Edmonton Oilers

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Posted by pompos 03/17/2009 @ 12:18

Tags : edmonton oilers, western conference teams, nhl, hockey, sports

News headlines
Ex-Oilers show they're happier in Carolina - Edmonton Sun
By JOHN SHORT If you swallowed all that kool-aid about the incredible harmony that existed last season in the Edmonton Oilers dressing room, it's time for you to scan the Carolina Hurricanes roster. It's worth remembering the recent fact that Erik Cole...
Red Wings' Dan Cleary a former Blackhawk - Chicago Tribune
He played 41 games over two seasons for the Blackhawks before he was traded to the Edmonton Oilers. "I wasn't ready," Cleary said of his time in Chicago. He admitted he lacked "maturity on the ice, off the ice." Wings coach Mike Babcock, who cut Cleary...
Cup lifted city's spirits - Edmonton Sun
By ALYSSA NOEL, SUN MEDIA Twenty-five years ago, before Cal Nichols's long and involved relationship with the Edmonton Oilers had begun, he was just another dot in a sea of season ticket holders, jubilantly celebrating the team's first Stanley Cup win....
Conference Semifinals peak with three Game 7s - NHL.com
The last time the previous two NHL champions met in a playoff series that reached a seventh game was in 1991, when the 1990 victors, the Edmonton Oilers, defeated the 1989 champion Calgary Flames in a 5-4 overtime thriller. The Boston Bruins, in their...
John Muckler, the strategist - SLAM! Sports
Despite dominating in the regular season - and with the exception of a second-round clash with the Calgary Flames - cruising through the playoffs, the Edmonton Oilers assistant coach had been around long enough to know the New York Islanders were not...
Eastern & Western conference - Edmonton Journal
By Jim Matheson, The Edmonton JournalMay 17, 2009 The Edmonton Oilers were given the green light to talk to San Jose Sharks assistant coach Todd Richards about their vacant head coaching job. They had to ask permission. Richards spent his first season...
Change for the better: Moves helped Thunder raise bar in 'crazy ... - Stockton Record
Chapman also is talking with the Edmonton Oilers about remaining Stockton's NHL parent franchise. He said he's confident both deals will get done. Cichocki was fired after three-plus seasons with Stockton. The team was 10-17-4 when the change occurred....
Ex-Flyers Doing Well In Playoffs - Do The Flyers Miss Them? - Bleacher Report
Nedved was claimed off waivers by the Edmonton Oilers in January 2007. So far in the playoffs, he has recorded 5-points, registered 41-hits (5th in playoffs), along with 27-blocked shots (also 5th in playoffs). He was a 1st round pick (4th overall) for...
Daum: The right man for the (other) job - Edmonton Journal
Rob Daum desperately wants to be a head coach, which is a good thing, since he is the leading candidate for just such a job in the Edmonton Oilers organization. That the vacant position is in Springfield, Mass., with the Falcons, rather than Edmonton...
Caps-Pens ready to join nhl's other 7-game epics - NHL.com
1986: Edmonton Oilers vs. Calgary Flames -- The Oilers were seeking their third-straight Stanley Cup in 1986 and they had perhaps their best team. Wayne Gretzky had his greatest season with 163 assists and 215 points. Paul Coffey set a record for...

Edmonton Oilers

Edmonton Oilers

The Edmonton Oilers are a professional ice hockey team based in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. The team is currently part of the Northwest Division in 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). Notably, the team was temporarily renamed the Alberta Oilers when the Calgary Broncos (a fellow WHA founding franchise in Alberta) relocated to Cleveland, Ohio. However, the team returned to the Edmonton Oilers name the following year. The Oilers subsequently joined the NHL in 1979 as one of four franchises introduced through the NHL merger with the WHA. The Oilers are now the sole remaining WHA team playing in their original city.

After joining the NHL, the Oilers quickly went on to win the Stanley Cup on five occasions: 1984, 1985, 1987, 1988 and 1990. As the dominant NHL team of the 1980s, the Oilers team of this era has been honored with "dynasty" status by the NHL Hockey Hall of Fame.

As part of the Battle of Alberta that has manifested throughout Alberta sports history, the Oilers continue to maintain an intense rivalry with the Calgary Flames.

On November 1, 1971, the Edmonton Oilers became one of the 12 founding World Hockey Association franchises. The original team owner was Bill Hunter. Hunter had previously owned the junior hockey franchise Edmonton Oil Kings. He had also founded what would become the Western Hockey League. However, Hunter's efforts to bring major professional hockey to Edmonton via an expansion NHL franchise had been rebuffed by the NHL. Therefore, Hunter 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.

After the newly founded Calgary Broncos were relocated to Cleveland 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. Therefore, the team began their inaugural year wearing the name of the province ("ALBERTA") along the backs of their jerseys where the players' names would usually appear. However, the team switched to presenting the players' names midway through the season. Possibly for financial reasons or to allow for a less complicated return of the WHA to Calgary, 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.

The team proved popular with the fans, behind stars such as defenceman and team captain Al Hamilton, star goaltender Dave Dryden, and forwards Blair MacDonald and Bill Flett. The team's performance would change for the better in 1978, when new owner Peter Pocklington scored one of the greatest trades in hockey history, acquiring already-aspiring superstar Wayne Gretzky as an under-age player (consequentially, his first year of WHA experience did not make him an official 1979-80 NHL rookie), as well as goaltender Eddie Mio and forward Peter Driscoll, from the recently-folded Indianapolis Racers for a token sum. Gretzky's first and only WHA season, 1978–79, saw the Oilers shoot to the top of the WHA standings, posting a league-best 48–30–2 record. However, Edmonton’s regular season success did not translate into a championship, as they fell to the rival Winnipeg Jets in the Avco World Trophy Final. Young Oilers enforcer Dave Semenko scored the last goal in WHA history late in the third period of the final game.

The Oilers joined the National Hockey League for 1979–80, with fellow WHA teams Hartford Whalers, Quebec Nordiques, and the Jets. 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.

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. They were allowed to protect two players and two skill players, including Gretzky.

However, GM/coach Glen Sather carefully restocked the roster in the expansion draft. He later said that out of 761 players on the draft list, only 53 really interested him. He concentrated on drafting free agents, since the Oilers would get compensation if they signed somewhere else. He estimated that this saved the Oilers as much as $500,000 that could be used in the Entry Draft.

This strategy allowed the Oilers to put together a fairly respectable team quickly. In marked contrast, the Jets finished dead last in the league two years in a row. The Oilers benefited from an early run of success in the Entry Draft. Within three years, Sather and chief scout Barry Fraser bagged an outstanding core of young players, including Mark Messier, Glenn Anderson, Jari Kurri, Paul Coffey, Kevin Lowe, Grant Fuhr and Andy Moog.

Blessed with an abundance of speed and skill and given room to grow by Sather, this impressive group of young talent matured into one of the greatest teams in hockey history, dominating the NHL in the mid-to-late 1980s. Many experts consider the Oilers from that decade not only to be the best team ever in the long history of the NHL, but also one of the best sports teams ever, as evidenced by a recent Sporting News poll in February 2006 when the 1987–88 Oilers were listed as one of the top-five teams from the last 120 years.

The Oilers made a name for themselves very early, making the Stanley Cup playoffs in their first NHL season (1979–80) with a dramatic late-season winning streak, but were swept by the Philadelphia Flyers in three games. Gretzky’s rookie disappointment was not limited to the “merger” rule that disqualified him from Calder Memorial Trophy voting—the Los Angeles Kings’ Marcel Dionne was awarded the Art Ross Trophy (point-scoring crown), even though the rookie Gretzky had an equal point total, 137: Dionne with 53 goals and 84 assists; Gretzky with 51 goals and 86 assists. Dionne won the Art Ross on the basis of more goals, even though Gretzky had played only 79 regular season games to Dionne's 80. In his 1985 biography of his son, Gretzky: From the Backyard Rink to the Stanley Cup, Walter Gretzky argued that the NHL was inconsistent and unfair with regards to Wayne's eligibility for the Calder Trophy and "loss" of the Art Ross Trophy. While the letter of the law was against him, Gretzky won over the voters with his remarkable performance, and was awarded the Hart Trophy as NHL MVP, an unprecedented feat for a teenager.

In the 1980–81 regular season, Gretzky began to take serious aim at the record book, scoring 109 assists and 164 points to break records held by former Bruin greats Bobby Orr, Phil Esposito and Bill Cowley. The Oilers unveiled a spectacular crop of rookies: Kurri, Anderson, Coffey and Moog. The youthful Oilers, whose seven key players were 21 or younger, stunned the hockey world by sweeping the heavily-favoured Montreal Canadiens in three games and pushing the (successfully) defending Stanley Cup champion New York Islanders to six games.

In the 1981–82 season, the Oilers made a dramatic leap in the standings—jumping from 74 points (14th overall) in the previous season to 111 points (second overall, behind only the Islanders). Gretzky not only became the third NHL player to score 50 goals in 50 games, joining the Islanders’ Mike Bossy from the previous season and Canadiens legend Maurice Richard from 1944–45, he obliterated their mark by accomplishing the feat in just 39 games. Gretzky finished the season with unprecedented totals of 92 goals and 212 points, and the explosive Oilers became the first NHL team to score 400 goals, a feat they accomplished in five consecutive seasons. But youthful lapses of discipline led to a first round defeat at the hands of the Kings, even as Gretzky beat Dionne for the Art Ross—in the 1980–81 to 1986–87 seasons, Gretzky won the Art Ross trophy every season, beating the annual runner-up by a colossal average of 66 points. He won the Hart Trophy as the NHL's Most Valuable Player in each of his first eight seasons.

In 1982–83 the Oilers solidified their status as an elite team, making it all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals. However, they were swept in four games by the three-time defending champion Islanders, who had already-greats like Bossy, Bryan Trottier, Clark Gillies and Denis Potvin. Goaltender Billy Smith played a huge role in the Finals, holding the high-scoring Oilers to just 6 goals. Despite the sweep, many hockey pundits believed it was only a question of when, not if, the Oilers would finally break through.

In 1983–84, the Oilers roared through the regular season, earning a franchise-record 57 wins and 119 points—by far the best record in the league—while scoring a still-unmatched NHL record 446 goals. They earned a rematch with the Islanders in the Stanley Cup Finals. They won the opening game in Long Island by a score of 1–0, and were pounded 6–1 in the next game. However, the Oilers erupted on their home ice to outscore the Islanders 19–6 over the last three games of the series. Gretzky scored his 99th and 100th goals of the season in the finale, a 5–2 Oiler triumph on May 19, 1984. Mark Messier, a former All-Star left wing switched to center late in the season in an inspired move by Sather, emerged from Gretzky's shadow with a dominating Finals performance that earned him the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP.

Edmonton repeated as Stanley Cup champions in 1985, overpowering the Philadelphia Flyers and goaltender Pelle Lindbergh. Gretzky, Coffey, and Kurri all established playoff scoring records, with Gretzky capturing the Smythe Trophy for his virtuoso 47-point performance. The Oilers were unstoppable, scoring eight goals in the final game of each of their last three series, as well as going on an unmatched record 10 game winning streak to start the playoffs.

The Oilers seemed invincible after another record-smashing regular season in 1985–86, in which they won the first-ever President's Trophy, awarded to the team finishing with the most points in the regular season. Kurri, Anderson, and Gretzky all scored over 50 goals, while Coffey notched 48 to break Bobby Orr's record for defencemen. Gretzky's 163 assists established a seemingly-unbreakable league record; in fact, at that point no other NHL player had ever scored that many points in a season. Shockingly, their bid for a third straight championship—“three-peat”—came to an end in Game 7 of the 1985–86 Smythe Division Finals against the Flames. In the third period of a 2–2 tie, rookie defenceman Steve Smith banked his breakout pass off goaltender Grant Fuhr's left skate and into the Oilers' net. The goal stood as the game- and-series-winning goal.

At this point, Edmonton home attendance began to suffer for reasons unknown. In 1986–87, Edmonton returned to the Stanley Cup Final and again defeated the Flyers in a tense seven-game series, overcoming a Conn Smythe Trophy winning performance by Philadelphia rookie goalie Ron Hextall. In the seventh game Oiler stars Messier, Kurri, and Anderson were able to solve Hextall for a goal apiece, and a mature Edmonton squad held the Flyers to just two shots in the third period en route to a convincing 3–1 victory. In the post-game celebration, Gretzky immediately passed the Stanley Cup to Steve Smith, now vindicated after his costly miscue the previous season.

The following season saw some trouble with fluid blueliner Coffey, who was unhappy with his contract. He held out, prompting a trade to the Pittsburgh Penguins, a team on which Mario Lemieux was the main star. The key player acquired in return was Craig Simpson, who went on to score 56 goals that season. Without Coffey in 1987–88, the Oilers were dethroned as Smythe Division champions by their provincial rivals, the Flames, who also won the President's Trophy. However, the playoffs saw the Oilers make their strongest run to the Cup, losing only two playoff games (the lowest loss total ever for the Cup winners under the "16 wins" playoff format) and sweeping the Boston Bruins to win their fourth Stanley Cup in five years. In doing so, the Oilers left their mark as one of the greatest teams of all time.

A notable event in Finals history occurred in Game Four on May 24. With the score tied 3–3 in the second period, a power outage struck the legendary Boston Garden, forcing cancellation of the whole game. Then-NHL President John Ziegler ordered the game to be re-scheduled, and, if necessary, played in Boston after the originally scheduled Game Seven in Edmonton. The Oilers would win the next game (originally scheduled as Game Five) back in Edmonton 6–3 to complete the series sweep. All player statistics accrued in the aborted Game Four in Boston are counted in the NHL record books. Gretzky established yet another record with 13 points in the Finals en route to his second Smythe Trophy. 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, a tradition since continued by every subsequent Stanley Cup Champion.

On August 9, 1988, Gretzky, along with fan favourites Marty McSorley and Mike Krushelnyski, was traded to Los Angeles for $15 million, two rising young players (Jimmy Carson and Martin Gelinas), along with three first-round draft picks. Carson only played two seasons in Edmonton before being traded to the Detroit Red Wings. Gelinas played five years for Edmonton, never scoring more than twenty goals. The Oilers traded the 1989 pick (Jason Miller) to the New Jersey Devils for defenceman Corey Foster, then used the 1991 and 1993 picks to select Martin Rucinsky and Nick Stajduhar, respectively, neither of whom were major contributors during their time in Edmonton.

The 1988–89 season was a troubled one, as the Oilers were booted out of the first round of the playoffs for the first time since 1982, losing a seven-game series to Gretzky's Kings. On top of this defeat, they had to see the Cup ultimately claimed by Calgary, their bitter rival. Gretzky and Kurri had been the dominant offensive pairing of the 1980s, and many said that Kurri without Gretzky would be ordinary. But in making the NHL Second All-Star Team in his first season without Gretzky, with 44 goals and 58 assists, Kurri proved his critics wrong.

It was seemingly the beginning of the end for Edmonton's brilliance, and 1989–90 looked set to continue the turmoil for the former juggernaut. Fuhr, the team's All-Star goaltender and a future Hall of Famer, was injured for most of the season and playoffs with a badly separated shoulder. He would be traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1991 after publicly acknowledging his cocaine problem (for which he was suspended an NHL record 60 games during the 1990–91 season). However, the team rallied behind Fuhr's backup Bill Ranford and an MVP season from new team captain Mark Messier to achieve a second-place finish in the Smythe Division behind Calgary. In the playoffs, the Oilers, led by their "Kid Line" of Gelinas, Adam Graves, and Joe Murphy (not to be confused with the 1932 Leafs line of the same name consisting of Busher Jackson, Joe Primeau, and Charlie Conacher), got by Winnipeg, Los Angeles, and Chicago before disposing of the Bruins in five games to claim their fifth Stanley Cup in seven years. Ranford won the Conn Smythe Trophy as Playoff Most Valuable Player for his brilliant goaltending, and Kurri said of the victory, “Just a great load off the backs of us Oilers—we’re not a one-man show, and everybody knows it now, after we won without Wayne.” This season was also a test for Mark Messier, who was named captain one season prior. He proved his leadership skills, having a career season with 129 points, finishing second to none other than Gretzky in scoring, scoring five more goals than Gretzky, and captaining his team to the Stanley Cup.

Seven Oilers, including Messier, Anderson, Kurri, Lowe, Fuhr, Randy Gregg, and Charlie Huddy, played on all five of those championship teams. Messier, Anderson, and Lowe subsequently won a sixth Cup with the New York Rangers in 1994; by remarkable coincidence, they were the first three draft choices in the history of the NHL Oilers.

The Gretzky trade had opened up a new reality of rapidly climbing salaries in the NHL. Edmonton has always been one of the smallest markets in the NHL; for most of the dynasty years it was the fourth-smallest (ahead of only Quebec, Hartford and Calgary). Despite Pocklington's wealth, the Oilers simply were not able to match the salaries offered by larger-market teams. This rash of escalating salaries hit the Canadian teams particularly hard; only Toronto, Montreal, and (to a lesser extent) Vancouver had the resources to compete in this new environment. In addition, Pocklington's business empire sank under the weight of recession, scandal, and corruption.

Messier, Kurri, Fuhr, Anderson, and later Craig MacTavish all left the team in rapid succession after the 1990 Cup triumph. Many of the players from the dynasty years continued to play at an elite level well into the 1990s, leading to speculation about how many more Cups the Oilers would have won had Pocklington been able to keep the team together. For instance, in 1994, the New York Rangers won the Cup with seven former Oilers – Messier, Lowe, Anderson, Graves, MacTavish, Esa Tikkanen, and Jeff Beukeboom. The Rangers' Stanley Cup win was the last hurrah for the great Edmonton team of the 1980s, as "New York's Oilers Beat Canucks." There, Messier became the first Stanley Cup captain on two teams.

The departures of the stars from the 1980s exposed serious deficiencies in the Oilers' development system. The younger players on the roster hadn't had time to develop before the players from the dynasty era left town. Also, the Oilers had done a poor job of drafting during the dynasty years, though it had gone unnoticed since their stellar records resulted in them drafting late in the entry draft. However, this didn't become apparent for a few years, as the Oilers were still strong enough to make it to the Campbell Conference finals in 1991 and 1992. They won two more Smythe Playoff Division titles but it was obvious, though, that the Oilers were nowhere near being the powerhouse that had dominated the league in the previous half-decade. In 1993 the Oilers missed the playoffs for only the third time in franchise history, and their 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.

Trouble followed the team off the ice as well. For most of the 1990s, the Oilers were desperately trying to stay alive. In 1998, the team was nearly sold to Houston interests who sought to move the team, but before the sale was finalized, and with just hours left on the deadline, the Edmonton Investors Group, a consortium of 37 Edmonton-based owners, raised the funds to purchase the team from Pocklington, vowing to keep the Oilers in Edmonton. The Oilers received support in this endeavour from the NHL, which had already seen two Canadian teams (the Nordiques and Jets) move to the United States earlier in the decade.

In 1997, the Oilers made the playoffs for the first time in five years, and in the first round, they upset the Dallas Stars, who had compiled the league's second best record, in an exciting seven-game series. Riding on the hot goaltending of Curtis Joseph, the Oilers completed the upset on a breakaway by Todd Marchant in overtime. Another highlight of that playoff series was on April 20. Down 3–0 with just under four minutes to go in Game Three, the Oilers rallied for three goals in the final three minutes of the third period to tie the game and eventually win 4–3 in overtime on Kelly Buchberger's game-winning goal.

Though Edmonton would lose to the defending Cup Champs, Patrick Roy and the Colorado Avalanche, in the next round, fans were ecstatic about the Oilers' return to the playoffs. In 1998, Joseph led the Oilers to another first-round upset. After spotting the Avalanche a 3–1 lead, the Oilers held the powerful Avalanche 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. This was the start of one of the most unusual rivalries in hockey: between 1997 and 2003 the Oilers and Stars played each other in the playoffs six times, five of them first-round matchups. The only year in which they did not meet was 2002, when neither team made the playoffs. This streak was not formally ended until 2006, when the second-seeded Stars (in the Western Conference) were eliminated in the first round by the Avalanche, while, for the first time in 16 years, the eighth-seeded Oilers went to the Stanley Cup Finals.

On November 22, 2003, the Oilers hosted the Heritage Classic, the first 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. A few days earlier, on November 17, 2003, the Edmonton Oilers desperately needed a centre, and signed veteran Adam Oates to a contract. However, the 2003-04 NHL season was a disappointment as the Oilers failed to make the playoffs, despite also acquiring centre Petr Nedved from the New York Rangers at the trade deadline as the team went on a late-season surge, staying in the playoff hunt until the end of the season, narrowly eliminated from the postseason.

On July 23, 2004, the team announced that its American Hockey League affiliate, the Toronto Roadrunners, would play the 2004–05 AHL season at the Oilers' home arena of Rexall Place. The decision, an unusual one for a North American professional sports organization, was likely influenced by the expectation that the 2004-05 NHL lockout would wipe out the 2004-05 NHL season. After an unsuccessful year, the Edmonton Road Runners were suspended, and as of 2007, have not yet been revived in any form. Those plans have all but been terminated as the Oilers' long-planned push to own an expansion Western Hockey League major-junior franchise were granted on June 27, 2006. That team began play in the 2007–2008 season.

The Oilers struggled with their small-market status for years as big-market teams scooped up high-priced help, but after the wiped-out 2004–05 season, the Oilers looked poised to compete again. 2004-05 NHL lockout negotiations led to a collective bargaining agreement between the NHL owners and players that included a league-wide salary cap, forcing all teams to essentially conform to a budget, as many small-market teams had been doing for years. Sold-out buildings and a more reasonable conversion rate of Canadian dollar revenues to U.S. dollar payroll in the new millennium have also helped the Oilers to return to profitability.

Although Edmonton was one of the last teams to make a big splash in the free-agent market, they were able to acquire the rights to and sign former Hart- and Norris Trophy-winner Chris Pronger from the St. Louis Blues to a 5-year, $31.25 million contract, as well as trade for New York Islanders forward Michael Peca, two-time winner of the Frank J. Selke Trophy for best defensive forward. Although the club had to give up Mike York and Eric Brewer to the Islanders and Blues, respectively, fans now hoped the team could at least return to the playoffs, if not to the glory the franchise enjoyed during its mid to late 1980s dynasty era.

However, the team suffered again from inconsistency during the first few months of the regular season, especially in goal and on offence. Goaltender Ty Conklin was injured during training camp, and when he returned, was unreliable in net. Nominal backup Jussi Markkanen showed flashes of brilliance, but still was not quite ready for regular NHL goaltending duty. Edmonton even tried third-string goalie Mike Morrison, called up from the East Coast Hockey League, but after a strong start, he too faded. A streaky goal-scoring production led by left-wingers Ryan Smyth and Raffi Torres had trouble putting pucks in the net at times, but Torres did produce back to back two goal games on his 24th birthday, October 8, 2005, against the Vancouver Canucks and on October 10, 2005, against the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim. Chris Pronger also struggled early on with the rule changes restricting the amount of obstruction and front-of-the-net abuse—Pronger's previous specialty—that could be performed without a penalty, while Peca simply had trouble adapting to the Oilers' system and expectations, desperately underachieving. Many called for head coach Craig MacTavish to be fired; others wanted a big trade, some miracle. Nothing major materialized, but by the end of December, the Oilers led the Northwest Division with a 22–18–4 record for 48 points.

However, the Oilers remained inconsistent. By the end of January, the Oilers traded for scoring defencemen Jaroslav Spacek from the Chicago Blackhawks and Dick Tarnstrom from the Pittsburgh Penguins, and both defencemen, Spacek in particular, secured their shaky blue line. However, their goaltending was still in doubt, and the Oilers struggled after the Winter Olympic break. But right before Trading Deadline 2006, the Oilers added 2004 All-Star goaltender Dwayne Roloson from the Minnesota Wild, and speedy forward Sergei Samsonov, a former rookie of the year, from the Boston Bruins. The Oilers gave up a pair of picks for Roloson, and checking centre Marty Reasoner and prospect Yan Stastny (previously acquired from the Bruins) along with a 2006 second round draft pick for Samsonov. Reasoner returned to Edmonton after the 2006 playoffs ended.

The new acquisitions paid off, and Edmonton finished the regular season with 95 points, clinching the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference over Vancouver. Oiler youngsters Ales Hemsky, Shawn Horcoff, and Jarret Stoll led the way in scoring, with break-out seasons of 77, 73, and 68 points, respectively. Smyth finished with 36 goals and 66 points, the second-best seasons of his career in both respects. Smyth led the team in goal-scoring, with Raffi Torres next on the list at 27.

In the first round of the playoffs, the Oilers played the Presidents' Trophy-winning Detroit Red Wings. Though not given much of a chance by experts around the league, the Oilers embarked on a great Cinderella run, pulling off a six-game upset, neutralizing Wings' offensive weapons Brendan Shanahan, Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk by using the neutral zone trap. It was the team's first playoff series win since 1998. Edmonton would meet the San Jose Sharks in the Conference Semifinal. The Oilers weren't expected to win here either, after point champion Joe Thornton (also acquired from the Bruins to go to San Jose) and goal champ Jonathan Cheechoo had torn through the Nashville Predators in just 5 games. After trailing the series two-games-to-none, the Oilers won the next four, vaulting them into Conference Final. In Game Six, Roloson had a 2–0 shutout—his first ever—and Michael Peca netted the game- and series-winning goal. In doing so, the Oilers became the first eighth-seeded team to reach a Conference Final since the NHL changed the playoff format in 1994. There the Oilers would beat the sixth-seeded Mighty Ducks of Anaheim in five games, claiming the Clarence S. Campbell Bowl for a record seventh time.

Edmonton continued their Cinderella run against the Carolina Hurricanes in the Stanley Cup Finals (marking the first time two former World Hockey Association franchises met in Stanley Cup play—the Hurricanes were previously the Hartford Whalers). Tied at 4 in the first game, Oilers starting goalie Dwayne Roloson was hurt and put out of action for the rest of the playoffs after a collision when Oiler blue-liner Marc-Andre Bergeron knocked 'Canes winger Andrew Ladd into him with under 6 minutes to play in Game One. With Roloson out, Rod Brind'Amour scored the game winner on a mix up by Ty Conklin and Jason Smith with only thirty seconds left. After trailing the series 2–0 and 3–1, the Oilers forced a seventh game while riding backup Jussi Markkanen, a miracle overtime shorthanded goal in game 5 by local hero Fernando Pisani, and a 4–0 shutout win at home in Game 6. They could not complete the comeback, however, as the Hurricanes won Game 7 by a score of 3–1 (third goal was an empty net) to capture their first ever Stanley Cup championship. The Oilers, on the other hand, would later hang their 23rd banner in their young history by winning the Western Conference Title.

Four days after their loss to the Hurricanes, Chris Pronger surprised Oiler fans and management when he issued a trade request on June 23, citing unspecified personal reasons. On July 3, he was traded to the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for sniper Joffrey Lupul, top defensive prospect Ladislav Smid, Anaheim's first round draft pick in 2007, Anaheim's second in 2008, and a conditional first. In addition, many of the Oilers' 2005–06 acquisitions signed for contracts elsewhere: Jaroslav Spacek went to the Buffalo Sabres on July 5, Sergei Samsonov signed with the Montreal Canadiens on July 12, and Michael Peca with his hometown Toronto Maple Leafs on July 18. In addition, enforcer and fan favourite Georges Laraque, despite offering the Oilers a substantial pay cut in exchange for a no-trade clause, wound up signing with the Phoenix Coyotes, and goaltender Ty Conklin, seeking to rebuild his reputation, signed a two-way contract with the Columbus Blue Jackets the following day. The Oilers also lost 2002–03 New York Rangers acquisition Radek Dvorak to unrestricted free agency as the St. Louis Blues signed him on September 14.

Despite these losses, many of the Oilers' core players were re-signed. Playoff heroes Fernando Pisani and Dwayne Roloson signed as unrestricted free agents (UFAs) on the first day of eligibility, July 1. Jarret Stoll, Shawn Horcoff and Ales Hemsky filed for arbitration as restricted free agents, but all settled for multi-year deals before their hearings came up; Hemsky, in particular, signed for six years and $24.6 million. The Oilers also brought back centre Marty Reasoner, whom they had traded for Samsonov in March, prospect Tom Gilbert from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, defenceman Daniel Tjarnqvist from the Minnesota Wild, and defenceman Jan Hejda from Mytishchi Khimik of the Russian Super League, whose rights were acquired from the Sabres for a seventh-round pick. On August 11, Rangers UFA forward Petr Sykora and the Oilers agreed on a one-year contract. Just over a month later, on September 12, Joffrey Lupul and the Oilers agreed to a three-year contract worth $6.935 million.

The Oilers posted a 32–43–7 record, their lowest point total since the 1995–1996 season, finishing in 11th place in the Western Conference and missing the playoffs. 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.

In May 2007, Daryl Katz offered $145 million towards the purchase of the team. Sources close to the Edmonton Journal state that, as part of the deal, the team will remain in Edmonton. No negotiations took place as the Board of Directors immediately responded that the Oilers were not for sale. In July 2007, Katz tried again, this time increasing the offer to an amount over $170 million dollars. Katz bypassed the Board of Directors and brought the offer directly to the shareholders. As of January 31, 2008, Katz has upped the offer to $200M plus $100M towards a new arena. He is expected to take over control of the team before the February fifth deadline.

The Oilers started out of the gate very slowly, going 5-10 in their first 15 games. They would finish the first half of the season 16-21-4. They would, however, turn it around after New Year's. With the emergence of young players like Sam Gagner, Andrew Cogliano, Robert Nilsson, Tom Gilbert, and Denis Grebeshkov, the Oilers would finish the second half of the season a remarkable 25-14-2 in 41 games. This despite missing big free agent signing Sheldon Souray, Shawn Horcoff, Raffi Torres, and team captain Ethan Moreau for the rest of the season. The Oilers finished 41-35-6, in ninth place in the Western Conference and only 3 points back of a playoff spot. Expectations are high for the 08-09 season.

In the off season, Kevin Lowe traded centreman Jarret Stoll and defenceman Matt Greene for the experienced Lubomir Visnovsky of the Los Angeles Kings. He also traded promising young defenceman Joni Pitkanen for the veteran power forward Erik Cole of the Carolina Hurricanes. Lowe also made offers in the off season to sign star forwards Marian Hossa and Jaromir Jagr, although neither deal went through. These moves were uncharacteristic for the Oilers over the last decade, but with new ownership and a new NHL, the Oilers have shown that they can compete in the free agent market for high priced talent.

The Oilers record against the Dallas Stars during the playoffs is 10-23. The Oilers record against the Minnesota North Stars during the playoffs is 4-1. Combined, the record is 14-24.

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. Once it became clear, however, that the team would play exclusively in Edmonton, the player names made their appearance. 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 the orange-printed logo that many mistakenly attribute to the entire history of the WHA Oilers. Otherwise, though, the jerseys were nearly identical to the dynasty-era form that is known throughout the hockey world.

When the team jumped to the NHL in 1979, the alternate logos were discarded and the jersey took its most famous form, though the logo did appear slightly different on a few vintages of the jersey. Minor changes were also made to the numbering, lettering, and collar in their first few NHL campaigns. The essential design remained untouched until 1996, when the blue and orange were replaced by midnight blue and copper. Other changes made to the jersey at that point were the removal of the orange shoulder bar and cuffs from the away jersey, and the addition of the "Rigger" alternate logo to the end of the shoulder bar on the home jersey, and the equivalent position on the road jersey. A year later, the shoulder bars were removed from the home jersey as well, and the Oilers' sweater design then remained stable until 2007.

On September 16, 2007, the Oilers revealed their Reebok Edge jerseys during the Joey Moss Cup, which is held annually before each preseason. The Oilers' colours remain copper and blue but the style is quite different.

Rumors circulated over the off-season of possibly a new alternate jersey for the Oilers after the original alternate jersey was abandoned with the release of the new RBK Edge jerseys.

On October 7, 2008, the Edmonton Oilers announced their new design publicly on their official website. As suspicions confirmed, the jersey is remarkably similar to the 1980s away jersey with the only difference of significance being the new collar style of the RBK Edge jersey system.

The Edmonton Oilers play at 16,839 capacity Rexall Place, previously known as the Edmonton Coliseum, Northlands Coliseum, and Skyreach Centre. They have played at the arena since it opened in 1974. In that time, they have seen two major renovations take place; once in 1980 when 2,000 seats were added to bring it up to NHL standards of the day and again in 1994 when luxury suites and club seating were added. Prior to that, the Oilers played at the now-demolished Edmonton Gardens. New Oilers owner Daryl Katz and numerous civic politicians have expressed a desire to build a new arena in downtown Edmonton.

An artist's interpretation of the new building's design has been fabricated as well as published in both of the city's major newspapers, the Edmonton Journal and the Edmonton Sun.

The Oilers are the northernmost team in the four major North American professional sports leagues. Edmonton is located above 53 degrees north latitude.

The Oilers are one of five teams in the NHL without a mascot.

Updated March 4, 2009.

Note: This list includes Oiler captains from both the NHL and WHA.

Note: This list does not include selections from the WHA.

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

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2003–04 Edmonton Oilers season

The 2003–04 Edmonton Oilers season was the Oilers' 25th season in the NHL, and they were coming off a 36–26–11–9 record in 2002–03, earning 92 points, and returned to the playoffs after a 1 year absence. The Oilers were then defeated by the Dallas Stars in 6 games in the opening round.

During the off-season, the Oilers and Mike Comrie could not come to a contract agreement, and Comrie would not start the season with the team. Comrie would eventually be traded to the Philadelphia Flyers in December for Jeff Woywitka and the Flyers 1st round draft pick in 2004.

The club would start off the season on the right foot, having a record of 10–7–2–0 in the first 19 games, however, Edmonton would go into a slump and have a 10–17–6–1 in their next 34 games, and sitting in 12th place in the Western Conference. The Oilers would come out of their slump, and finish the season with a 16–5–4–4 in their remaining 29 games, but it wouldn't be enough, as the Oilers would finish in 9th spot in the West, 2 points behind the 8th place Nashville Predators, and fail to qualify for the post-season for the 2nd time in 3 seasons.

Offensively, Ryan Smyth would lead the club with 23 goals, 36 assists and 59 points. Radek Dvorak would finish just behind Smyth with 50 points, while Ethan Moreau and Raffi Torres would each score 20 goals. Marc-Andre Bergeron would lead the defense with 9 goals and 26 points, while Eric Brewer would finish just behind him with 7 goals and 25 points. Georges Laraque would lead the club in penalty minutes with 99.

In goal, Tommy Salo would begin the season as the starter, however, he would lose his job and eventually be traded to the Colorado Avalanche before the season was over. He won 17 games and had a 2.58 GAA, along with 3 shutouts, with Edmonton. Ty Conklin took over the starting duties, and he would also win 17 games, have a 2.42 GAA and earn a shutout along the way.

The Heritage Classic was an outdoor ice hockey game played on November 22, 2003 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada between the Edmonton Oilers and the Montreal Canadiens. It was the second NHL outdoor game and the first regular season outdoor game in the history of the National Hockey League, and was modeled after the success of the "cold war" game between the University of Michigan and Michigan State University in 2001. The first NHL game to be played outdoors was in 1991 when the Los Angeles Kings played the New York Rangers in an exhibition game outside Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. The event took place in Edmonton's Commonwealth Stadium in front of a crowd of 57,167, the largest number of people to ever watch a live NHL game, despite temperatures of close to -18 °C, -30 °C (-22 °F) with wind chill. It was held to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Edmonton Oilers joining the NHL in 1979. The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation television broadcast also set the record for most viewers of a single NHL game with 2.747 million nationwide. This was the first NHL game broadcast in HDTV on CBC.

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2005–06 Edmonton Oilers season

The 2005–06 Edmonton Oilers season was the Oilers' 26th season in the NHL, and they were coming off a 36–29–12–5 record in 2003–04, earning 89 points, finishing in 9th place in the Western Conference, failing to qualify for post-season play.

Due to the 2004–05 NHL lockout, the 2004–05 NHL season was cancelled when the players and owners could not agree to a new CBA. The two sides would come to agreement, and there would be many changes for both the Oilers and the NHL as a whole.

The NHL introduced a salary cap of $39 million for the 2005–06, which meant the teams above that figure would cut salary to fit under the cap. The Oilers, who had a lot of cap room, took advantage of this, and the St. Louis Blues would trade former Hart Trophy and Norris Trophy winner Chris Pronger to the Oilers in exchange for Eric Brewer, Jeff Woywitka and Doug Lynch. Pronger would then sign a 5 year, $25 million contract with Edmonton. The Oilers would then make another blockbuster trade, this time acquiring former Selke Trophy winner Mike Peca from the New York Islanders for Mike York and a 4th round draft pick.

The NHL also made a number of rule changes, such as adding a shootout to determine the winner of a game that was tied after 5 minutes of overtime to eliminate ties, goaltenders were not allowed to play the puck in the corners of the ice surface, and the referees would crack down on obstruction.

The Oilers would start off the season rather slowly, sitting with a 9–9–1 record after 19 games, but the club would get hot, going 21–9–7 in their next 37 games. As the trade deadline approached, the club did not have a clear #1 goalie, and they addressed this issue by trading their 1st round draft pick in 2006 to the Minnesota Wild for Dwayne Roloson. Edmonton would also add former Calder Trophy winner Sergei Samsonov to the club, as they sent Marty Reasoner and Yan Stastny to the Boston Bruins to acquire him. The Oilers played mediocre hockey for the rest of the season, but managed to finish in 8th place in the Western Conference, and qualify for the playoffs for the first time since 2003. Just before the playoffs, a big Edmonton Oilers logo appeared at center ice.

Offensively, Ryan Smyth would lead the club with 36 goals, his highest total since scoring 39 goals in 1996–97, and 22 year old Ales Hemsky would breakout, earning a club high 58 assists and 77 points. Shawn Horcoff would also have a breakout season, scoring 22 goals and 73 points, as would Jarret Stoll, as he would score 22 goals and earn 68 points. On defense, Chris Pronger would anchor the blueline, earning a defenceman best 56 points, whileMarc-Andre Bergeron would score 15 goals and 35 points from the blueline. Ethan Moreau had a club high 87 penalty minutes.

In goal, Edmonton would use a trio of goaltenders until the arrival of Dwayne Roloson at the trade deadline. Mike Morrison would win 10 games and have a 2.83 GAA, but he would not last the season with the Oilers, as he would be lost on waivers to the Ottawa Senators. Ty Conklin, the starter from 2003–04, would appear in only 18 games, going 8–5–1 with a 2.80 GAA, before being sent to the minors. Jussi Markkanen won a club high 15 games, and would serve as Dwayne Roloson's backup when the club acquired him. Roloson would have a team best 2.43 GAA, and have a 8–7–4 record with the team.

Edmonton would open up the playoffs against the President's Trophy winners, the Detroit Red Wings, who finished with 124 points during the season. After the Wings won the first game in double overtime, Edmonton would tie the series with a solid 4–2 victory to return home with a split. The teams would exchange wins in the 2 games in Edmonton, and return to Detroit for game 5 tied 2–2. Edmonton would hang on for a 3–2 victory in game 5, and return home looking to close out the series. The Oilers hang on to win the 6th game 4–3, eliminating the heavily favoured Red Wings 4–2, and Edmonton won their first playoff series since 1998.

In the 2nd round, the Oilers would have to face the 5th seeded San Jose Sharks, who finished the season with only 4 more points than Edmonton at 99. The Sharks would take control of the series early on, winning both games in San Jose by 2–1 scores, however, the Oilers would get a much needed triple overtime victory in game 3, and then win the 4th game to tie the series up at 2, heading back to San Jose. The Oilers would dominate the Sharks in the 5th game, winning 6–3, and would win the series with a 2–0 shutout in game 6, to earn a spot in the Conference Finals for the first time since 1992.

The Oilers would have a Western Conference Final matchup against the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, who were the 6th seed in the conference, and finished with 2 more points than Edmonton during the season. Edmonton, who had won their last 4 games, stayed on their hot streak, winning the first 2 games in Anaheim by 3–1 scores. The Oilers would take a 3–0 series lead with a 5–4 win, however, the Mighty Ducks would avoid the sweep by defeating the Oilers 6–3 in game 4. Edmonton would rebound, winning the 5th game 2–1, and earn their first trip to the Stanley Cup finals for the first time since winning it in 1990.

Edmonton would face the Eastern Conference champion Carolina Hurricanes in the 2006 Stanley Cup Finals. In the opening game, goaltender Dwayne Roloson would go down to injury midway through the 3rd period with the score tied at 4, and Ty Conklin came in to replace Roloson, however, he would allow the winning goal as Carolina won the game 5–4. With Jussi Markkanen starting in game 2, the Hurricanes dominated the Oilers, winning the game 5–0. Edmonton would rebound in the 3rd game, playing their first home game in the Stanley Cup Finals since May 22, 1990, with a 2–1 victory, but the Hurricanes would take the 4th game 2–1 to take a commanding 3–1 series lead. The Oilers, facing elimination, would take the 5th game to overtime, and win the game by a 4–3 score to stay alive. The series returned to Edmonton for game 6, and the Oilers shutout Carolina 4–0, setting up a 7th game to determine the champion. The Hurricanes, led by goaltender Cam Ward, played a very solid defensive game, and hold the Oilers to a single goal, while the Hurricanes managed to put 3 behind Jussi Markkanen, to win their 1st Stanley Cup in club history.

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2007–08 Edmonton Oilers season

The 2007–08 Edmonton Oilers season began on October 4, 2007. It was the Oilers' 35th season, 28th in the National Hockey League. This season also marks the debut of the Edmonton Oil Kings, a Western Hockey League expansion team purchased by the Oilers after the team spent several years attempting to buy and relocate any existing WHL team to the Alberta capital.

With major rebuilding necessary, the Oilers began the NHL free agency period on July 1st, trading Joffrey Lupul and Jason Smith to the Philadelphia Flyers for defencemen Joni Pitkanen, left winger Geoff Sanderson and a third round pick in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft.

Petr Sykora, having become a free agent, left the Oilers franchise and signed with the Pittsburgh Penguins. Jan Hejda, also a free agent, left for the Columbus Blue Jackets.

The Oilers made a call to Ryan Smyth's agent early in the morning on July 1st stating they were interested in making an offer. Smyth wound up signing with the Colorado Avalanche.

Netminder Mathieu Garon was signed on July 3, 2007, as the backup goaltender to Dwayne Roloson.

It has also been reported that the Oilers had agreed to a contract with free agent Michael Nylander through his agent. While the Oilers were expecting a signed contract from Nylander and his agent, they later found out that he had signed with the Washington Capitals. The Oilers are currently pursuing their legal options on the matter.

Matt Greene signed a two year contract, Raffi Torres signed for three.

On July 5, the Edmonton Oilers Offered restricted free agent Thomas Vanek from the Buffalo Sabres a 7 year contract worth $50 million. The Buffalo Sabres quickly matched the Oilers offer.

On July 12, the Edmonton Oilers signed unrestricted free agent Sheldon Souray to a 5 year deal worth $27 million dollars.

On July 20, the Oilers signed Newly acquired defenceman Joni Pitkanen to a one year, 2.4 million deal.

On July 26, the Oilers offered Anaheim Ducks Forward Dustin Penner, a restricted free agent $21.25 million over 5 years. This is the second restricted free agent the Oilers have attempted to sign this off-season. The Ducks declined to match the offer, officially making Penner an Oiler.

On October 2, 2007, the Oilers announced Ethan Moreau as the 15th Captain in team history.

On February 19, 2008, Denis Grebeshkov scored the 8000th goal in the Oilers' franchise history.

On February 26, 2008, the Edmonton Oilers set a new NHL record for 13 shootout wins in a season, previously held by the Dallas Stars at 12 wins. Oilers goalie Mathieu Garon has stopped 30 of 32 shots and is 10 – 0 in shootouts.

On March 4, 2008, Gilbert surpassed Paul Coffey and Marc-Andre Bergeron for the Oilers' franchise record for most goals scored by a rookie defencemen with his 10th goal on the power play against the Nashville Predators goalie Dan Ellis.

On March 18, 2008, the Oilers scored eight goals for the first time in five years in an 8–4 win over the Phoenix Coyotes.

April, 2008, Oilers fail to place in the playoffs.

The Oilers failed to qualify for the playoffs for the second consecutive season.

The Oilers have been involved in the following transactions during the 2007–08 season.

Edmonton's picks at the 2007 NHL Entry Draft in Columbus, Ohio. The Oilers have three first round selections in this draft: 6th overall, the 15th pick, acquired in the Ryan Smyth trade, and the 30th pick, acquired in the Chris Pronger trade.

After shipping their prospects out across several clubs, the Oilers have signed a deal with the Springfield Falcons to be their American Hockey League affiliate in 2007–08. The Falcons will be the Oilers first full time AHL affiliate since the Edmonton Road Runners were suspended following the 2004–05 season.

The Stockton Thunder of the ECHL remain Edmonton's secondary affiliate.

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Source : Wikipedia