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Edmonton Oilers

Ah yes, the early 90’s post-dynasty Edmonton Oilers that are many an SNES coach’s favorite “whipping boy”. Personally, the Oilers are my favorite team in the game and one that I feel deserves a bit more praise than it gets…at least among its best players. Among the most overlooked teams on the SNES, The Oilers possess an abundance of speed, skill, and physicality that is evenly distributed among the team’s best players. Only a lack of depth on the bench prevents the Oilers from being considered a top-tier team, but with the right coach, lineup, gameplan, and crossed-fingers for no injuries, this is a team that can certainly compete with and defeat the best teams in the league.

Forwards

“Simpson 3:16”

Corson-Simpson-Klima

Where to start with this line? A first look at "Sugar" Shayne Corson would suggest that he’s not going to be the Oilers’ most dynamic scoring threat with a sub-par 55/45 shot. This fact is mostly true, but Corson brings so much to this team on the defensive side of the ice that makes him a valuable player nonetheless. At 212 lbs. and with a 65 in both defensive awareness and checking, Corson is great on the forecheck even when controlled by the AI. Simply put, Corson knows where to be on the ice to create turnovers and spark odd-man rushes or breakaways. His weight and checking also allow him to be a strong physical presence in general whereby he can take down a majority of the game’s skaters with ease. Perhaps making him even more appealing are his skating ratings of 65 in both Agility and Speed. With these ratings, Corson is a viable option for rushing the puck into the offensive zone and certainly is no stranger to scoring on dekes and the occasional one-timer.

Next we have Craig Simpson, arguably the most effective bench player in the game who compares favorably to the likes of Carson, Linden, etc. Don’t let Simpson’s overall rating fool you-- he has the abilities in all of the crucial areas to be one of the Oilers’ most effective players and a scoring threat that should be not be ignored. Simpson’s skating is modest, if not, ho-hum at a mere 55 in Agility and Speed and his checking does not look threatening at a below average 45. However, at 204 lbs. Simpson is capable of making some effective checks from time to time but more importantly is capable of withstanding hits from some of the lighter players in the game. This factor is crucial as it allows Simpson to utilize his team-best 65 offensive awareness and dig right into the prime scoring areas. Here, a 65/85 shot comes into play as a deadly weapon that makes Simpson a dangerous player when he’s left alone with a lane to shoot.

Last but not least is Petr Klima; undoubtedly the anchor of the Edmonton Oilers offense. A case can certainly be made for the 196 lb. Klima to be placed at Center where he can unleash his own potent one-timers through a 65/85 shot or go 1 on 1 with defenders with his deking and dangling abilities enhanced by 85 stickhandling. However, Klima being on the Right Wing maintains balance in the Edmonton Oilers offense. He can use his 85 Agility and Speed to quickly rush the puck into the offensive zone and either attack the net with a deke, or dish off to Simpson who has quietly slipped into a scoring area while the defense was too focused on Klima’s speed. With Klima at Center, this ability is lost as Simpson is generally too slow to lead the attack up ice, and Klima will likely have skated out of prime scoring areas or missed them altogether with only 55 offensive awareness.

“Worth the Weight?”

Weight-Simpson-Klima

Strictly, a backup option and not recommended as a starter, Doug Weight’s average abilities (55 Agi/Spd/Off-Awr/ShotPwr+Acc/Checking and 65 defensive awareness) on both sides of the ice do not make him any more effective than Corson. Only in the event of Corson having an off game with fumbled pucks should Weight be brought in as his 65 stickhandling will not necessarily handcuff the team due to a viable pass receiver and puck carrier still being on the ice. It’s where Weight won’t necessarily help the Oilers that will handcuff the team. He may go off and have a big game from time to time, but squeezing consistent offense or defense out of Weight can be a major hassle due his having no outstanding skill in any one particular area.

Elsewhere, the Edmonton Oilers bench is littered with similarly average bench players who also lack distinguishing features or outstanding skills in a particular area. Players such as Zdeno Ciger, Kevin Todd, or even Todd Elik will have to enter the game from time to time due to injuries or penalties. Like Doug Weight before them, they may not necessarily handcuff the team due to poor skills, but it will be a chore for them to contribute positively with the average skills they do have.

Defensemen

Manson-Kravchuk

A solid pairing as Dave Manson and Igor Kravchuk both weigh in at 212 lbs. while their checking ratings are 65 and 55 respectively. This allows both defenders to be moderately physical with Manson being the heavy hitter of the team who can consistently knock down many of the game’s players (heavyweights included). Furthermore, both possess a strong knack for being in the right positions defensively as indicated by their respective 85 and 65 defensive awareness ratings. Both players can also bring some offense to the table with Manson being the front-runner of this pairing due to his 65 Agility and Speed ratings. Manson is the defensemen to rush the puck up ice if the coach decides to take that route. His skating and weight will allow him to absorb a hit or two, push to the net for dekes, or draw defenders away from the forwards and allow the forwards to get open to work their magic. Manson also notably packs a powerful, albeit inaccurate, 85/35 shot that could be occasionally effective in slapshot or one-timer situations. Offensively, Kravchuk (also 65 Agility) takes a backseat to Manson due to a slightly lower Speed rating (55) which can sometimes prevent him from quickly rushing the puck up ice without getting hit or turning the puck over. Kravchuk is not entirely useless as an offensive defenseman, but in consideration of average shot ratings (55/45) and his aforementioned Speed, he is certainly much more effective in a conservative, defense-first role where he only touches the puck occasionally for a deke attempt or two each game.

On the Oilers bench, there are several options to choose from that while average, are competent enough to not hold the team back too much. Brian Benning’s crucial stats (204 lb. weight, 45 Agi/Spd/Stk Handling, 65 Def Awareness) suggest that he is an unspectacular, uncapable bench option. However, Benning under a coach’s control appears to inexplicably have enough speed to at least become a deking threat if the opposing team doesn’t strongly focus on him while he carries the puck.

With a 212 lb. weight, 65/55 skating, and 55 defensive awareness/checking, Geoff Smith plays the most like Manson and Kravchuk and is therefore probably the best bench option that the Oilers have on defense. There is not much else to say about Smith except he is another decent defensive defenseman who probably should not be leading the attack offensively in most situations.

Lastly, there is Luke Richardson, likely the best option among the remaining Oilers defensemen after Geoff Smith. Richardson ties with Brian Glynn as the Oilers heaviest defender at 228 lbs., while both defenders also have 55/55 skating and defensive awareness ratings. However, Richardson’s 55 stick handling edges out Glynn’s 45 which will be crucial in not further crippling the Oilers’ puck movement where Richardson may be receiving passes. Make no mistake though, Richardson’s main strength is physicality; any other attempts to make him an offensive threat will likely not succeed. If he can stick to laying down big body checks (65 checking) and can play smart, positional defense, he’s doing enough and should not be asked to provide much else.

Summary

A strong offense and a solid defense…as long as there are no injuries and penalties are kept to a minimum. Just about every element is brought to the table offensively in some form or another. Klima brings plus skating and the ability to execute dekes and dangles with high precision. Simpson and Klima both bring superior shooting skills that can make blasting deadly, accurate one-timers an absolute breeze as long as both players can get open. Corson scores the occasional goal, but most importantly, brings the defensive presence that causes havoc, turnovers, and scoring chances. Manson and Kravchuk bring the ability to play lockdown, tight defense and contribute offensively to go along with what the forwards already can do. Should any of the starters become injured, winning games with the Edmonton Oilers can sometimes become an uphill battle, but is not impossible. With their best players on the ice, the Oilers have all that is necessary to be a force on the SNES and recall the team’s glory days of years past…

Edited by Oilers442
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An underrated team. I totally agree with your assessment.

Up front, Corson-Simpson-Klima is a nice blend of grit, skill and speed. Corson is ideal for a crash and bang style that leads to turn overs, Simpson has a killer one-timer from the slot, and Klima is a speed demon with a nice shot as well.

On D, Manson is a BEAST.. and I find Richardson to be underrated.. but not quite good enough to supplant Kravchuk as starter.

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