3 Oilers Greats That Should be Next Inductees Into Team’s HOF

On Tuesday (Sept. 20), Lee Fogolin and Ryan Smyth were announced as the inaugural class of the Edmonton Oilers Hall of Fame. The two Oilers greats will be inducted on Nov. 3 in a pre-game ceremony at Rogers Place, prior to Edmonton taking on the New Jersey Devils.

The inaugural class will also include legendary players Glenn Anderson, Al Hamilton, Paul Coffey, Grant Fuhr, Wayne Gretzky, Jari Kurri, Kevin Lowe, and Mark Messier, former coach and general manager Glen Sather, and retired broadcaster Rod Phillips. The aforementioned 10 men are receiving automatic induction by virtue of the Oilers having raised a banner in their honor.

Oilers Hall of Fame Selection Process

As the club detailed when announcing its establishment on Sept. 7, the Oilers HOF “may include players, coaches, trainers, staff, executives, or any other person whose role or service in the organization since its founding in 1972 is recognized as extraordinary.” Each year, the 11 members of the Oilers HOF selection committee will be able to bring forward one name for consideration. A maximum of three nominees will be inducted annually, with an affirmative vote of at least 75 percent required for election.

Given the organization has stated it will only raise a banner for individuals that have been elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame, effectively, the Oilers HOF provides an opportunity to recognize those who may not hold membership in the HHOF but were outstanding in their own right and significant parts of Oilers history. Smyth and Fogolin certainly fit that description.

Smyth & Fogolin Had Strong Cases

Smyth, who played for the Oilers after being drafted in 1994 until 2007 and then again from 2011 until his 2014 retirement, was pretty much seen as a slam-dunk member of the inaugural class. Ask anyone who the first members should be, and 99 percent of the time Smyth’s name would be one of those mentioned.

Ryan Smyth
Ryan Smyth, Edmonton Oilers

Not only is the universally beloved left winger a sentimental favorite, he’s also got the stats, too. Among the Oilers’ all-time leaders, Smyth is second to Lowe in games played (971), fifth in goals (296), seventh in points (631), tied with Anderson for first in game-winning goals (126), second to Gretzky in shots on goal (2,558), and fifth in game-winning goals (45). He scored 20 or more goals eight times with the Oilers and was the team’s leading goal-scorer in seven separate seasons.

It’s after Smyth that the selection process gets more difficult, as the choices become less clear. There are a dozen, maybe more, candidates with compelling cases, Fogolin among them.

Most likely it was Fogolin’s critical role as a veteran leader, serving as team captain in 1981-82 and 1982-83 while the young Oilers were still growing into their greatness, that ultimately garnered the defenceman enough support from the selection committee. A member of the Oilers from their inaugural NHL season, 1979-80, until being traded late in the 1986-87 season, Fogolin played 586 games (third most all-time among Oilers blueliners) and won Stanley Cups with Edmonton in 1984 and 1985.

It will be several weeks before Smyth and Fogolin are inducted, but that doesn’t mean it’s too early to start talking Class of 2023. The organization will induct a maximum of three members each year into the Oilers HOF annually. Each inductee must receive at least 75 percent of the vote. Assuming three make the cut next year, here’s who the next three should be:

Doug Weight (Center, 1993-2001)

Doug Weight joined the Oilers as they were beginning their post-dynasty rebuild and grew into a team leader as the Oilers once again became a playoff fixture in the late ‘90s. He ultimately was named captain, and wore the ‘C’’ for his last two seasons in Edmonton, 1999-00 and 2000-01.

Doug Weight Edmonton Oilers
Doug Weight, Edmonton Oilers (Tom Pidgeon/Allsport)

Between 1993-94 and 2000-01, Weight led Edmonton in points and assists seven times and scored 20-plus goals six times. He had 25 goals and 79 assists in 1995-96, making him the only Oiler with a 100-point season between 1989-90 (Messier) and 2016-17 (Connor McDavid).

Weight represented the Oilers at three All-Star Games (1996, 1998, 2001) and received the Zane Feldman Trophy as Oilers MVP twice (1995-96, 1997-98). He also has the seventh-most assists (420), ninth-most points (577), and second-most power-play assists (207) in franchise history.

Bill Ranford (Goalie, 1988-1996, 1999-2000)

Edmonton’s all-time leader in games played by a goalie (449), Bill Ranford took over from Grant Fuhr as the Oilers’ No. 1 netminder in 1989-90 and held that role for nearly seven seasons. He backstopped the Oilers to the Stanley Cup in 1990, when he won the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP after posting a 16-6 record with a 2.53 goals-against average and .912 save percentage.

Ranford was the backbone of the franchise as Edmonton went through some of its toughest rebuilding years in the early and mid-‘90s. He received the Zane Feldman Trophy as team MVP four seasons in a row (1990-91 to 1993-94) and was the Oilers’ Molson Cup winner four times (1990-91, 1992-93, 1993-94, 1994-95).

Edmonton’s all-time leader in saves (11,502), Ranford ranks second to Fuhr for most wins in franchise history, with 167.

Joey Moss (Locker Room Attendant, 1984 – 2021)

The impact Moss had on the Oilers and the Edmonton community as a whole was evident in the shared sense of profound loss that was felt when the long-time locker room attendant passed away last October at age 57.

Related: Joey Moss Will Forever Be a Part of Oilers History

Born with Down Syndrome, Moss served as an inspiration, and his zest for life was infectious. An Oilers’ fixture for the better part of four decades, he was there for just about all the great moments in franchise history.

In 2003, Moss received the NHL Alumni Association’s Seventh Man Award, recognizing “behind-the-scene efforts to make a difference in the lives of others”. He was presented with the Mayor’s Award by the City of Edmonton in 2007 and awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012. He is also a member of the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame, Class of 2015.

Perhaps the greatest testament to the need for an Oilers HOF is how difficult the selection process will be, not just for next year but several years after that. Two voters could each list their top five candidates and not have a single matching name – and each could have a perfectly irrefutable case.

When you’re talking about the likes of Randy Gregg, Charlie Huddy, John Muckler, Dave Semenko, and Esa Tikkanen, just to name a handful from the ’80s, there are no wrong answers. It will just take some time to get it right.

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