The Edmonton Oilers have a long history of prolific goal scorers. Not only that, but they also have a plethora of Hall-of-Fame twine ticklers that have donned the blue and orange as well. This list explores the franchise’s top-20 goal scorers of all-time.
1. Wayne Gretzky (583)
Of course, the Great One is atop this mountain of goal scorers. Of the 894 goals he scored in his career, 583 of them were scored as a member of the Oilers. Wayne Gretzky ended up playing for three other franchises before he retired from the NHL, but there was no denying the impact he had on this team. He was prolific, he was entertaining, and above all, he just knew how to score goals and generate points. He not only scored almost 600 goals in Oil Country, but he also put up nearly 1700 points as well. In fact, there wasn’t a season where he finished with less than 130 points. Heck, he only had one campaign with less than 50 goals!
Related: Edmonton Oilers 50-Goal Scorers
Bottom line, Gretzky was the best the Oilers ever had and probably will ever have. He is the franchise leader in goals (583), assists (1,086), points (1,669), short-handed goals (55), and finally hat-tricks (43). Not to mention he also won four Stanley Cups and eight Hart Trophies along with a multitude of other awards during his nine seasons with the team.
Much to the chagrin of Oilers’ fans, Gretzky was traded in 1988 to the Los Angeles Kings as part of one of the most infamous trades in NHL history. He continued his dominance where he potted another 246 goals and 918 points in 539 games. He also won three Art Ross Trophies, three Lady Byng Awards, and finally another Hart Trophy.
Unfortunately for the Kings and their fans, he never helped them win another Stanley Cup. His tenure ended after eight seasons when he was traded to the St. Louis Blues in 1996. He ended up only being a rental player as he signed with the New York Rangers in the offseason after bowing out in the second round of the playoffs.
Even though he joined the Rangers at the ripe age of 36, he still had two seasons of 90 or more points with them. He also won another Lady Byng Award and accumulated 249 points in his three seasons before retiring in 1999.
In 2001, he began his tenure in the front office of the then-Phoenix Coyotes as part-owner and head of hockey operations. Then after five seasons away from the game, he returned to hockey as their head coach in 2005. Unfortunately, his coaching career was not as prolific as his playing career as he only ever finished above the .500 watermark once. Suffice it to say, the Gretzky experiment did not go well for the Coyotes. Fortunately for him, that part of his career never sullied the reputation he had as the “Great One”.
Gretzky returned to his original home with the Oilers in 2016 when he became a partner and vice-chairman of the Oilers’ Entertainment Group. He has continued that role to this day and will forever be known as the player that everyone aspires to become, even though no one will ever get there.
2. Jari Kurri (474)
Now we get to Gretzky’s trigger man, Jari Kurri. The prolific Finnish goal scorer spent ten seasons with the Oilers after being selected in the fourth round of the 1980 NHL Entry Draft, with most of his time flanking the Great One. While most of his success can be attributed to Gretzky’s insane playmaking abilities, he also knew how to put the puck in the net. Even after he lost the dynamic assist machine in 1988, he still scored another 77 goals without him. Granted he did have another great player in Mark Messier passing him the puck.
After nearly a decade and five Stanley Cups with the Oilers, he was traded to the Philadelphia Flyers in 1991. His tenure was very short, though, as he was moved almost immediately to the Kings. He was reunited with Gretzky and continued his goal-scoring ways potting another 108 goals in a Kings’ uniform, before getting traded again to the Rangers in 1996.
Kurri played only 14 games as a member of the Rangers before signing as a free agent with the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim. He played one season there scoring 13 goals and 35 points in 82 games, then finished his career in 1998 as a member of the Colorado Avalanche. He was inducted into the Hall-of-Fame in 2001 and is now the GM of Jokerit in the KHL.
3. Glenn Anderson (417)
As we continue our walk down memory lane, we get to another member of the 80s Oilers’ dynasty team, Glenn Anderson. After being selected 69th overall in 1979, he joined the Oilers in 1980 and scored 30 goals as a rookie. That was just the beginning of a 12-season career with the team that saw him have five 30-goal seasons, two 40-goal seasons and two 50-goal seasons. He eclipsed 100 points three times over that span as well, playing mostly on a line with Messier and Craig Simpson.
Anderson was also a dominant playoff performer, helping the Oilers to five Stanley Cups by scoring game-winners and overtime goals in every run he was a part of. The way he played the game was just built for the playoffs, as his physicality and power forward mentality made him a force every night.
Just like most of the pieces of the Oilers dynasty team, Anderson did not spend his entire career in Oil Country, as he was traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1991. He didn’t see the same success in the blue and white as he only scored 63 goals over the three seasons he was there. His best stretch came in the 1993 playoffs where he accumulated 18 points in 23 games.
Then in another blockbuster trade, Anderson was traded to the Rangers for Mike Gartner in 1994. It turned out to be the perfect time to join the team as they won the Stanley Cup that season, which increased his personal total to six. After that, he joined the Blues for the 1995-96 season where he scored 12 goals and 26 points in 36 games. During that same season, he left the team to play in Europe for the Finnish SM-liiga and the German DEL league. He subsequently rejoined the Oilers and Blues for a short time before playing out his career in the Swiss league.
4. Mark Messier (392)
Even though Messier played for three franchises over the course of his 25-year career, he will forever be remembered for his time with the Oilers. When he was drafted in the third round in 1979, I don’t think anyone thought he would become the big, powerful pivot he turned out to be. He oozed leadership and passion throughout his career and was almost unstoppable in the 12 seasons he was with his hometown Oilers. By the time he was 30-years-old, he had scored 30 or more goals eight times and only had two seasons where he scored less than 20. Oh yes, he also won five Stanley Cups too.
Messier’s tenure with the Oilers ended in 1991 when he was traded to the Rangers. He didn’t slow down though, scoring another 183 goals and adding another Cup to his resume before signing with the Vancouver Canucks in 1997. He spent three uninspiring seasons there before he rejoined the Rangers in 2000. His final four seasons in the NHL were unspectacular as he battled a back injury and declining production. He retired in 2004 and ended his career with 694 goals and 1,887 points.
5. Ryan Smyth (296)
“Captain Canada” aka Ryan Smyth played almost his entire career with the Oilers. Just like Trevor Linden of the Canucks, he started with the team that drafted him, got traded, then returned to retire. Despite that, he will forever be known as an Oiler. Throughout his 15-season career with the team, he had four 30-goal seasons, four 20-goal seasons, and only one season where he scored less than ten. Not only that, but he was also the heart and soul of the team. He never officially was the captain, but you could argue he was one of the biggest leaders the Oilers ever had.
Unfortunately, Smyth was traded to the Islanders in 2007. He ended up being a rental player as he signed with the Colorado Avalanche in the offseason of that same year. He scored 40 goals over two seasons before being dealt again, this time to the Kings. Then he was finally returned home to Oil Country in 2011 where he finished with another 31 goals over his final three seasons in the NHL. He retired in 2014 with 386 goals and 842 points.
6. Paul Coffey (209)
Now we get to one of the only defencemen to ever be in a top-10 list when it comes to goal scoring. Of course, it’s arguably the most dynamic blueliner to ever play the game, Paul Coffey. If you didn’t know any better, you would think that he was a forward out there, as he consistently rushed down the ice to either set up a goal or score one himself. He only ended up playing seven seasons with the Oilers, but boy was he productive. Over that time, he had five seasons of 20 or more goals along with three 100-plus point campaigns. He was simply amazing to watch.
Again, just like most of the members of the Oilers’ dynasty teams, he did not finish his career in Edmonton as he was traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1987. He continued his dominance in Steel Town with another three seasons of 20 or more goals and 50 or more points. He had two more 100-point seasons as well. After that, he played for the Los Angeles Kings, Detroit Red Wings, Hartford Whalers, Philadelphia Flyers, Chicago Blackhawks, Carolina Hurricanes, and finally the Boston Bruins. He ended his glorious career with a gaudy 396 goals and 1,531 points.
7. Leon Draisaitl (199)
Despite being selected third overall in 2014, Draisaitl has already become one of the best players the Oilers have ever had. In six short seasons, he has rocketed up the franchise goal-scoring charts to now sit eighth overall. In fact, he is only two goals away from passing Craig Simpson for seventh overall. It won’t be long before he is knocking on the door of the top five, that’s how prolific he has been at putting the puck in the net. Not only has he put up four straight seasons of 20 goals or more, but he has two straight 100-plus point campaigns as well. Additionally, he already has a 50-goal season under his belt, and if not for the premature end to the 2019-20 campaign, he would have had two.
In six seasons in the NHL, he already has an Art Ross Trophy and looks poised to add even more hardware to his resume in the coming seasons. Some say his totals are inflated due to playing with another generational star in McDavid, but he has looked dominant centering a second line as well. He’s big, fast, and possesses a goal-scoring instinct that you cannot teach. Expect him to add more 50 or even 60-goal seasons to his totals as he progresses. Don’t forget, he’s only 25-years-old!
8. Connor McDavid (195)
Before too long McDavid will be knocking on the door of the top five. He’s got 101 more goals to go and he’s only 24-years-old. Ever since he entered the league as a 19-year-old, he was projected to be a superstar and a generational player. Up to this point, he has yet to disappoint. His speed, creativity and ability to do things with the puck at mach-four is beyond insane. The Oilers’ 2015 first-overall pick already has four 100-point seasons to his credit and would have had a fifth if the 2019-20 season was not ultimately cancelled.
In addition, McDavid has won two Lester B Pearson Awards, three Art Ross Trophies, and even a Hart Trophy. Unfortunately, he did not win the Calder Trophy in 2015-16 due to an injury that forced him to miss a large part of the season. His 48 points in 45 games were just a taste of what was to come. Since then he has scored 30 or more goals in five straight seasons and continues to surprise the NHL with his generational toolbox. I’m sure we have not seen the last of what the Oilers’ captain can do in the league.
9. Craig Simpson (185)
Simpson spent most of his career with the Oilers after being acquired in the blockbuster trade that sent Coffey and Dave Hunter to the Penguins in 1987. I’m sure he had a lot of pressure on him to perform after being the centerpiece in a deal that sent possibly the best defenceman ever to play in an Oilers’ uniform to another team. Fortunately for him, he was very productive right off the hop scoring 43 times in the 59 games while playing on a line with Messier and Anderson. He also followed that up with a monster performance in the 1988 playoffs where he scored 13 goals and 19 points en route to his first of two Stanley Cups. In fact, he was a key player in both championships accumulating 29 goals and 50 points.
Simpson’s first season with the Oilers was his best as 35 goals were the most he could score in his final five seasons. He did, however, have two 30-goal seasons and never dropped below 20 in the goal column. Unfortunately, just like a lot of the names etched on the many Stanley Cups the Oilers have won, he did not finish his career in Alberta. After another 20-goal season and at the relatively young age of 25, he was traded to the Buffalo Sabres just before the 1993-94 season could get started. Then a few months later, he suffered a severe back injury in a game against the Tampa Bay Lightning that effectively ended his season.
Simpson returned to the Sabres’ lineup for the 1994-95 season but only lasted 24 games before he was forced to retire due to the injury suffered during the 1993-94 season. Not long after that, he joined the media world as a broadcaster. He can now be seen on Hockey Night in Canada as a colour analyst alongside Jim Hughson.
10. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (185)
After Taylor Hall was drafted first overall in 2010, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins joined him in 2011 as the second straight first-overall pick to go to the Oilers. Nail Yakubov made it three in 2012 as they went on an unprecedented streak of selecting first three times in a row. Nugent-Hopkins or just “RNH” is now the only player on the roster from that trio. Hall was traded to the New Jersey Devils in 2019 and Yakubov is toiling in the KHL after flaming out in the NHL.
Nugent-Hopkins started his career with the Oilers immediately at the young age of 18. He performed quite well in his rookie season scoring 18 goals and 52 points in 62 games, playing mostly on a line with Hall and Jordan Eberle. He finished the season as a runner-up for the Calder Trophy, losing out to Avalanche rookie Gabriel Landeskog. His next eight seasons saw him score 20 or more goals four times and settle into a secondary role behind superstars Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl. He has now become a more complete player, mostly centering either a second or third line. He even is put into a matchup role to shut down opposing top lines.
11. Esa Tikkanen (178)
Even though Esa Tikkanen was drafted by the Oilers all the way down in the fourth round of the 1983 NHL Draft, he became one of the most prolific goal-scoring agitators they ever had. Not only could he put the puck in the net, but he could annoy his opponents as well. Over the eight seasons, he was with the team, he eclipsed 30 goals three times while pushing past the century mark in penalty minutes three times as well. He also scored 30 goals during the postseasons when they won four Stanley Cups. A lot of his success came on a line with two high-scoring superstars in Gretzky and Kurri. So it shouldn’t be a surprise to see him on this list.
At the trade deadline in 1993, Tikkanen was moved to the Rangers for Doug Weight. He went on to win another championship in 1994 which brought his personal total to five. After that, he bounced around several teams which included 100 games with the Canucks and 54 games with the Blues. He ended up slowing down after 1994, regressing to a third and fourth line role with the teams he played for. He never scored 20 goals again, ending his career with the Rangers in 1999 at the age of 34.
12. Jordan Eberle (165)
Along with Hall and Nugent-Hopkins, Eberle was supposed to be part of the next generation of Oilers to make some noise in the playoffs. Alas, it wasn’t meant to be as two of them have since moved on to other teams. That’s not to say that Eberle was not productive when he was part of the team. After being selected 22nd overall in the 2008 draft, he played seven seasons with the team, scoring 20 or more goals five times. His career-high came in his second season when he finished with 34 goals. He mostly played on a line with Hall and Nugent-Hopkins where he utilized his speed and wrist shot to terrorize opponents.
Eberle was traded in 2017 to the Islanders for Ryan Strome and has spent his last three seasons there. He has scored 20 or more goals in three straight campaigns and continues to be an offensive force in the NHL.
13. Shawn Horcoff (162)
Before Hall, Draisaitl, and Connor McDavid there was Shawn Horcoff. Selected 99th overall in the 1998 Draft, he was the Oilers’ first-line center for five seasons. He also was captain for three campaigns from 2010 to 2013. He wasn’t the most prolific of goal scorers, only hitting the 20-goal mark twice in his career, but he was still a threat to put up points. He consistently brought a good two-way game to the rink and in his prime was good for at least 50 points a season. His best season came in 2005-06 when he put up 22 goals and 73 points playing mostly on the top line with Smyth and Ales Hemsky. He also was key in the Oilers’ run to the Stanley Cup Final where he finished with 7 goals and 19 points.
After 12 seasons and 447 points with the Oilers, Horcoff was traded to the Dallas Stars in 2013. He played two seasons with them before finishing his career with the Anaheim Ducks. By that point, he was no longer a top-six center, but a good depth piece. Nevertheless, he ended his NHL career with a gaudy 511 points. He is now the head of player development for the Red Wings, a position he took over in 2016.
14. Doug Weight (157)
Even though Doug Weight never started or finished his career with the Oilers, he was a key part of the team for nine seasons. After being acquired from the Rangers in 1993, he went on to score 20 or more goals and 70 or more points six times, mostly playing on a line with two high scoring wingers in Smyth and Bill Guerin. He even hit a career-high 104 points in 1995-96 playing with them. His package of size, skill, and playmaking abilities was a highlight of the Oilers’ teams of the 90s. He was also captain of the team for his final two seasons.
After his tenure with the Oilers, Weight was a key part of the St Louis Blues for six seasons before a couple of short stints with the Carolina Hurricanes and Anaheim Ducks. As a rental player for the Hurricanes, he won a Stanley Cup, then returned to the Blues for one more season before becoming another rental player for the Ducks.
Weight signed as a free agent with the New York Islanders in 2008 and played three more seasons before hanging them up in 2011 as a 40-year-old. He never hit the 20-goal mark again but was still a veteran presence capable of putting up a least 10-15 goals and 40 or more points. After retiring as a player, he coached the Islanders for two seasons before being dismissed at the end of the 2017-18 campaign.
15. Craig MacTavish (155)
Before coaching the Oilers for eight seasons, Craig MacTavish played 1,093 games in the NHL. For 701 of those, he was a key forward for the team he eventually stood behind the bench for. Over the nine seasons he was with the team he had five 20-goal seasons and was one of the best two-way players in the game. He also won three Stanley Cups too.
In 1994, MacTavish was dealt to the Rangers for Todd Marchant. He only played 12 regular-season games with them but added another Stanley Cup to his resume. After that, he played five more seasons in the NHL with the Flyers and the Blues. He was never more than a depth piece with those teams though, as he only scored eight more goals. After coaching the Oilers, he coached the Chicago Wolves of the American Hockey league for one season before moving over to the KHL. Unfortunately, he was dismissed after only nine months. He is now coaching in the Swiss NLA for Lausanne HC.
16. Ales Hemsky (142)
Ales Hemsky was probably one of the most talented wingers the Oilers had in the 2000s. Before the superstars came to town in the form of McDavid and Draisaitl, they had Hemsky. Despite never scoring more than 23 goals in his 15-year career, he was a wizard with the puck and a weapon in the shootout. Like many Oilers of the 2000s, his best season came in 2005-06 when they went to the Stanley Cup Final against the Carolina Hurricanes. He had a career-high 71 points and another six goals and 17 points in the playoffs.
After 11 seasons and 477 points with the Oilers, Hemsky was traded to the Ottawa Senators in 2014. He was only a rental player though, as he signed with the Stars in the offseason. He went on to play three seasons with them before playing only seven games with the Montreal Canadiens in 2018. He retired from the game of hockey in 2020.
17. Todd Marchant (136)
Acquired in the deal that sent MacTavish to the Rangers, Marchant became a very useful player for the Oilers playing mostly on a line with Ethan Moreau and Mike Grier. He played nine seasons with the team and accumulated 343 points as well. He only ever hit 20 goals once but hit double digits every season. He was basically a picture of consistency, never dropping below 12 goals. He was even in the Selke Trophy conversation, finishing in the top-ten three times.
Marchant finished his tenure with the Oilers in 2003 when he signed a contract with the Blue Jackets. He only played two seasons there before being claimed on waivers by the then-Mighty Ducks of Anaheim. He went on to play four seasons there, and won a Stanley Cup with them in 2007. He retired at the end of the 2010-11 season at 37-years-old.
18. Taylor Hall (132)
Taylor Hall was the first potential saviour for the Oilers, but ultimately never fulfilled his mandate. That’s not to say he wasn’t a prolific goal scorer for the franchise. During his six-season tenure, he scored 20 or more goals four times culminating in a then-career-season of 27 goals and 80 points in 2013-14. He was a superstar that many fans believed would bring their team out of the dark ages. Unfortunately, the Oilers finished at the bottom of the league in almost every season he was with the team.
After McDavid joined the team in 2015 and started dominating, everyone knew that Hall’s time as a saviour was coming to an end. That prophecy came true in the form of trade to the Devils in 2016 for Adam Larsen. Despite how solid Larsen has been for the Oilers, that trade will still go down as one of the worst returns for a star player the league has ever seen. Hall played parts of four seasons with the Devils, hitting the 20-goal mark again and even had a 30 goal campaign AND a Hart Trophy in 2017-18. However, despite the personal milestone, he still could not find team success.
Hall was traded again in 2019 to the Arizona Coyotes for a package of players. Time will tell if the now-28-year-old will find success in the desert, but he will remain a great story in Oilers’ history, even though he never led his team out of the dark ages and into the playoffs.
19. Dave Hunter (119)
Over the 11 seasons Dave Hunter was with the Oilers, he established himself as a solid two-way checking line winger on a team full of superstars. While Gretzky, Kurri, Messier, and Andersen were doing their thing at the top of the lineup, he was grinding away on the third and fourth lines. His ability to shut down the other team’s top scorers became a huge part of three Stanley Cup winning teams of the 80s. His biggest success came in 1981 when he shut down the legendary Guy Lafleur by limiting him to a measly one assist in three games.
Even though he was a grinder, he could still score as he only had one season where he failed to score ten goals. He even hit the 20-goal plateau in 1983-84 when he scored 22. He never won any personal awards, but was still a key part of the team, especially in the playoffs where he put up 16 goals and 40 points in 105 games.
Unfortunately, Hunter did not play his entire career with the Oilers as he got dealt in the shocking trade that sent Coffey to the Penguins. He played parts of two seasons there before getting claimed in the 1988 waiver draft by the Winnipeg Jets. Again he only played one season there before he ultimately finished his career with the Oilers in 1989.
20. Petr Klima (119)
When Petr Klima came to the Oilers in 1989, he was already a household name after playing parts of four seasons with the Red Wings. He had three 30-goal seasons under his belt and was only 25. He continued his goal-scoring prowess with the Oilers by putting together another four seasons with 20 or more goals, including 25 after coming over in the trade with the Red Wings. He also had a career-high 40 goals and 68 points in 1990-91 after winning a Stanley Cup the previous year.
After four seasons with the Oilers, Klima was traded to the Tampa Bay Lightning in 1993 for a third-round pick in the 1994 Draft. He went on to have another two 20-goal seasons with them before short stints with the Kings and Penguins. He later returned to the two teams he had the most success with in the Red Wings and Oilers before he retired at the end of the 1998-99 season.
Oilers’ Leaderboard in Flux
The Oilers are blessed to have two of the NHL’s most gifted goal scorers in McDavid and Draisaitl. The top four of Gretzky, Kurri, Anderson, and Messier are bound to stand the test of time, but beyond that, the field is wide open for these two offensive superstars. So it’s almost inevitable to have at least one of them eclipse Smyth’s 296 goals at number five. Whatever happens, Oilers Nation and the rest of the NHL will be watching these two for years to come as they continue to ascend not only the franchise leaderboard but the all-time one as well.
Matthew Zator is a THW freelance writer, editor, part-time journalist, and scout who lives and breathes Vancouver Canucks hockey, the NHL Draft, and prospects in general. He loves talking about young players and their potential. Matthew is a must-read for Canucks fans and fans of the NHL Draft and its prospects. For interview requests or content information, you can follow Matthew through his social media accounts which are listed under his photo at the conclusion of articles like this one about Tyler Motte.