Igor Ulanov, Right D
Ulanov is a bit of an interesting player. He was never much of a scorer but seemed to find the Midas stick with the Oilers as he put up 2 pretty solid seasons of offence with the Oilers that couldn’t be duplicated anywhere else.
With the fall of the Soviet Union making it much less hazardous to bring Russian players to the NHL, Ulanov was drafted by Winnipeg (Jets part 1) in the 10th round of the ’91 draft. He was a tough, gritty guy who finished with only 162 career points in 739 games but with 1,151 PIMs in his career.
He had 3 OK seasons in Winnipeg, putting up 11-17 points in his first 3 NHL seasons with stops in the AHL and 1 more season in Russia in between. After that, he spent time in Washington, Chicago, Tampa Bay, and Montreal.
He found his way to Edmonton via trade from Montreal at the 2000 trade deadline as the Oilers traded Christian Laflamme and Matthieu Descoteaux to Montreal for Ulanov and Alain Nesreddine.
He didn’t do much the rest of that season, only putting up 3 assists in 14 games for the Oilers and no offence in the playoffs. However, it was in the 2000-01 season where he really shone, putting up a career-best 3-20-23 in 67 games for the Oilers that season with a +15 and 90 PIMs. No offence in 6 playoff games still that year.
He then signed with the Rangers as a free agent the next season, and spent time in Florida and more time in the AHL before wrapping up his career with 2 more seasons with the Oilers in 2003-04. That first season in his 2nd tour he put up 5-13-18 with a +19 and 28 PIMs. He wrapped up his NHL career the season after the lockout with 3-6-9 in 37 games and 29 PIMs with a -11.
He hung up his skates for good after 2 more seasons in Russia. He was a head coach in the KHL as recently as 2018-19, but no indication what he’s done after that. I’ll always remember Ulanov for being an Oilers-only puck mover. It’s forever a mystery why he could only put up offence with the Oilers and no one else. He came close in Winnipeg but never had seasons of 23 and 18 points like he did with the Oilers.
Josef Beranek, L Center
Unlike a lot of players on this list, Beranek was actually an Oilers draft pick. Drafted in the 4th round in ’89, Beranek was brought to the Oilers in 1991-92 after finishing 27-27-54 in 50 games with 98 PIMs the season before in the Czech pro leagues.
He went 12-16-28 with 18 PIMs and a -2, adding 2-1-3 in 12 playoff games for the Oilers that season. Not a bad rookie debut. Next season he spent 6 games in Cape Breton before coming back up and putting up 2-6-8 and 28 PIMs and a -7 in 26 games before being traded along with Greg Hawgood to Philly for Brian Benning, recent Oilers d-man Matt Benning’s father.
After Philly, he went to Vancouver and Pittsburgh with single seasons in the Czech pro leagues again before circling back to the Oilers as he was traded back here from Pittsburgh in exchange for Bobby Dollas and Tony Hrkac, the “Hrkac circus.”
He had a pretty good year that first season, putting up 19-30-49 in 66 games with a +6 to boot. He played 2 games in the playoffs that year but put up no offence.
He followed that up by struggling the next year, though, as he only put up 9-8-17 in 58 games with a -6. Unsurprisingly, he was traded back to Pittsburgh in exchange for d-man German Titov.
After 2 seasons with Pittsburgh, he finished up his career in the Czech pro leagues, spending his last 9 seasons with the same team.
Ken Linseman, L Center
Back to the 80s, we go for the next one. Bottom 6 forward Ken Linseman was a role player and he played his role well. On most teams back then he probably would’ve been a top 6 forward but on the Oilers, he spent most of his career as a bottom 6 forward. Drafted in the NHL by Philly in the 1st round in 1978 and by Birmingham of the WHA in 1977 in the 10th round, Linseman in my books might be one of the best bottom 6 forwards of all time.
He put up career totals of 256-551-807 with a whopping 1,727 PIMs in 860 NHL games. That PIMs number is even more impressive considering Linseman only stood at 5’11” and 175 lbs. That’s pretty small for an NHL player. Anyway, Linseman played 1 season in Birmingham before the WHA folded and he then spent his 1 and only season in the AHL before going up to Philly for the 78-79 season.
He came to the Oilers via trade in 1982 with Hartford, who had just traded with Philly for Mark Howe and acquired Linseman in that trade, and Hartford subsequently traded Linseman to the Oilers with Don Nachbaur for Risto Siltanen and Brent Loney.
Being that this was just before the Oilers had all the pieces of their puzzle together, this was the 1 year that Linseman was a regular top 6 guy for the Oilers, putting up 33-42-75 and a +16 with a hardcore 181 PIMs in 72 games. IIRC he got a “Gretzky bump” riding shotgun to the great one to get those numbers. He added another 14 points in 16 playoff games.
The next season for Linseman wasn’t quite as electric, but still very solid as he put up 18-49-67 with a +30 and “only” 119 PIMs. He added the same 14 points in 19 playoff games that year, winning the 1 and only Cup of his career as he and the Oilers would win it all in ’84.
The Oilers then dealt him to Boston for Mike Krushelnyski during that offseason – Krushelnyski would go on to infamy as one of the players included in the Gretzky “trade” to the Kings in the ’88 offseason. Anyway, Linseman would go on to spend 6 seasons in Boston and 1 with the Flyers before signing with the Oilers as a free agent in the 1990 offseason. He was a bit more mortal this around but still had a pretty solid season, going 7-29-36 in 56 games with a +15 and 94 PIMs to boot – the latter as you’d expect from “The Rat.”
Then cash-strapped owner Peter Pocklington, in the middle of dismantling the dynasty due to financial problems that stemmed from alienating his key network after being a shady businessman, had then GM Glen Sather trade Linseman to Toronto for cash. After only 2 games he would be released by the Leafs and finish up his career in the Italian pro leagues.
Marty Mcsorley, RW/Right D
Mcsorley was a tough guy primarily known as Wayne Gretzky’s “bodyguard” in the late 80s and early 90s. He played 961 NHL games, and as you’d expect, he only put up 108-251-359 in his career during said games but a crazy 3,381 PIMs. In case you’re wondering, that last mark is 4th all-time in the NHL.
He started his career as an undrafted free agent for Pittsburgh after 2 seasons with the OHL’s Belleville Bulls and some time in the AHL. He was traded to the Oilers, along with Tim Hrynewich and bottom pairing D Craig Muni, in exchange for goalie Gilles Meloche. Look up Meloche’s stats and boy will you see this trade worked out big time for the Oilers.
Mcsorley would go on to spend about 15 games over 2 seasons in Cape Breton and 3 seasons with the Oilers. Mcsorley was another guy involved in the Gretzky “trade” to LA. After LA he went back to Pittsburgh, then back to LA again, then to the Rangers and Sharks before the Oilers signed him as a free agent for the 1998-99 season, where he put up 2-3-5 in 46 games with a -5 and 101 PIMs, with no offence and 2 PIMs in another 3 playoff games that season.
He then left the Oilers to sign as a free agent with Boston, which was where he committed his stick swinging incident against Donald Brashear and was convicted of assault charges and suspended by the NHL for 1 year. That incident abruptly put an unofficial end to his career, as he only played 14 games in the IHL after that, before retiring for good.