be the hero, scoring for the Oilers in the 1st overtime, as Edmonton would complete the upset, defeating the Stars in 7 games.

In the 2nd round, Edmonton would face the defending Stanley Cup champions, the Colorado Avalanche, who won the Pacific Division and had 26 more points than the Oilers during the season. The Avalanche would win the opening 2 games easily in Denver, and while the Oilers would rebound to win the 3rd game, the Avs proved to be too much for Edmonton to handle, as they would win the series in 5 games, ending the Oilers' season.

1997 Stanley Cup Playoffs

Season stats[edit]

Scoring leaders[edit]

Player GP G A Pts PIM
Doug Weight 80 21 61 82 80
Ryan Smyth 82 39 22 61 76
Andrei Kovalenko 74 32 27 59 81
Jason Arnott 67 19 38 57 92
Mariusz Czerkawski 76 26 21 47 16

Goaltending[edit]

Player GP TOI W L T GA SO Save % GAA
Bob Essensa 19 868 4 8 0 41 1 .899 2.83
Curtis Joseph 72 4200 32 29 9 200 6 .907 2.93

Playoff stats[edit]

Scoring leaders[edit]

Player GP G A Pts PIM
Doug Weight 12 3 8 11 8
Ryan Smyth 12 5 5 10 12
Boris Mironov 12 2 8 10 16
Jason Arnott 12 3 6 9 18
Kelly Buchberger 12 5 2 7 16

Goaltending[edit]

Player GP TOI W L GA SO Save % GAA
Curtis Joseph 12 767 5 7 36 1 .911 2.82

Awards and records[edit]

Awards[edit]

Records[edit]

  • 3: Tied NHL record for most short-handed goals in a playoffs by Todd Marchant on ???, 1997.

Milestones[edit]

Regular Season
Player Milestone Reached
Mike Grier 1st NHL Game October 4, 1996
Dan McGillis 1st NHL Game
1st NHL Assist
1st NHL Point
Rem Murray 1st NHL Game
1st NHL Goal
1st NHL Point
Kelly Buchberger 1,400th NHL PIM October 8, 1996
Rem Murray 1st NHL Assist
Ryan Smyth 1st NHL Hat-trick
Luke Richardson 1,100th NHL PIM October 11, 1996
Louie DeBrusk 200th NHL Game October 20, 1996
Mike Grier 1st NHL Assist
1st NHL Point
Doug Weight 300th NHL Point
Rem Murray 1st NHL Hat-trick October 24, 1996
Mike Grier 1st NHL Goal October 26, 1996
Doug Weight 300th NHL PIM November 1, 1996
Mats Lindgren 1st NHL Game
1st NHL Goal
1st NHL Point
November 3, 1996
Andrei Kovalenko 100th NHL Assist November 6, 1996
Mats Lindgren 1st NHL Assist
Jason Arnott 200th NHL Game November 7, 1996
Mariusz Czerkawski 1st NHL Hat-trick
1st NHL Natural hat-trick
Jason Arnott 100th NHL Assist November 9, 1996
Bryan Marchment 1,200th NHL PIM
Curtis Joseph 20th NHL Assist November 13, 1996
Boris Mironov 200th NHL Game
Kelly Buchberger 600th NHL Game November 17, 1996
Andrei Kovalenko 200th NHL Point November 23, 1996
Dan McGillis 1st NHL Goal November 26, 1996
Bob Essensa 300th NHL Game November 27, 1996
Kevin Lowe 1,200th NHL Game December 1, 1996
Michel Petit 1,700th NHL PIM December 4, 1996
Andrei Kovalenko 200th NHL PIM December 12, 1996
Andrei Kovalenko 100th NHL Goal December 18, 1996
Boris Mironov 300th NHL PIM December 23, 1996
Andrei Kovalenko 300th NHL Game December 30, 1996
Miroslav Šatan 100th NHL Game January 7, 1997
Jason Arnott 200th NHL Point January 15, 1997
Curtis Joseph 10th NHL Shutout
Ryan Smyth 100th NHL Game January 24, 1997
Jeff Norton 500th NHL Game
Mariusz Czerkawski 100th NHL Point February 9, 1997
Jeff Norton 400th NHL PIM
Doug Weight 400th NHL Game
Bryan Marchment 400th NHL Game February 13, 1997
Mariusz Czerkawski 2nd NHL Hat-trick February 19, 1997
Boris Mironov 100th NHL Point
Sean Brown 1st NHL Game February 21, 1997
Kelly Buchberger 1,500th NHL PIM
Ryan Smyth 100th NHL PIM March 1, 1997
Joe Hulbig 1st NHL Game March 4, 1997
Luke Richardson 700th NHL Game March 9, 1997
Jeff Norton 300th NHL Point March 11, 1997
Kelly Buchberger 200th NHL Point March 19, 1997
Craig Millar 1st NHL Game
Todd Marchant 200th NHL Game March 23, 1997
Steve Kelly 1st NHL Game March 24, 1997
Luke Richardson 100th NHL Point March 28, 1997
Steve Kelly 1st NHL Goal
1st NHL Point
March 29, 1997
Jason Arnott 400th NHL PIM April 4, 1997
Doug Weight 100th NHL Goal April 5, 1997
Playoffs
Player Milestone Reached
Jason Arnott 1st NHL Game
1st NHL Assist
1st NHL Point
April 16, 1997
Mats Lindgren
Dan McGillis
Boris Mironov
Rem Murray
Drew Bannister 1st NHL Game
Greg de Vries
Louie DeBrusk
Mike Grier
Ryan Smyth
Todd Marchant 1st NHL Game
1st NHL Goal
1st NHL Point
Bryan Marchment 50th NHL PIM
Mike Grier 1st NHL Goal
1st NHL Point
April 18, 1997
Boris Mironov 1st NHL Goal
Ryan Smyth 1st NHL Goal
1st NHL Assist
1st NHL Point
Todd Marchant 1st NHL Assist April 20, 1997
Jason Arnott 1st NHL Goal April 22, 1997
Bryan Muir 1st NHL Game
Mike Grier 1st NHL Assist April 29, 1997
Joe Hulbig 1st NHL Game
1st NHL Assist
1st NHL Point
Rem Murray 1st NHL Goal
Steve Kelly 1st NHL Game
Greg de Vries 1st NHL Assist
1st NHL Point
May 7, 1997

Transactions[edit]

Trades[edit]

June 14, 1996 To Detroit Red Wings
Future considerations
To Edmonton Oilers
Bob Essensa
June 22, 1996 To Pittsburgh Penguins
Tyler Wright
To Edmonton Oilers
7th round pick in 1996 - Brandon Lafrance
September 6, 1996 To Montreal Canadiens
Scott Thornton
To Edmonton Oilers
Andrei Kovalenko
March 18, 1997 To Buffalo Sabres
Miroslav Satan
To Edmonton Oilers
Barrie Moore
Craig Millar
March 18, 1997 To Tampa Bay Lightning
Jeff Norton
To Edmonton Oilers
Drew Bannister
6th round pick in 1997 - Peter Sarno

Free agents[edit]

Player Former Team
F Jesse Belanger Vancouver Canucks
D Kevin Lowe New York Rangers
D Michel Petit Tampa Bay Lightning
F Petr Klíma Pittsburgh Penguins
Player New Team
F David Roberts Vancouver Canucks
F Kent Manderville Hartford Whalers

Draft picks[edit]

Edmonton's draft picks at the 1996 NHL Entry Draft

Round # Player Nationality College/Junior/Club Team (League)
1 6 Boyd Devereaux  Canada Kitchener Rangers (OHL)
1 19 Matthieu Descoteaux  Canada Shawinigan Cataractes (QMJHL)
2 32 Chris Hajt  Canada Guelph Storm (OHL)
3 59 Tom Poti  United States Cushing Academy (USHS)
5 114 Brian Urick  United States Notre Dame Fighting Irish (NCAA)
6 141 Bryan Randall  Canada Medicine Hat Tigers (WHL)
7 168 David Bernier  Canada St-Hyacinthe Lasers (QMJHL)
7 170 Brandon Lafrance  Canada Ohio State Buckeyes (NCAA)
8 195 Fernando Pisani  Canada St. Albert Saints (AJHL)
9 221 John Hultberg  United States Dubuque Fighting Saints (USHL)

Roster[edit]

1996-97 Edmonton Oilers
Goaltenders

Defensemen

Wingers

Centres

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.hockey-reference.com/boxscores/199611260CGY.html
  2. ^ http://www.hockey-reference.com/boxscores/198812040EDM.html
  3. ^ http://www.hockey-reference.com/leagues/NHL_1997.html
  4. ^ "1996-1997 Conference Standings Standings - NHL.com - Standings". NHL. 
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