Edmonton Oilers

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Edmonton Oilers
2013–14 Edmonton Oilers season
Conference Western
Division Pacific
Founded 1972
History Alberta Oilers
1972–73 (WHA)
Edmonton Oilers
1973–1979 (WHA)
1979–present (NHL)
Home arena Rexall Place
City Edmonton, Alberta
WCP-Uniform-EDM.png
Colours Blue, Orange, White

              

Media Sportsnet West and Sportsnet Oilers
CHED (630 AM)
Owner(s) Rexall Sports Corporation
(Daryl Katz, Chairman)
General manager Craig MacTavish
Head coach Dallas Eakins
Captain Andrew Ference
Minor league affiliates Oklahoma City Barons (AHL)
Bakersfield Condors (ECHL)
Stanley Cups 5 (1983–84, 1984–85, 1986–87, 1987–88, 1989–90)
Conference championships 7 (1982–83, 1983–84, 1984–85, 1986–87, 1987–88, 1989–90, 2005–06)
Presidents' Trophies 2 (1985–86, 1986–87)
Division championships 9 (1978–79 (WHA), 1982–83, 1983–84, 1984–85, 1986–87, 1987–88, 1989–90, 1990–91, 1991–92)
Official website oilers.nhl.com

The Edmonton Oilers are a professional ice hockey team based in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. They are members of the Pacific Division of the Western Conference of the National Hockey League (NHL).

The Oilers were founded on November 1, 1971, with the team playing its first season in 1972, as one of twelve founding franchises of the major professional World Hockey Association (WHA). They were originally intended to be one of two WHA teams in Alberta (the other one being the Calgary Broncos). However, when the Broncos relocated to Cleveland, Ohio, before the WHA's first season began, the Oilers were renamed the Alberta Oilers. They returned to using the Edmonton Oilers name for the following year, and have been called that ever since. The Oilers subsequently joined the NHL in 1979, as one of four franchises introduced through the NHL merger with the WHA.

After joining the NHL, the Oilers went on to win the Stanley Cup on five occasions: 1983–84, 1984–85, 1986–87, 1987–88 and 1989–90. For their success in the 1980s, the Oilers team of this era has been honoured with dynasty status by the Hockey Hall of Fame.[1]

History[edit]

WHA years (1972–1979)[edit]

On November 1, 1971, the Edmonton Oilers became one of the 12 founding WHA franchises. The original team owner was Bill Hunter. Hunter owned the Edmonton Oil Kings, a junior hockey franchise.[2] He also founded the Canadian Major Junior Hockey League (now known as the Western Hockey League (WHL)).[2] Hunter's efforts to bring major professional hockey to Edmonton via an expansion NHL franchise had been rebuffed by the NHL. So, he looked to the upstart WHA instead. It was Hunter who chose the "Oilers" name for the new WHA franchise. This was a name that had previously been used as a nickname for the Edmonton Oil Kings in the 1950s and 1960s.[3]

After the newly founded Calgary Broncos folded prior to commencement of the inaugural WHA season, the Oilers were renamed the Alberta Oilers as it was planned to split their home games between Edmonton and Calgary. Possibly for financial reasons or to allow for a less complicated return of the WHA to Calgary, though, the team ultimately played all of its home games in the Edmonton Gardens and subsequently changed its name back to the Edmonton Oilers the following year.[4] They won the first game in WHA history 7–4 over the Ottawa Nationals.[5]

The Oilers drew fans with players such as defenceman and team captain Al Hamilton, goaltender Dave Dryden, and forwards Blair MacDonald and Bill Flett. However, a relatively little-noticed move in 1976 would have an important impact on the history of the franchise. That year, journeyman forward Glen Sather was acquired by the Oilers.[6] It turned out to be his final season as a player. However, he was named player-coach late in the season, moving to the bench full-time after the season. Sather would be the coach or general manager of the Oilers for the next 23 years.[7]

The team's performance would improve in 1978, when new owner Peter Pocklington acquired Wayne Gretzky as an under-age player (consequentially, his first year of WHA experience prevented him from being an official 1979–80 NHL rookie), as well as goaltender Eddie Mio and forward Peter Driscoll, from the recently folded Indianapolis Racers for cash.[8] Gretzky's first and only WHA season, 1978–79, saw the Oilers finish first in the WHA standings, posting a league-best 48–30–2 record.[9] However, Edmonton failed to win the championship, as they fell to the Winnipeg Jets in the Avco World Trophy Final. Dave Semenko of the Oilers scored the last goal in WHA history in the third period of the final game, which the Oilers lost 7–3.[10]

The Oilers joined the National Hockey League for 1979–80, along with fellow WHA teams Hartford Whalers, Quebec Nordiques, and the Jets following a merger agreement between the two leagues. Of these four teams, only Edmonton has avoided relocation and renaming; the Nordiques became the Colorado Avalanche in 1995, the Jets became the Phoenix Coyotes in 1996, and the Whalers became the Carolina Hurricanes in 1997.[11]

Entry into the NHL (1979–1983)[edit]

The Oilers lost most of the players from 1978–79 when the NHL held a reclamation draft of players who had bolted to the upstart league as they were allowed to protect two goaltenders and two skill players.[12] Originally, Gretzky was not eligible to be protected; under the rules of the time, he normally would have been placed in the Entry Draft pool. However, Pocklington had signed him to a twenty-one year personal services contract in 1979 and Pocklington used the contract to force the NHL to admit the Oilers and allow the Oilers to keep Gretzky.[13]

The Oilers were mediocre during the regular season in their first two seasons, finishing sixteenth and fourteenth respectively. However, due to the fact that 16 of the 21 NHL teams made the playoffs at the time, the Oilers were still able to get their young players experience in the playoffs (they would make the playoffs for their first thirteen years in the NHL).[14] They won only one playoff series over this time span though, upsetting the Montreal Canadiens in 1980–81. Gretzky set new NHL records in 1980–81 for assists (109)[15] and points (with 164).[16] Also, they still had great draft positions. This allowed the Oilers to put together a young, talented, experienced team quickly. Within three years, Sather and chief scout Barry Fraser had drafted several players who would have an important role in the team's success, including Mark Messier, Glenn Anderson, Jari Kurri, Paul Coffey, Kevin Lowe, Grant Fuhr and Andy Moog.[17]

1981–83: Learning to win[edit]

The Oilers improved in 1981–82, finishing second overall. Grant Fuhr emerged as the Oilers' starting goaltender, and he set a rookie record by going undefeated in twenty-three straight games.[18] However, Gretzky stole the show by setting the single season record for goals with ninety-two[19] and becoming the first player in NHL history to score 200 points (with 212).[16] Gretzky's accomplishments helped the Oilers become the first team to score four hundred goals in a season, a feat they would accomplish for five straight years.[20] However, the Oilers were upset by the Los Angeles Kings in five games (game three of this series, now known as the Miracle on Manchester, saw the Oilers take a 5–0 lead, only to lose 6–5 to the Kings in overtime).[21][22]

In 1982–83, the Oilers finished third overall in the NHL. They advanced all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals (losing only once in the process) before getting swept by defending Stanley Cup Champions the New York Islanders.[23] During this season, Gretzky, Messier, Anderson, and Kurri all topped the 100 point plateau, with Coffey not far behind at 96.[23] After the season, Lee Fogolin resigned as captain of the Oilers, picking Gretzky as his successor.[24]

Dynasty years (1983–1990)[edit]

In 1983–84, the Oilers finished first overall in the NHL, winning a franchise record fifty-seven games and earning 119 points (fifteen points ahead of the second place Islanders). They were the first team to feature three players with fifty goals (Gretzky, Kurri and Anderson).[25] Gretzky started off strong by scoring at least a point in the first fifty-one games of the season.[26] Paul Coffey became the second defenceman ever to score forty goals in a season (with forty exactly).[27] The Oilers scored a grand total of 446 goals as a team, an NHL record.[28] The Oilers were so determined to win the Stanley Cup that they hired Roger Neilson as a video analyst.[29] They started the playoffs strongly by sweeping the Winnipeg Jets in the Smythe Division semifinals. They faced a tougher test in the Calgary Flames, but they defeated them in seven games in the division finals. They then swept the Minnesota North Stars in the conference finals to earn a rematch with the Islanders in the Stanley Cup Finals. The Oilers split the first two games in Long Island, but then won three in a row in Edmonton to become the first former WHA team to win the Stanley Cup. After the series, Mark Messier was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP.[30]

Next year, the Oilers finished second overall in the NHL with 49 wins and 109 points. Wayne Gretzky led the NHL in goals with 73,[31] and Jari Kurri was close behind with a career high 71.[32] Gretzky also became the youngest player in NHL history to score one thousand points.[33] In the playoffs, the Oilers swept the Kings in the opening round and Jets in round two. They won the first two games of the Campbell Conference Finals against the Chicago Blackhawks, but lost the next two before winning the final two and returning to the Stanley Cup Finals. Edmonton lost the first game to Philadelphia, but won the next four to win the Stanley Cup for the second year in a row. Paul Coffey had a playoff performance to remember, setting records for most goals (twelve), assists (twenty-five), and points (thirty-seven) ever by a defenceman in a playoff year.[34] In addition, Jari Kurri tied Reggie Leach's record for most goals in a playoff year, with 19.[35] However, Gretzky won the Conn Smythe Trophy after setting the record for most points in a playoff year (forty-seven).[36]

Wayne Gretzky statue outside of Rexall Place.

Despite some off-season legal issues,[30] the Oilers were again the top team in the NHL during the 1985–86 regular season, with 56 wins and 119 points. They won the inaugural Presidents' Trophy, the trophy given to the team with the best regular-season record. Gretzky, Kurri, and Anderson each scored fifty goals again.[25] Kurri led the NHL in goals with 68, finishing with 131 points. Paul Coffey set a new record for most goals in a season by a defenceman (forty-eight), and he just missed setting a new record for points by a defenceman with 138 (Bobby Orr scored 139 in 1970–71).[37][38] Gretzky also set records for assists (163) and points (215).[26] However, the Oilers failed to win their third straight Stanley Cup, as the Calgary Flames defeated them in seven games in the second round of the playoffs. In the third period of a 2–2 tie during game seven, Steve Smith, a rookie for the Oilers, accidentally sent the puck into his own net on his birthday. This goal stood as the game-and-series-winning goal.[39]

1986–87 saw the Oilers capture their second straight President's Trophy with 50 wins and 106 points. Gretzky and Kurri were first and second in the NHL point scoring race, and Messier was fourth.[40] Edmonton returned to the Stanley Cup Final and faced the same opponent as they had in 1985, the Philadelphia Flyers. The Oilers took a 3 games to 1 lead in the series. However, strong goaltending by Flyers' rookie Ron Hextall forced a game seven. The Oilers still prevailed by a score of 3–1. In the post-game celebration, Gretzky immediately passed the Stanley Cup to Steve Smith, now vindicated after his costly miscue the previous season.[41] However, Hextall won the Conn Smythe Trophy.[42]

The Oilers began losing star players in 1987–88. Paul Coffey sat out the first twenty-one games of the season before getting traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins.[43] Andy Moog also failed to report; he was tired of being Grant Fuhr's backup goalie. Moog played for the Canadian Olympic team in the 1988 Winter Olympics before getting traded to the Boston Bruins for Bill Ranford.[44] Despite the changes, the Oilers placed third overall in the NHL. Grant Fuhr started a league-record 75 games (this record has now been broken)[45] and posted a team-record 40 wins.[46] In the first round of the playoffs, the Oilers dispatched the third place Winnipeg Jets in five games. The Oilers then defeated first-overall Calgary in a sweep. In the Campbell Conference Final against the Detroit Red Wings, the Oilers prevailed in five games. The Oilers then swept the Boston Bruins in five games in a best-of-seven series. This occurred because of trouble during game four. With the score tied 3–3 with 3:23 to play in the second period, a power outage hit the Boston Garden, forcing cancellation of the entire game. The Oilers would win the next game (originally scheduled as game five) back in Edmonton 6–3 to complete the series sweep. However, all player statistics for the aborted game four in Boston are counted in the NHL record books. Gretzky won the Conn Smythe Trophy after leading the playoffs in scoring with forty-three points. After the Cup-clinching game, Gretzky implored his teammates, coaches, trainers, and others from the Oilers organization to join at centre ice for an impromptu team photo with the Stanley Cup. This started a tradition since continued by every subsequent Stanley Cup champion.[47] After the season, Fuhr was awarded the Vezina Trophy as the NHL's top goaltender.[48]

1988–90: After Gretzky[edit]

In a surprising and shocking trade, Gretzky, along with enforcer Marty McSorley and centre Mike Krushelnyski, were traded to the Los Angeles Kings on August 9, 1988. In exchange, the Oilers received $15 million US cash, young star Jimmy Carson, 1988 first round draft choice Martin Gelinas, and the Kings' first round draft picks in 1989, 1991, and 1993. The trade occurred because Pocklington didn't want to risk Gretzky leaving Edmonton without getting anything in return. Gretzky had converted his personal services contract with Pocklington into a standard five-year player's contract with the Oilers in the summer of 1987 with an option to declare himself an unrestricted free agent after the 1988–89 season. During the 1987–88 season, Pocklington had approached Gretzky about renegotiating the contract, but Gretzky, unwilling to give up his chance at free agency, refused, which ultimately led to the trade. None of this was public knowledge at the time.[49]

However, the Oilers and their fans were still upset. Nelson Riis, the New Democratic Party leader in Canada's House of Commons, went so far as to ask the government to block the trade.[50] Several of the Oilers considered launching a team-wide strike, and even considered demanding that Pocklington sell the team.[51]

The loss of Gretzky had an immediate impact in 1988–89, as the Oilers were only able to finish in third place in their division. Mark Messier was chosen to succeed Gretzky as captain.[52] Coincidentally, the Oilers' first round playoff opponent was Gretzky's Los Angeles Kings. Edmonton took a commanding 3–1 series lead, but Gretzky and the Kings fought back to win game seven 6–3 in Los Angeles. It was the first time since 1982 that the Oilers had been eliminated from the playoffs after only one round.

The Oilers underwent more changes during 1989–90 season. John Muckler replaced Glen Sather as head coach of the Oilers; Sather remained general manager and became the Oilers' president.[53] During training camp, Grant Fuhr came down with a severe case of appendicitis. He missed the first ten games of the season, and when he returned he suffered a shoulder injury that eventually sidelined him for the remainder of the season.[18] This marked the emergence of Bill Ranford as a starter. Four games into the season, Jimmy Carson decided the pressure of playing in Edmonton was too intense, and he was traded to Detroit with Kevin McClelland for Petr Klima, Adam Graves, Joe Murphy, and Jeff Sharples.[54] The Oilers improved on their previous season, finishing with 38 wins and 90 points, good for fifth place overall in the NHL. Messier had 45 goals and 84 assists for 129 points, good for second in the NHL scoring race (behind only Gretzky).[55]

In the first round, the Oilers faced the Winnipeg Jets. Trailing the series 3–1 and trailing game five by the identical score, the Oilers rallied to win the next three and take the series. In the division final, the Oilers met the Los Angeles Kings for the second straight season. Edmonton swept the series 4–0, outscoring Los Angeles 22–10. The Oilers met the Chicago Blackhawks in the Campbell Conference Final and fell behind 2–1 in the series. However, the Oilers won the next three games to earn a rematch of the 1988 Stanley Cup Finals with Boston. The Final will be remembered for game one which still stands as the longest Stanley Cup Final game played in the modern NHL. Despite being soundly outshot by the Bruins, the Oilers won the game 3–2 when Petr Klima scored at 15:13 of the third overtime.[56] The Oilers would go on to defeat the Bruins in five games, and win their first Cup without Gretzky. For his superlative goaltending, Bill Ranford was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy.[57]

Decline in success (1990–1996)[edit]

The Oilers lost another important player before the 1990–91 season, as Jari Kurri chose to play the entire season with the HC Milano Devils. Grant Fuhr was also suspended for sixty games for drug abuse.[58] The season itself was not a great one for the Oilers: they finished with 37 wins and 80 points, good for third place in the Smythe Division. In the playoffs, the Oilers met the Flames in the opening round. In a thrilling series, the Oilers won the series in seven games, led by seven goals by Esa Tikkanen. Despite injuries suffered in the series with Calgary, they defeated the Los Angeles Kings in six games. Their success was unable to continue into the Conference Final, however, as they lost in five games to the Minnesota North Stars who were making their Cinderella run.

Rexall Place, home of the Oilers since 1974, is the third oldest arena in the NHL.

The final star players from the Oilers left before the 1991–92 season. Grant Fuhr and Glenn Anderson were traded to Toronto,[59] Steve Smith was traded to Chicago,[60] and Jari Kurri was traded to Philadelphia.[61] Charlie Huddy was claimed by Minnesota in the expansion draft,[62] and Mark Messier was traded to the New York Rangers a day after the season began.[63] The Oilers even lost their head coach, as John Muckler left to become head coach and general manager of the Buffalo Sabres.[53] Ted Green replaced Muckler as head coach,[64] and Kevin Lowe succeeded Messier as captain.[65]

Despite the staggering amount of changes, the Oilers produced a comparable season to 1990–91, finishing third in the Smythe Division with 36 wins and 82 points. In the first round of the playoffs, the Oilers again met the Los Angeles Kings. Again, for the third time since the Gretzky trade, the Oilers defeated the Kings. In the next round, the Oilers defeated the Vancouver Canucks in six games to return to the Campbell Conference Final for the third straight season, this time facing the Chicago Blackhawks. However, the Oilers unexpected run in the playoffs came to a crashing halt, as the Blackhawks dominated every game and swept the series 4–0.

The departures of the stars from the 1980s exposed serious deficiencies in the Oilers' development system. The Oilers had done a poor job of drafting during the dynasty years,[17] and the younger players hadn't had nearly enough time to develop before the core of the 1980s dynasty left town. This didn't become apparent for a few years; as mentioned above, the Oilers still had enough heft to make the conference finals two years in a row. However, it was obvious that they were nowhere near being the powerhouse that had dominated the league in the previous half-decade. In 1992–93, the Oilers missed the playoffs for the first time as an NHL team. They would not return to the post-season for four years, despite the emergence of young centremen Doug Weight and Jason Arnott.

Return to the playoffs (1996–2004)[edit]

In 1996–97, the Oilers made the playoffs for the first time in five years, thanks to stellar goaltending by Curtis Joseph. In the first round, they upset the Dallas Stars, who had compiled the league's second best record, in a seven-game series. The Oilers won game seven on a goal by Todd Marchant in overtime. However, the Oilers surprise playoff run failed to continue, as the Colorado Avalanche defeated them in the next round.

Oilers "rigger" shoulder patch logo, 1996—2007.
Shawn Horcoff, 13th captain in Oilers NHL franchise history.

In 1997–98, Joseph led the Oilers to another first-round upset. After the Colorado Avalanche took a 3–1 series lead, the Oilers held them scoreless for eight straight periods en route to winning the series in seven games. Dallas and Edmonton met again in the second round, but this time, the Stars were the victors. The Oilers would make the playoffs in four of the next six years, but they were defeated after the first round every single time.

Despite their success over the past two seasons, the Oilers were in trouble off the ice. Owner Peter Pocklington had explored moving the Oilers to Minnesota during the 1990s. In 1998, Pocklington almost made a deal to sell the team to Leslie Alexander, the owner of the Houston Rockets of the National Basketball Association (NBA) who would have moved the team to Houston, Texas. However, hours before the deadline to keep the team in Edmonton, the Edmonton Investors Group purchased the team and thus prevented them from being the third Canadian team to move in the 1990s (the Winnipeg Jets and Quebec Nordiques had moved earlier in the decade). The Oilers received support from the NHL for this very reason.[66][67]

On November 22, 2003, the Oilers hosted the 2003 Heritage Classic, the first regular season outdoor hockey game in the NHL's history and part of the celebrations of the Oilers' 25th season in the NHL. The Oilers were defeated by the Montreal Canadiens 4–3 in front of more than 55,000 fans, an NHL attendance record, at Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton. Unfortunately, the Oilers would fail to make the playoffs in the 2003–04 season.

Post-lockout years (2005–2010)[edit]

The Oilers struggled with their small-market status for several years, but after the wiped-out 2004–05 season, they were aided by a collective bargaining agreement between the NHL owners and players. This included a league-wide salary cap that forced all teams to essentially conform to a budget, as the Oilers had been doing for years.[68] A more reasonable conversion rate of Canadian dollar revenues to U.S. dollar payroll in the new millennium also helped the Oilers to return to profitability.[66] Because of this, Edmonton was able to acquire Chris Pronger (former winner of the Hart and Norris Trophies)[69] and Michael Peca (two-time Frank J. Selke Trophy winner)[70] before the 2005–06 season.[71][72]

2005-2006 Season[edit]

The team suffered from inconsistency during the first few months of the regular season, especially in goal and on offence. Goaltenders Ty Conklin and Jussi Markkanen were unreliable in net, and Peca also struggled with offence.[72][73][74] However, in-season acquisitions, such as defenceman Jaroslav Spacek,[75] defenceman Dick Tarnstrom,[76] goaltender Dwayne Roloson,[77] and left wing Sergei Samsonov,[78] helped Edmonton finish the regular season with ninety-five points and clinch the final playoff spot in the Western Conference over the Vancouver Canucks.[79]

In the first round of the playoffs, the Oilers played the Detroit Red Wings (winners of the Presidents' Trophy).[80] Despite Detroit's much better regular season record, the Oilers pulled off a six-game upset for their first playoff series win since 1998.[14] Edmonton then met the San Jose Sharks in the semifinals. After trailing the series two-games-to-none, the Oilers won the next four and became the first eighth-seeded team to reach a Conference Final since the NHL changed the playoff format in 1994.[81] There the Oilers would beat the sixth-seeded Mighty Ducks of Anaheim in five games, claiming the Clarence S. Campbell Bowl for a seventh time.

In the Stanley Cup Final, Edmonton met the Carolina Hurricanes. During the first game, the Oilers blew a 3–0 lead, lost Dwayne Roloson for the series after he suffered a knee injury, and lost 5–4 when Carolina's captain Rod Brind'Amour scored after backup Ty Conklin misplayed the puck. From that game forward, the Oilers used Jussi Markkanen as the new goalie.[82] However, after trailing the series 2–0 and 3–1, the Oilers forced a seventh game with a 2–1 win in game 3, a Fernando Pisani shorthanded overtime winner in game 5 and a 4–0 shutout for Jussi Markkanen in game 6. Unfortunately for them, they could not complete the comeback, as the Hurricanes won the seventh game by a score of 3–1 to capture their first ever Stanley Cup.[83]

2006 Off-Season[edit]

Dustin Penner led the Oilers in points with sixty-three in 2009–10.

During the 2006 off-season many Oilers left the team. Four days after their loss to the Hurricanes, Chris Pronger surprisingly issued a trade request for personal reasons. Pronger was subsequently traded to the Anaheim Ducks for Joffrey Lupul, Ladislav Smid, and three draft picks.[84] Several Oilers left via free agency, and, during the season, long-time Oiler Ryan Smyth was traded to the New York Islanders for Ryan O'Marra, Robert Nilsson, and a first round pick in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft (Alex Plante).[85] Not everyone left the team, however; the Oilers were able to resign Dwayne Roloson and Fernando Pisani. Having lost so many players, the Oilers posted a 32–43–7 record in 2006–07 (their worst record since the 1995–96 season) and finished in eleventh place in the Western Conference. Throughout the season, the Oilers lost various players to injury and illness. At one point, they had eleven players out of the line-up and had to rely on emergency call-ups to fill their roster.[86]

In 2007–08, the Oilers had a 16–21–4 record after the first half of the season. However, they improved the second half of the year and went 25–14–2 in forty-one games for a final record of 41–35–6. This was not good enough to make the playoffs, though, as the Oilers finished three points out in ninth place. During the season, Daryl Katz, owner of the Rexall pharmaceutical company, purchased the Oilers from the Edmonton Investors Group.[87]

2008–09 saw the Oilers finish with a record of 38–35–9. However, that was only good enough for eleventh place in the Western Conference. One bright spot during the season was Oilers goaltender Dwayne Roloson, though, as he became the oldest goalie to play sixty games.[88] After the season, the Oilers fired head coach Craig MacTavish, and hired Pat Quinn to replace him.[89]

Roloson left via free agency at the end of the season, and the Oilers replaced him in goal with Nikolai Khabibulin.[90] The Oilers also worked out a trade with the Ottawa Senators for star right wing Dany Heatley, but Heatley refused to be dealt to Edmonton and was later acquired by the San Jose Sharks.[91] Off-season moves failed to help the Oilers as they finished with the worst record in the league in 2009–10. It was also easily their worst season as an NHL team.

Oil Change (2010–present)[edit]

Following the season, Tom Renney replaced Quinn as the Oilers head coach.[92] The one advantage to such a bad season was that the Oilers were able to make the first pick in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft. The Oilers selected the highly touted Taylor Hall with their pick. They used the off-season to begin the rebuild of the club around their young talent. Patrick O'Sullivan was traded to Phoenix in exchange for Jim Vandermeer, captain Ethan Moreau was placed on waivers and claimed by the Columbus Blue Jackets, and forward Robert Nilsson was bought out of his contract. Along with these players, several others were allowed to enter free agency including Mike Comrie, Marc-Antoine Pouliot and Ryan Potulny. Also during the off-season, radio announcer Rod Phillips announced his retirement. Phillips had been the Oilers' play-by-play announcer since 1973–74. Phillips would call ten specific games in 2010–11 before calling it quits.[93] The 2010–11 Oilers season would be documented in the series Oil Change.

However, even with the changes and addition of Hall, Jordan Eberle, and Magnus Paajarvi the team was still at the bottom of the standings. In an attempt to gain valuable prospects and draft picks, On February 28, 2011, Dustin Penner was traded from the Oilers to the Los Angeles Kings in exchange for Colten Teubert, a first round draft pick in 2011 (Oscar Klefbom), as well as a conditional third round pick in 2012.[94] At the end of the season, the Oilers were at the bottom of the standings and received the right to choose first overall in the upcoming Entry Draft. The Oilers selected Ryan Nugent-Hopkins with the 1st overall selection in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft along with several other "blue chip" prospects. During the 2011 off-season, the team again made several moves to bolster the offence and defence, trading for fan favourite Ryan Smyth from the Los Angeles Kings in exchange for centre Colin Fraser and a 7th round draft pick. The team also traded with the Anaheim Ducks to acquire Andy Sutton for Kurtis Foster. Sheldon Souray, who had played the entire 2010–11 season in the AHL with the Hershey Bears, was bought out of the last year of his contract. These moves, coupled with the signings of Eric Belanger, Cam Barker, Ben Eager, and Darcy Hordichuk, changed the complexion of the team to add "grit and toughness". Despite these moves, the Oilers were unable to qualify for the playoffs for the sixth straight season, finishing fourteenth in the Western Conference. On June 22, 2012, the Edmonton Oilers drafted Nail Yakupov 1st overall in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft.[95] The following week, they signed highly touted defenceman Justin Schultz.[96]

On January 23, 2013, to ensure of the health of the Edmonton Oilers in Edmonton and for the planned revitalization of downtown Edmonton, the City of Edmonton council voted 10-3 to the approval of a deal which will see a new $480 million arena built in Edmonton's downtown core for the start of the 2016–17 NHL season. Rogers Communications announced it would have the naming rights to the new arena on December 3, 2013. The new 18,641 seat arena is to be called Rogers Place. [97]

After seven seasons of missing the playoffs, the Oilers fired General Manager Steve Tambellini. He was replaced with former head coach, Craig MacTavish. MacTavish then fired coach Ralph Krueger and replaced him with former Toronto Marlies head coach Dallas Eakins.[98]

Season-by-season record[edit]

This is a partial list of the last five seasons completed by the Oilers. For the full season-by-season history, see List of Edmonton Oilers seasons

Note: GP = Games played, W = Wins, L = Losses, T = Ties, OTL = Overtime Losses/Shootout Losses, Pts = Points, GF = Goals for, GA = Goals against, PIM = Penalties in minutes

Season GP W L OTL Pts GF GA Finish Playoffs
2009–10 82 27 47 8 62 214 284 5th, Northwest Did not qualify
2010–11 82 25 45 12 62 193 269 5th, Northwest Did not qualify
2011–12 82 32 40 10 74 212 239 5th, Northwest Did not qualify
2012–13 48 19 22 7 45 125 134 3rd, Northwest Did not qualify
2013–14 82 29 44 9 67 203 270 7th, Pacific Did not qualify

Team information[edit]

Jerseys[edit]

The original 1972 design featured the now-traditional colours of blue and orange, but reversed from their more familiar appearance in later seasons, orange being the dominant colour and blue used for the trimming. For the first few games of the 1972 season, player names were not displayed on the uniform; rather the word "ALBERTA" was written in that space. About halfway through the season, though, the player names made their appearance, since the Oilers had played exclusively in Edmonton.[99] These jerseys also featured the player numbers high on the shoulders, rather than on the upper sleeve.

In the 1975–76 WHA season the jersey was changed to the more familiar blue base with orange trim, but with some minor differences. The logo that appeared on programs and promotional material remained the same; however, the logo that appeared on the home jersey had a white oil drop, on a dark orange field, with the team name written in deep blue. The away jersey featured an orange-printed logo, but, otherwise, the jerseys were nearly identical to the dynasty-era form.

When the team jumped to the NHL in 1979, the alternate logos were discarded, giving the jersey its most famous form. However, the logo appeared slightly differently on a few vintages of the jersey. Minor changes were also made to the numbering, lettering, and collar in their first few NHL campaigns. From 1982–89, Nike provided the Oilers' sweaters.

Edmonton's former alternate logo, former primary used from 1996 to 2011.

The essential design remained untouched until 1996, when the team colours were changed to midnight blue and copper, with red trim. Other changes made to the jersey at that point were the removal of the shoulder bar and cuffs from the away jersey, and the addition of the "Rigger" alternate logo to the jersey's shoulders. A year later, the shoulder bars were removed from the home jersey as well, and the Oilers' sweater design then remained stable until 2007.

Edmonton's former alternate logo, used from 2001–07. A raining drop of oil surrounded by half of a sprocket and metal; designed by Spawn creator and former Oilers co-owner Todd McFarlane.

In 2001, the Oilers introduced their first alternate third jersey. Designed by then-minority owner Todd McFarlane and his production studio, the new uniforms were a radical departure from previous Oilers designs. The original Oilers logo was completely absent, along with copper and red; midnight blue was complemented with two shades of silver/grey, and the primary logo was a flying set of gears with an oil drop on top. Elements of the logo paid tribute to the five Stanley Cup titles and ten team captains to that point. A silver shield bearing "OILERS" above a variation of the oil-drop gear adorned the shoulders.[100][101] The jersey's sleeve numbers are located inside the white sleeve stripe.

In 2007, with the NHL's switch to Reebok Edge jerseys, the Oilers kept their team colours but changed the style of their jerseys. Most notable about the Edge jerseys were the removal of the waistline stripes in favour of vertical piping, and the sleeve stripes only appearing on the inside of the elbow panels. The "Rigger" was retired, along with the McFarlane third jersey and its associated logos.

In 2008, the Oilers introduced a new alternate jersey that closely resembled the blue-and-orange away jersey of the dynasty era. For the 2009–10 season, this jersey became the Oilers' main home jersey as blue and orange became the primary team colours once again. The old midnight blue-and-copper jersey became their alternate. On June 24, 2011, the Oilers presented their new white road jerseys at the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, when they selected Ryan Nugent-Hopkins 1st overall.[102] The midnight blue jersey remained as the third jersey before being dropped altogether in 2012.

Mascot[edit]

The Oilers do not have a mascot, making them one of four NHL teams without one (the others are the Dallas Stars, New York Rangers, and Philadelphia Flyers.)[103]

Oilers Octane[edit]

During the 2010–11 season, the Oilers introduced the Oilers Octane, the first cheerleading squad for a Canadian NHL team. The Oilers Octane consists of 19 women aged 18–29, most of whom are from the greater Edmonton area (within neighbouring suburbs), or the province of Alberta.[104]

The cheer team was, initially, not greeted with enthusiasm by all fans. Just over 1,500 people signed an online petition against it, suggesting the women do not improve the game experience, and may in fact hinder it. Many felt the cheer team was a cheap PR stunt and considered it disrespectful to women and completely unrelated to hockey.[105]

In addition to performing cheers at Oilers home games, helping with promotions and interacting with fans, the Octane members participate in charity fund raising and special events.[106]

Players[edit]

Current roster[edit]

Updated April 16, 2014.[107]

# Nat Player Pos S/G Age Acquired Birthplace
14 Canada Eberle, JordanJordan Eberle (A) RW R 23 2008 Regina, Saskatchewan
35 Sweden Fasth, ViktorViktor Fasth G L 31 2014 Kalix, Sweden
21 Canada Ference, AndrewAndrew Ference (CInjured Reserve D L 35 2013 Edmonton, Alberta
5 Canada Fraser, MarkMark Fraser D L 27 2014 Ottawa, Ontario
89 Canada Gagner, SamSam Gagner (A) C R 24 2007 London, Ontario
20 Canada Gazdic, LukeLuke Gazdic Injured Reserve LW L 24 2013 Toronto, Ontario
27 Canada Gordon, BoydBoyd Gordon Injured Reserve C R 30 2013 Unity, Saskatchewan
4 Canada Hall, TaylorTaylor Hall (A) LW L 22 2010 Calgary, Alberta
23 United States Hendricks, MattMatt Hendricks C L 32 2014 Blaine, Minnesota
6 Finland Joensuu, JesseJesse Joensuu Injured Reserve LW L 26 2013 Pori, Finland
28 Canada Jones, RyanRyan Jones Injured Reserve LW L 29 2010 Chatham, Ontario
36 Denmark Larsen, PhilipPhilip Larsen D R 24 2013 Esbjerg, Denmark
85 Slovakia Marincin, MartinMartin Marincin D L 22 2010 Kosice, Czechoslovakia
93 Canada Nugent-Hopkins, RyanRyan Nugent-Hopkins (A) C L 21 2011 Burnaby, British Columbia
57 Canada Perron, DavidDavid Perron LW R 25 2013 Sherbrooke, Quebec
2 United States Petry, JeffJeff Petry D R 26 2006 Ann Arbor, Michigan
19 Canada Schultz, JustinJustin Schultz D R 23 2012 Kelowna, British Columbia
30 Canada Scrivens, BenBen Scrivens G L 28 2014 Spruce Grove, Alberta
64 Russia Yakupov, NailNail Yakupov Injured Reserve RW L 20 2012 Nizhnekamsk, Russia

Retired numbers[edit]

Edmonton Oilers retired numbers
No. Player Position Career No. retirement
3 Al Hamilton D 1972–80 1980 1
7 Paul Coffey D 1980–87 October 18, 2005
9 Glenn Anderson RW 1980–91, 1995–96 January 18, 2009
11 Mark Messier LW 1979–91 February 27, 2007
17 Jari Kurri RW 1980–90 October 6, 2001
31 Grant Fuhr G 1981–91 October 9, 2003
99 2 Wayne Gretzky C 1978–88 October 1, 1999
Notes:
  • 1 Jersey ceremony held April 4, 2001.
  • 2 Gretzky's #99 was retired league-wide by the NHL on February 6, 2000.[108]

Hall of Famers[edit]

Name Position/Role Seasons Played/Served Year Inducted
Glenn Anderson Right Wing 1980–91, 1995–96 2008
Paul Coffey Defenceman 1980–87 2004
Grant Fuhr Goaltender 1981–91 2003
Wayne Gretzky Centre 1978–88 1999
Jari Kurri Right Wing 1980–90 2001
Mark Messier Left Wing 1979–91 2007
Roger Neilson Video Analyst 1984 (Playoffs) 2002
Adam Oates Centre 2003–04 2012
Rod Phillips Broadcaster 1973–2010 2003
Jacques Plante Goaltender 1974–75 1978
Glen Sather Head Coach, President, General Manager 1976–2000 1997
Norm Ullman Centre 1975–77 1982

Franchise records[edit]

Scoring leaders[edit]

These are the top-ten point, goal, and assist scorers in franchise history. Figures are updated after each completed NHL regular season.

Note: Pos = Position; GP = Games Played; G = Goals; A = Assists; Pts = Points; P/G = Points per game; G/G = Goals per game; A/G = Assists per game; * = current Oilers player

Note: This list includes WHA statistics.

Single-season leaders[edit]

Items marked in bold are NHL records.

NHL awards and trophies[edit]

Stanley Cup

NHL League Championship*

* prior to creation of the Presidents' Trophy in 1985–86

Presidents' Trophy

Clarence S. Campbell Bowl

Art Ross Trophy

Conn Smythe Trophy

Hart Memorial Trophy

Jack Adams Award

James Norris Memorial Trophy

King Clancy Memorial Trophy

Lady Byng Memorial Trophy

Lester B. Pearson Award

NHL Plus/Minus Award

Vezina Trophy


All-Star Game selections[edit]

Year Player(s)
2012 Jordan Eberle
2009 Sheldon Souray
2008 Shawn Horcoff
2007 Ryan Smyth
2003 Eric Brewer
2002 Tommy Salo
2001 Janne Niinimaa, Doug Weight
2000 Tommy Salo
1999 Roman Hamrlik
1998 Doug Weight
1997 Jason Arnott
1996 Doug Weight
1994 Shayne Corson
1993 Dave Manson
1992 Vincent Damphousse
1991 Mark Messier, Bill Ranford, Steve Smith
1990 Jari Kurri, Kevin Lowe, Mark Messier
1989 Jimmy Carson, Grant Fuhr, Jari Kurri, Kevin Lowe, Mark Messier
1988 Glenn Anderson, Grant Fuhr, Wayne Gretzky, Jari Kurri, Kevin Lowe, Mark Messier,
1986 Glenn Anderson, Paul Coffey, Lee Fogolin, Grant Fuhr, Wayne Gretzky, Jari Kurri, Kevin Lowe, Mark Messier, Andy Moog
1985 Glenn Anderson, Paul Coffey, Grant Fuhr, Wayne Gretzky, Mike Krushelnyski, Jari Kurri, Kevin Lowe, Andy Moog
1984 Glenn Anderson, Paul Coffey, Grant Fuhr, Wayne Gretzky, Kevin Lowe, Mark Messier
1983 Paul Coffey, Wayne Gretzky, Jari Kurri, Mark Messier
1982 Paul Coffey, Grant Fuhr, Wayne Gretzky, Mark Messier
1981 Wayne Gretzky
1980 Wayne Gretzky, Blair MacDonald

Home arenas[edit]

Broadcasters[edit]

Television: Rogers Sportsnet West

Radio: CHED

  • Jack Michaels - Play-by-play
  • Bob Stauffer - Colour commentator
  • Reid Wilkins - Reporter

Web: oilers.nhl.com

  • Tom Gazzola - Reporter

See also[edit]

References[edit]

General[edit]

Specific[edit]

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Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]