What if the Oilers traded up at the 79 Entry Draft?
What if the Oilers traded up at the 79 Entry Draft and picked Bourque instead of Lowe (Please don't nitpick the possibility. This is a fun what if Marvel comic type thing, not a documentary.) and kept all of their Hall of Famers (Gretzky, Bourque, Messier, Coffey, Kurri, etc.) for their entire careers? How good would they have been? How any Stanley Cups would they have won? How many career awards, goals, assists, and points would these guys have achieved?
For their entire careers? You'd have to think they have the chance to win the cup every year from about 82 til th late 90s.
Messier - Gretzky - Kurri
Bourque - Coffey
That's an amazing Powerplay.
Oilers would have had to give up a lot to move up 13 spots on the board in a 21 team league. Especially since the Bruins were a team that was not friendly to the WHA merger, they would have wanted several pounds of flesh.
Theoretically, they would have had to give up later picks in 1979 (used to acquire Semenko and Messier through trading their 2nd rounder), or high picks in 1980. Seeing as though they didn't have a 2nd rounder in 1980 (traded to MTL in June 1979), they would have probably had to give up their 1980 first rounder to move up that much.
Probably still would have drafted Kurri though in '80 along with Moog later on.
In 1988 the cinderella Devils might make the Finals. And get clobbered...
Gretzky, Kurri and Messier get small gains in scoring at their peaks. Gretzky and Kurri stay higher for longer and Messier doesn't boost his numbers very much post-1989. Gretzky probably steals his Harts. Bourque goes up and Coffey goes down.
I think the defensive improvement may help them survive in 1982 and 1986, though winning in 1982 is a stretch. 1983 may go longer, but the Isles still win.
1989 is a very strong year. In 1990 they don't acquire the pieces from the Carson trade, but with Bourque, Coffey, and Gretzky on their team they're probably better off.
The Oilers made the final four in 1991 and 1992 without most of their big names, and given Gretzky and Bourque I would favour them over Pittsburgh.
Having all those pieces assembled gives them a chance in 1993 and 1994, given the runs made by the Kings and Rangers.
They're still a good team post 1995, but Kurri and Anderson have long been in decline. 1995 in particular is a bad year for Fuhr, but they probably still have CuJo in 1996. Nevertheless, they probably don't make many deep runs after 1995. They probably make more deep playoff runs before that, and that wear and tear probably counteracts the improved performance from HHOF teammates.
It would be interesting to see what the lines from, say, the 1997 Oilers would look like with the HHOFers playing with the actual 90s faces and to see if they could compete with the Western Conference heavyweights.
For other teams, the Kings remain awful. Boston is an easier out in the playoffs every year. Lemieux and Fedorov have lower offensive peaks without Coffey. The Rangers never win a Cup. The Avs may not win in 2001, as Bourque stays in Edmonton forever. Vancouver is still awful from 1998-2000. Not all of the expansion teams may have been created, so the DPE probably doesn't happen as quickly or last as long. That may let Pittsburgh threaten the Avs 1996 Cup too.
That's a team that might have 9 or 10 Cups by the mid-90's. Hard to say though with the wear and tear of long playoff runs. You have to figure that perhaps they all retire earlier as well. Do they still play until late 30's/early 40's if they have that many Cups? Possibly, depending on the money. But if the 90's salary explosion never happens, they probably start retiring by 1995.
The Oilers team still gets split up due to Peter Pucks greed and other failed businesses.
Also how much higher could Ray really go on the all time D man list?
Someone would probably point out that he was the product of good teams and it might actually hurt his all time case but it's really hard to tell.
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