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BLOG: Playfair's career comes full circle with Oilers hiring

Edmonton's new Associate Coach was also the team's first-round, 20th-overall selection at the 1982 NHL Draft in Montreal

by Ryan Frankson /

VANCOUVER, BC - The Oilers will add a promising young prospect to the organization on Friday when they make the eighth-overall selection during the first round of the 2019 NHL Draft.

The promising young prospect they selected 37 years ago with their first-rounder at the 1982 Draft in Montreal? None other than the same man they announced as their new Associate Coach on Thursday - Jim Playfair.

Tweet from @EdmontonJack: Jim Playfair was drafted 20th overall by the Oilers in 1982, playing two games for the big club in 1983-84, including an unassisted goal during a 13-4 rout of NJ. As a head coach, won the 2001 Calder Cup & led Calgary to a solid 96-point season in ���07.

The 55-year-old's hockey career has come full circle and he reminisced about his draft day while speaking with the media in Vancouver a few hours after he was officially added to Edmonton's coaching staff.

"You think back to '82 and it seems like... well, it was forever ago," Playfair laughed.

The former defenceman played for the Portland Winter Hawks of the WHL when the Oilers picked him 20th overall in 1982. Playfair scored a goal and an assist in two games when he made his NHL debut during the 1983-84 campaign before spending the next three seasons with Edmonton's AHL affiliate squad, the Nova Scotia Oilers.

"They had good teams and I wasn't able to crack the lineup," he said of the mid-80s Oilers, who won three Stanley Cup titles in four years during his time with the organization.

Playfair ended up playing 19 more NHL games with the Chicago Blackhawks before he retired after the 1991-92 season. He became Head Coach of the ECHL's Dayton Bombers two years later, kickstarting a coaching career that has included a pair of six-year NHL stints with the Flames and Coyotes - the latter as an associate with Oilers bench boss Dave Tippett.

"To be able to coach and come back is awesome," he said of his return to Edmonton and return to coaching after a two-year hiatus. "It's a special thing to be able to coach in the NHL, it's obviously special to coach in Canada and it's awesome to be able to go back to Edmonton where it all started and hopefully get back to winning."

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