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Edmonton Oilers: Power Ranking Every Oilers Captain

Adam BowenContributor IIIDecember 21, 2016

Edmonton Oilers: Power Ranking Every Oilers Captain

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    The Edmonton Oilers franchise has quite a storied history and have been lucky enough to boast some of the best players in the NHL, some of whom have also been lucky enough to earn the honor of team captain.

    The captain isn't always the player with the most skill or the most vocal guy on and off the ice, but is a player that brings a certain set of intangibles to the game that sometimes go unnoticed by fans.

    While some of the captaincy choices for the Oilers have been pretty straight forward, there have been more than a couple that have left fans scratching their heads.

    Here is the power ranking of all 13 of the captains in Edmonton Oilers history (excluding the WHA Oilers franchise). 

13. Shayne Corson

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    Shayne Corson was the worst and most disappointing captain in Edmonton Oilers history so it's only fitting that he had the shortest reign.

    Corson has the dubious distinction of being the only captain stripped of the Oilers captaincy after an incident with then rookie Jason Arnott. 

    Corson was an average player on a pretty average team, and it seemed as if the future of the Oilers improved drastically once he was traded to St. Louis in a deal that saw Edmonton receive Curtis Joseph and Mike Grier from the Blues

12. Blair MacDonald

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    Blair MacDonald was named the second captain in team history after three successful seasons with the Edmonton Oilers.

    MacDonald was charged with helping develop such emerging talents like Mark Messier and Wayne Gretzky, but ultimately lost his spot on the Oilers' first line.

    MacDonald only played in 53 games during his season as captain and was traded to the Vancouver Canucks at the 1980-81 trade deadline. 

11. Ron Chipperfield

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    Ron Chipperfield was the first Oilers captain after the team left the WHA and joined the NHL.

    In their first season in the NHL Chipperfield added a modest 45 points, but the young team didn't manage much success in the new league.

    Chipperfield was traded in March of 1980, ending his brief tenure as captain for the team. 

10. Ethan Moreau

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    While Shawn Horcoff could be at the bottom of the list due to his horrendous contract, Ethan Moreau takes the dubious honor simply because he never really did much for the Oilers and wasn't a captain who really stood out.

    The man who replaced Jason Smith as captain of the Edmonton Oilers was nothing more than a gritty third line player whose career high in points for a season was 32.

    A day after being named captain, Moreau was sidelined thanks to a fractured tibia from blocking a shot. While some may argue that it was shot blocking and his responsible play in the defensive zone that led to his selection, there were plenty of other players better suited for the "C" at the time.

    It's safe to assume that had Ryan Smyth not been on an expiring contract, he would have surely donned the mantle of captain for the Edmonton Oilers.

    Moreau was a good Oiler, but was nothing special as a captain.

9. Jason Smith

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    Jason Smith should consider himself lucky, after all, he shares an Edmonton Oilers record with the "Great One," Wayne Gretzky.

    Smith and Gretzky are tied for the longest serving captains in Edmonton Oilers history at five full seasons (excluding the NHL lockout year in 2004 for Smith)

    And while Smith captained the Oilers during their miraculous run to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2006, he really didn't do anything for the team.

    He was a shut-down defenseman and was always willing to sacrifice his body to get in shooting lanes, but wasn't the type of captain to make a highlight reel or to provide many exciting moments.

8. Shawn Horcoff

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    Considering he was a fourth-round draft pick in the 1998 NHL Entry Draft, Shawn Horcoff has done quite well for himself.

    But for the price the Oilers pay their current captain, and for the lack of production they have seen from him, it's safe to say that Horcoff is one of the worst captains in Oilers franchise history. 

    While Horcoff has amassed a decent point total during his time with the Oilers the captain has found himself buried on the third line thanks to the emerging young talents drafted by the Oilers in recent years.

    With talented young forwards such as Jordan Eberle and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins on the team, Horcoff's days as the captain may indeed be numbered. 

    Horcoff is still a good player to have on the Oilers as he is a player who will take the difficult face-offs or will kill penalties, but with the increasing trend of young captains being named, it would be safe to assume that his time wearing the captaincy may soon be over. 

7. Lee Fogolin

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    Lee Fogolin was the first ever captain in Edmonton Oilers history and was a member of two Oilers Stanley Cup championship teams, so perhaps he shouldn't be so low on this list. 

    For the first seven seasons Fogolin captained the team and led them to the Stanley Cup finals in 1983 where the Oilers lost to the New York Islanders.

    Fogolin also has the distinction of being the man who passed the captaincy onto Wayne Gretzky during the 1983-84 season.

6. Kevin Lowe

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    While Kevin Lowe may have had a brief tenure as the captain of the Edmonton Oilers, he was the one responsible for shouldering the load once all of the stars from the 1980s had departed.

    A year removed from a Stanley Cup victory, Lowe assumed the mantle after Messier was traded to the New York Rangers, and led the team to a very respectable season with 36 wins. 

    Though the team didn't preform in the playoffs and Lowe was shortly traded after the season to join Messier with the Rangers, his brief stint as the captain was a steadying influence on a team in transition. 

5. Craig MacTavish

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    While many may only remember Craig MacTavish as the Edmonton Oilers head coach or as an analyst on TSN in Canada, "MacT" was a valuable member of the Oilers in the late 1980s and early 90s.

    MacTavish brought an edge and was a member of three Stanley Cup championship teams with the Oilers before joining former teammates Mark Messier, Adam Graves and Kevin Lowe in New York—capturing another Cup.

    Some will view MacTavish's reign as captain as a failure due to the lack of performance on the ice, but after all the stars of the 80s had been traded, MacTavish was called upon to lead the team.  

4. Kelly Buchburger

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    Kelly Buchburger was the epitome of a blue collar captain, and seemed to exemplify the gritty attitude of the mid-90's Edmonton Oilers.

    Though the team struggled, it was not due to lack of effort or because the team was led by Buchburger. He was the last serving member of the great Edmonton Oilers dynasty of the 1980s. 

    Buchburger served as captain for the team for four seasons and was more known for his willingness to drop the gloves than for his proficiency in putting the puck in the net. 

3. Doug Weight

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    If it wasn't for a precarious financial situation that plagued the Oilers in 2000-01, Doug Weight very well could have remained an Oiler and continued to display his sublime playmaking skills in Edmonton colors.

    Weight played eight seasons for the Oilers after being dealt to the team from the New York Rangers for Esa Tikkanen.

    During his time on the team, Weight was known for his playmaking abilities on the ice and the leadership that led him to be named team captain in 1999.

    Weight served as Oilers captain for three seasons, and helped lead the team into the Stanley Cup playoffs in two out of his three seasons as captain.  

2. Wayne Gretzky

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    Wayne Gretzky is arguably the best player in NHL history and is perhaps the best captain in Edmonton history, but that would have been too easy, so he landed in the runner-up position. 

    Gretzky captained the team to four Stanley Cup championships, all while racking up countless NHL records—most of which will never be broken.

    Gretzky had the single biggest impact on helping cement the Oilers as a dynasty team in the 1980s and almost single-handedly helped the city of Edmonton become globally relevant. 

1. Mark Messier

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    Gretzky captained the team to more Stanley Cups and was the better player, true, but it was the man affectionately nicknamed "The Moose" who was charged with the most difficult task undertaken by any captain on any NHL team.

    He was the man to assume the captaincy after the heart breaking and shocking sale of Wayne Gretzky during the 1988 offseason—a task that would have broken a lesser player, and a lesser man.

    With the heart and soul apparently ripped out of the team, Messier put the Oilers on his back and captained the team to their fifth and final Stanley Cup in 1989-90.

    Though most of the pieces were still in Edmonton, no one really expected the team to perform after the Gretzky fiasco, but Messier helped rally the team, and the city, and delivered one last hooray to Oilers fans.

    Messier, a native of Edmonton, led the team from the 1988 season until he was traded to the New York Rangers in a cost-cutting maneuver by the team in October of 1991.

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