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Significant Edmonton Oilers Forgotten: Kelly Buchberger

Published October 2, 2023 at 9:15 PM
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Among the forgotten Edmonton Oilers is Kelly Buchberger, who shares company with current Oiler Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.

The once Edmonton Oilers Captain who like Nugent-Hopkins spent 13 years with the team. As an assistant coach as well as director of player personnel, Buchberger would play a major role in the front office. Currently, he is an assistant coach for the Laval Rocket in the QJMHL.

Despite never playing in an NHL All-Star Game or finishing in the top five in Oilers points, Buchberger was snubbed for induction into the Oilers Hall of Fame.

In Oilers history, Buchberger seems unfairly overlooked, but here are some of his best hits.


The Saskatchewan-born Buchberger played 795 regular season games with the Oilers franchise, which is seventh most in franchise history until Nugent-Hopkins passed him. During his time with the team, he played in 78 playoff games.

For four seasons, he wore the captain's patch for the Oilers. Additionally, he won the team's top-defensive award five times and leads the Oilers in penalty minutes.

As a 19-year-old, Buchberger was drafted from the Moose Jaw Warriors after the Oilers won their second consecutive Stanley Cup. It wasn't until 1986-1987 that he turned professional and joined the Cape Breton Oilers in the American Hockey League. As the team was eliminated from the AHL playoffs, he was called up to the big team after collecting a total of 257 PIMS in 70 games.

Buchberger played in three Stanley Cup Finals games before he finally became a regular in the NHL in 1988-1989, appearing for 66 games before the season ended. Despite their best efforts, Edmonton was defeated by the Los Angeles Kings. Buchberger, however, played a solid bottom-six role during their fifth Stanley Cup victory, contributing five points in 19 games.

As a forward, he set career highs in 1991-1992 with 20 goals and 24 assists for 44 points. Buchberger's importance would grow as the team floundered during this period.

Buchberger would become captain in 1994 following Craig McTavish's trade and Shayne Corson's disastrous 35-game captaincy.

It was under Buchberger's leadership that the team returned to playoff contention during the 1995-1996 season. It would be his most legendary goal in his career when he came back from 3-0 with four minutes left against the Dallas Stars in Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals in 1997.

Bucky would spark them into the playoffs and they would advance to the 2nd round, only to lose 4-1 to the Colorado Avalanche.

As Seen On: thehockeywriters.com
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Significant Edmonton Oilers Forgotten: Kelly Buchberger

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