The Oshawa Generals are one of the most well-known franchises in the entire Canadian Hockey League (CHL). They have a long and well-known history that has seen them take home many Memorial Cups and Ontario Hockey League (OHL) Championships. They have also not lacked in producing NHL players on a yearly basis. Some have gone on to have decent NHL careers and there are some who have gone on to have Hall of Fame careers. Without further ado, here are the Generals’ top five NHL alumni.
5. Marc Savard
One of five players to ever have their number retired by the Generals, the only reason Savard is not higher on this list is the fact that injuries hampered his ability to have a longer NHL career.
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Drafted by the Generals in the second round, 28th overall in the 1993 OHL Priority Selection, Savard would go on to dominate the OHL. In his four seasons playing for the team, he scored 132 goals and added 281 assists for 413 points in 238 games played. His awards while playing in the OHL included the CHL Top Scorer Award and OHL Most Points (Eddie Powers Trophy) in 1994-95, and OHL Champion and Eddie Powers Trophy in 1996-97.
Going into his draft year, Savard made some scouts nervous as he was only 5-foot-10, but what he lacked in size, he made up for with his speed and skill. Selected in the fourth round, 91st overall by the New York Rangers in the 1995 NHL Draft, he played two more seasons with the Generals before making the jump to the pros at the beginning of the 1996-97 season.
Savard only lasted two seasons with the Rangers organization before being traded to the Calgary Flames in 1999. He lasted parts of four seasons with the Flames, collecting 154 points in 221 regular season games played. He joined the Atlanta Thrashers in 2002 and produced his best season of his career — a 97-point season in 2005-06. Savard entered free agency in 2006 and signed with the Boston Bruins.
Perhaps the team he is most well known playing for, Savard made an immediate impact for the Bruins by collecting 22 goals and adding 74 assists for 96 points. He had a very impressive run from 2006-07 to 2008-09 with the Bruins before concussions ultimately spiraled his career out of control.
Savard played his final game in the NHL in the 2010-11 season and was forced out of the game due to post-concussion syndrome. He spent years away from the game struggling with headaches and anxiety, but has finally come back into the game, working as an assistant coach for the St. Louis Blues this past season. His legacy on the Generals will always be felt as he was truly one of the greatest players to ever don the Generals logo.
4. John Tavares
One of the most well-known Generals to ever lace them up, John Tavares joined the team as a 14-year-old after having been granted exceptional status to join the league one year early. He made his impact felt right away as he put up 77 points in 65 games played as a rookie in 2005-06 and won the CHL Rookie of the Year Award (Emms Family Award).
Going on to play the next three seasons with the Generals, Tavares would show the entire OHL how much of a force he was by collecting 306 points in 158 games played. He would accumulate an impressive amount of hardware that included being named the OHL Most Outstanding Player (Red Tilson Trophy) in 2006-07 and CHL Top Draft Prospect Award in 2008-09.
Having an enormous amount of hype going into the 2009 NHL Draft, it came as no surprise to hear Tavares’ name called first overall by the New York Islanders. He made the jump directly to the NHL and had an impressive rookie campaign where he collected 54 points in 82 games played. Over the next eight seasons, Tavares would establish himself as a premier player for the Islanders, collecting 567 points in 587 games played.
Tavares hit free agency in the summer of 2018 and chose to sign a seven-year deal with his hometown Toronto Maple Leafs worth $77 million dollars. Over the past two seasons, he has continued to be a great player at the NHL level and has collected 148 points in 145 regular season games played.
Tavares had the honour of having his jersey retired by the Generals and still makes his impact felt today through his Junior Gens Program. I felt the need to put him ahead of Savard as he is only 29 years old and still has a long NHL career ahead of him. If he continues along his trajectory, he has the chance to make it into the Hockey Hall of Fame.
3. Dave Andreychuk
Although he did not have as much of an impact with the Generals throughout his junior career as the other guys on this list, Andreychuk still had a heck of an NHL career. Drafted by the Generals in the fifth round, 62nd overall in the 1980 OHL Priority Selection, he spent three seasons donning the red, white and blue. In 148 games played, he scored 87 goals and added 89 assists for 176 points.
Andreychuk was drafted by the Buffalo Sabres in the first round, 16th overall in the 1982 NHL Draft. He joined the team midway through the 1982-83 season and collected 37 points in 43 games played. He made the NHL full time the following season and spent the next 10 seasons playing for the Sabres, collecting 734 points in 668 regular season games played.
Acquired by the Toronto Maple Leafs midway through the 1992-93 season, Andreychuk was a key cog in the Maple Leafs’ run to the Conference Final. He spent three seasons in Toronto and collected 181 points in 192 games played. He got traded to the New Jersey Devils in 1995-96 and spent parts of four seasons playing with them. Over the course of his career, Andreychuk developed a reputation of being a beast on the power play due to his size in front of the net. He was great at screening the goalie and could tip the puck home with ease.
Throughout the rest of his career, Andreychuk would play for the Boston Bruins, Colorado Avalanche, Sabres for a second time and the Tampa Bay Lightning. He would never put up more than 40 points in a season again but was still a great leader, even guiding the Lightning to a Stanley Cup in 2003-04. All in all, Andreychuk was a great player at the NHL level and proved that year in and year out. The cherry on top came when he was finally inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2017.
2. Eric Lindros
Bringing national attention to the Generals, Lindros is one of the most famous players to ever suit up for the team. Drafted by the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds with the first-overall pick in the 1989 OHL Priority Selection, Lindros never ended up playing for the team and joined the Generals after spending time in the North American Hockey League with the Compuware Ambassadors.
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Joining the team midway through the 1989-90 season, Lindros made his impact felt right away by putting up 36 points in 25 games played. Going on to win the Memorial Cup as well, Lindros was crucial in the playoffs by collecting 36 points in 17 games played. Over his next two seasons with the Gens, he would go on to collect 218 points in 86 games played.
Projected as the top pick in the 1991 NHL Draft, Lindros was selected with the first-overall pick by the Quebec Nordiques, but refused to play for the team. His rights were traded to the Philadelphia Flyers on June 30, 1992 in exchange for Ron Hextall, Kerry Huffman, Mike Ricci, Chris Simon, two first-round picks, the rights to Peter Forsberg and cash considerations. It was a massive trade that shook the hockey world.
Lindros had an impressive rookie season, making the Flyers’ roster out of training camp and putting up an impressive 75 points in 61 games played. He was named captain of the Flyers in 1994 and went on to play six more seasons with them, collecting 544 points in 410 games played. He missed the entire 2000-01 season due to injury and was never the same after that. Lindros played five more seasons in the NHL for the Rangers, Maple Leafs and Dallas Stars before retiring from hockey in 2007.
Everyone wonders how good Lindros could have been if he hadn’t been subjected to so many concussions and injuries. He was a such a dynamic player and was one of the game’s dominant power forwards at the time. Although he only payed 13 seasons in the NHL, his impact on the game of hockey was felt immensely and he was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2016.
1. Bobby Orr
One of the greatest players of all time, Bobby Orr is in my opinion, the greatest player to ever put on the Generals jersey. Starting out with the team in the 1963-64 season, he put up an impressive 72 points in 56 games during his rookie season.
Over the following two seasons with the Generals, Orr collected 93 and 94-point seasons en route to establishing himself as one of the premier up and coming players. He joined the Bruins before the start of the 1966-67 season and the rest is history.
Orr changed the game forever. One of the first dominant offensive defensemen, he eclipsed the 100-point mark in six straight seasons while leading the Bruins to two Stanley Cups in 1970 and 1972. His impressive resume includes trophies such as the Calder Trophy (Rookie of the Year), eight Norris Trophies (Best Defenseman), two Conn Smythe Trophies (Playoffs MVP), two Art Ross Trophies (Most Points) and three Hart Trophies (NHL MVP). He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1979, one year after he retired.
Although Orr’s career was cut short due to numerous knee injuries and surgeries, he changed the way the game is played. He opened a brand-new era in hockey that saw defensemen become more involved in the play than ever. There have been numerous players who have referenced him as their idol and it is easy to see. (from ‘My Favorite Player: Doug Gilmour on Bobby Orr’, The Athletic – 04/21/20) In my opinion, he is easily one of the top five players of all time and his legacy will live on long after he is gone. For me, I don’t see anyone else ever taking his place as the top player to have played for the Generals.
As mentioned at the start of the article, the Generals do not lack in the alumni department. Most hockey fans have heard of these players and know that they all had an immense impact on the NHL. When it comes to producing talent, the Generals are not one of the teams in the CHL that lack in that department. It’s exciting to see what they have done in the past and hopefully the future brings many more players who will go on to have big impacts on the teams that draft them.