1979/80: In their first season in the NHL Wayne Gretzky captures the Hart Trophy while finishing second in scoring. It was ruled that Gretzky would not be a rookie since he had played a full WHA season. With Gretzky beginning his great NHL career the Oilers make the playoffs by finishing in fourth place in Smythe Division with a 28-39-13 record. However, in the playoffs the Oilers who were the 16th seed would be planted in three straight games by the Philadelphia Flyers. However, the Oilers would send two of the games to overtime.
1980/81: Wayne Gretzky wins his first scoring title and second Hart Trophy while setting a single season record with 109 assists and points with 164, as the Oilers finished in fourth place again with a 29-35-16 record. In the playoffs the Oilers would explode for 15 goals as they stunned the Montreal Canadiens in three straight games. However in the second round the Oilers would fall to the New York Islanders in six games.
1981/82: In what might be the greatest individual season in NHL history Wayne Gretzky scores a record 92 goals, bettering the old mark held by Phil Esposito by 16. The Great One also set a record with point at 212 bettering the mark he set a year earlier by 48. Making it even more amazing is that Gretzky did not ally a goal in his final seven games as the Oilers won the Smythe Division with a record of 48-17-15. However, in the playoff the Oilers would slip up as they are stunned by the Los Angeles Kings in five games. Making matter worse is they blew a big lead in Game 3, which they lost in overtime.
1982/83: Wayne Gretzky continues to dominate, as he wins his fourth straight Hart Trophy and third straight scoring title scoring 71 goals, and approaching 200 points again. In addition The Great One gets recognized as the 1982 Sportsman of the Year by Sports Illustrated. An amazing accomplishment considering SI’s lackluster hockey coverage, and the fact many Americans could not even find Edmonton on the map. With Gretzky leading the way the Oilers once again win the Smythe Division with a record of 47-21-12. In the playoffs the Oilers would knock of fellow WHA alum Winnipeg Jets in three straight games, to get off to a flying start. In the Smythe Finals the Oilers would battle douse the Calgary Flames in five games in a high scoring series in which the Oilers scored 35 goals in five games. In the Campbell Conference Finals the Oilers continued to fly sweeping the Chicago Black Hawks in four straight games, while scoring 25 goals. Heading into the finals the Oilers were red-hot scoring 84 goals in 12 games. However, facing the three time Stanley Cup Champions New York Islanders the Oilers would hit a wall. In Game 1 at the Northlands Coliseum the Oilers would be blanked by Isles star goalie 2-0. The Oilers would not recover as the Islanders completed the sweep holding the high scoring Oilers to just six goals in four games.
1983/84: Wayne Gretzky continued to dominate the NHL winning the scoring title and Hart Trophy again while scoring 87 goals and 205 points. Rising to a star of his own was Defenseman Paul Coffey who finished second to Gretzky in scoring, as the Oilers finished with a league best 57-18-5 record. In the playoffs the Oilers would get off to a flying start sweeping the Winnipeg Jets in three straight games. However, in the Smythe Finals the Oilers would have a battle on their hands as they need 7 games to get past their Provencal rival Calgary Flames, after the Flames had battled back from a 3-1 defect. However, the Oilers would easily make their second straight finals as they swept the Minnesota North Stars in four straight games. Facing the New York Islanders for the second year in a row the Oilers were in the way of history as the Isles sough their 5th straight cup, trying to carve out a little history of their won by winning their first. The Oilers would get off to a good start as Grant Fuhr posted a 1-0 shutout in Game 1. After losing a 6-1 loss in Game 2, the Oilers returned to Edmonton, with the Stanley Cup Finals tied one game apiece; there the highflying Oilers took over scoring 19 goals in the final three games to win their first Stanley Cup in five games. Mark Messier who had quietly played in emerged as a star winning the Conn Smythe with 8 goals and 18 assists in 19 games.
1984/85: Wayne Gretzky continues to dominate the NHL winning the scoring title with 208 points and the Hart Trophy for the sixth straight year. Gretzky even made teammates better as he and Jari Kurri finished first and second in goals scored at 73 and 71. Meanwhile on defense the Oilers continued to improve as Paul Coffey won his first Norris Trophy while the Oilers won the Smythe Division with a 49-20-11 record. In the playoffs the Oilers would survive two overtime games while sweeping the Los Angeles Kings in three straight games. In the Smythe Final the Oilers continued to roll as the swept the Winnipeg Jets in four straight games. In the Campbell Conference Finals the Oilers continued to stay hot beating the Chicago Black Hawks by a combined score of 18-5 in the first two games. However, the Hawks would battle back scoring 13 goals in the next two games to even the series. However, nobody could outscore the Oilers long and they would make their third straight trip to the Stanley Cup Finals by outscoring the Hawks 18-7 in the final two games. In the finals the Oilers found themselves down after losing Game 1 to the Flyers in Philadelphia 4-1. However, the Oilers would bounce back winning the next four games to win their second straight Stanley Cup in four games. Wayne Gretzky would win the Conn Smythe trophy by setting new record for goals (30) and points (47) in a playoff year.
1985/86: The Oilers win the first ever President’s Trophy awarded for the league’s best regular season record at 56-17-7. Meanwhile Wayne Gretzky broke his own record by winning the league scoring title with 215 points, while setting a record with 163 assists. Join Gretzky was Jari Kurri, and Paul Coffey who also finished in the top four in scoring. In the playoffs the Oilers would get off to a fast start as they swept the Vancouver Canucks in three games. However, in the Smythe Division Finals the Oilers would be stunned by their Alberta neighbor Calgary Flames in seven games.
1986/87: The Oilers repeat as President Trophy Champions as they post a 50-24-6 record, as Wayne Gretzky wins his record 8th straight Hart Trophy, winning the scoring title again with 183 points. In the Playoffs the Oilers would stumble in Game 1 losing to the Los Angeles Kings 5-2. However, the Oilers would respond in resounding fashion as they slaughtered the Kings 13-3 in Game 2. From there the Oilers would go on to win the series in five games scoring a total of 30 goals in the final four games. In the Smythe Division Finals the Oilers would stay hot as they swept the Winnipeg Jets in four straight games. Moving on to the Campbell Finals the Oilers would drop Game 1 before beating the Detroit Red Wings in five games. In the Finals the Oilers continued to cruise jumping out to a 3-1 series lead over the Philadelphia Flyers. However, the Flyers would rally to win the next two games to force a seventh game. The Oilers would finally solve goalie Ron Hextall in Game 7 as the Oilers won their third Stanley Cup in four years.
1987/88: The Oilers grip on the Smythe Division ends as they finish in second place with a 44-25-11 record. Meanwhile Wayne Gretzky would lose his grip on the scoring title and Hart Trophy as Mario Lemieux of the Pittsburgh Penguins claimed both. Meanwhile the Oilers begin to lose core players as Defenseman Paul Coffey is traded at the start of the season to the Penguins after a contract holdout. In the playoffs the Oilers would get off to a fast start as they knock off the Winnipeg Jets in five games. In the Smythe Finals the Oilers would get revenge from 1986 by sweeping the Calgary Flames who finished the season in first place, in four straight games. In the Campbell Finals the Oilers would have no trouble as they took out the Detroit Red Wings in five games. Moving on to the finals the Oilers would continue to fire on all cylinders as they jumped out to a 3-0 lead over the Boston Bruins. After Game 4 was halted tied 3-3 after a power failure at the Boston garden the Oilers completed the sweep in Edmonton with a 6-3 win. The win certified the Oilers as a dynasty as they won their fourth Stanley Cup in five years with Wayne Gretzky winning his second Conn Smythe Trophy.
1988/89: August 9, 1988 would be a day that would live in infamy, as one of the darkest days in not only Oilers history, but the history of Canada as Wayne Gretzky, the country’s favorite son, is suddenly and shockingly traded to the Los Angeles Kings, along with Marty McSorley and Mike Krushelnyski for Jimmy Carson, Martin Gelinas, three first round draft picks in 1989, 1991, and 1993, along with an estimated $15-20 million. In trading the Great One Oilers owner Peter Pocklington cited financial troubles. Gretzky would return to Edmonton in glorious fashion as he won the All-Star Game MVP in a game played at the Northlands Coliseum. Without Gretzky the Oilers would go on to finish in third place with a 38-34-8 record. IN a twist of fate the Oilers would face the Kings in the playoffs taking a 3-1 series lead. However, Gretzky would lead the Kings to three straight wins to knock off the Oilers.
1989/90: Mark Messier firmly emerges from Wayne Gretzky’s shadow winning the Hart Trophy while finishing second to the Great One in scoring as the Oilers finished in second place with a solid 38-28-14 record. In the playoffs the Oilers faced trouble right away as the fell behind the Winnipeg Jets three games to one. However, the Oilers would rally to win the next three games to return to the Smythe Finals. In the Smythe Finals the Oilers would dominate Wayne Gretzky’s Los Angeles Kings outscoring them 24-10 in a four game sweep. Moving on to the Campbell Finals the Oilers stayed hot beating the Chicago Blackhawks in six games. Facing the Boston Bruins in the Finals Goalie Bill Ranford who took over the starting job earlier in the season from Grant Fuhr kept the Oilers in Game 1 in Boston as the Oilers won at 53:50 of overtime by a score of 3-2. From there the Oilers were unstoppable as they claimed their fifth Stanley Cup in seven years by beating the Bruins in five games. Ranford whose stellar goaltending in Game 1 gave Oilers control would win the Conn Smythe.
1990/91: Jari Kurri spends the season playing in Europe due to a season long contract dispute. Without Kurri the Oilers finish in third place with a record of 37-37-6. In the playoffs the Oilers would stun the Calgary Flames in seven games, winning Game 7 in overtime 5-4. Moving on to the Smythe Finals the Oilers would once again spoil Wayne Gretzky’s season by beating the Los Angeles Kings in six games. However, in the Campbell Conference Finals the Oilers would be knocked off by the Minnesota North Stars in five games.
1991/92: No longer able to afford their stars the Oilers begin trading off their Championship foundation. Jari Kurri who held out the previous season would end up playing with Wayne Gretzky in Los Angeles. Goalie Grant Fuhr and Glenn Anderson would both be dealt to the Toronto Maple Leafs, while Captain Mark Messier was traded to the New York Rangers, who also signed away rising Winger Adam Graves. Despite the carnage the Oilers would still make the playoffs by finishing in third Place with a 36-34-10 record. In the playoffs the Oilers would prove to be a tough out as they beat the Los Angeles Kings, and Vancouver Canucks in six games. However, in the Campbell Conference Finals the Oilers would be swept in four straight games by the Chicago Blackhawks.
1992/93: The selling off from the Oilers continued as Kevin Lowe and Esa Tikkanen are traded to the New York Rangers in separate deal before and during the season. With most of their stars gone the Oilers are a shell of their former selves as they miss the playoff for the first time since joining the NHL with an awful record of 26-50-8.
1993/94: Jason Arnott gives the Oilers reason to hope in an otherwise dreadful season finishing in second place in Calder Trophy voting as the Oilers finish in last place with a record of 25-45-14. While the current Oilers struggled in Edmonton a group of former Oilers led by Mark Messier, and Craig MacTavish who was traded in the final weeks of the season led the New York Rangers to a Stanley Cup Championship.
1994/95: In a season shortened to 48 games by a lockout the Oilers struggles continue as they finished in fifth place with a record of 17-27-4 record. Following the season the Oilers would lose another Captain when Shayne Corson signs with the St. Louis Blues. However, the Oilers would land Goalie Curtis Joseph as compensation as part of the deal.
1995/96: The Oilers finish the season strong as their young players begin to play up to their full potential. However, it is too late to save the season as the Oilers miss the playoffs for the fourth year in a row with a record of 30-44-8.
1996/97: With Curtis Joseph having a solid season between the pipes, and Ryan Smyth emerging as a scoring threat the Oilers make it back to the playoffs by finishing third in the Pacific Division with a 36-37-9 record. In one of the most exciting first round series in many years the Oilers gave the heavily favored Dallas Stars all they could handle as they forced overtime in Game 7. In overtime, it seemed as though the Stars would send the Oilers packing when Joe Nieuwendyk shot at an open net only to be stopped by a diving CuJo. Moments later, Todd Marchant tore away from the Stars defense and beat former Oilers Andy Moog for the game winner. However, in the second Round the Oilers would be buried by the Colorado Avalanche in five games.
1997/98: After a slow start General Manager Glen Sather makes two key late season deals sending Jason Arnott to the New Jersey Devils for Bill Guerin and Brian Marchant to the Tampa Bay Lightning for Roman Hamerlik. The deals provided an important spark, as the Oilers were able to get back into the playoffs with a 35-37-10 record. In the Playoffs the Oilers would fall behind the Colorado Avalanche three games to one. However, the Oilers would come out of nowhere as Curtis Joseph was a brick wall in the net to win three straight games to stun the Avalanche in seven games. However, in the second Round the Dallas Stars would get a measure of revenge from the previous season by knocking of the Oilers in five games. Following the season the Oilers would take a hit when Goalie Curtis Joseph signed a Free Agent Deal with Toronto Maple Leafs.
1998/99: Despite the lack of a proven goalie, and playing without top scorer Doug Weight who sat out the start of the season the Oilers got off to a solid start, led by Bill Guerin. Weight would return but would be quickly lost to injury as the Oilers struggled. However, a couple of late season trades would help the Oilers sneak into the playoffs as the eighth seed while finishing in second place in the newly formed Northwest Division with a 33-37-12 record. However, in the playoffs it would be a quick exit as they are swept in four straight games by the Dallas Stars.
1999/00: The season stats with Wayne Gretzky returning to Edmonton on opening night to have his famous Number 99 rose to the rafters. Meanwhile, Bill Guerin begins the season by holding out. However, once again the Oilers would sneak into the playoffs with the seventh seed by finishing with a 32-34-16-8 record. However in the first round it would be another quick exit as the Oilers are beaten by the Dallas Stars in five games. Following the season longtime General Manager Glen Sather would depart for a similar job with the New York Rangers. He would be replaced by Kevin Lowe who one year earlier returned to coach the Oilers.
2000/01: In his first season as General Manager, Kevin Lowe was very busy, while hiring Craig MacTvaish to lead the Oilers on the ice. With Doug Weight, Bill Guerin, and Ryan Smyth getting off to solid starts the Oilers were riding high early in the season. However, Guerin, a would-be Free Agent would be traded immediately to the Boston Bruins for Anson Carter. The Oilers would go on to finish in second place with their best record in 11 years at 39-28-12-3. However, in the playoffs the Oilers would be knocked off by the Dallas Stars for the fourth year in a row in six games. Following the season the Oilers would trade Doug Weight to the St. Louis Blues, with the fear he would want to depart once he became a free agent.
2001/02: Despite the continued loss of established stars the Oilers remained a solid playoff contender all year. However, a short post-Olympic slump by goalie Tommy Salo would due the Oilers in, as they missed the playoffs by two points with 92 points, and a solid 38-28-12-4 record in a competitive Western Conference.
2002/03: Throughout the entire season the Oilers seemed to defy the odds and overcome every obstacle, as several key players missed significant time due to injury while Goalie Tommy Salo struggled all season. However, despite the odds the Oilers remained in playoff contention. Things would only get harder in March when they were forced to cut payroll and dealt away Janne Niinimaa, and Anson Carter, for younger cheaper players. However despite the salary dump the Oilers finished the season on a strong note going 10-3-4-0 over their last 17 games to make the playoffs with a 36-26-11-9 record. In the playoffs the Oilers found themselves matched up against a familiar foe in the Dallas Stars. After splitting the first two games in Dallas, the Oilers seemed primed for the upset after winning Game 3 at home 3-2, but the Stars would rally back to win the next three games and eliminated the Oilers for the fifth time since 1998 in six games.
2003/04: The Oilers started the season playing inconsistent hockey as they at times looked like contenders while other times they played like pretenders as through the first two months they posted a 10-10-3-0 record. One of the highlights came on November 22nd when the Oilers and Montreal Canadiens went outdoors playing before a record crowd of 57,167 fans in sub-freezing temperatures at Commonwealth Stadium. Prior to the game won by the Habs 4-3 a group of Oilers legends including Wayne Gretzky took on past Canadiens greats. In December the Oilers season took a turn for the worst as they won just two of 12 games. After a mediocre January and February the Oilers traded goalie Tommy Salo as they focused on the future with Ty Conklin. However in March the Oilers suddenly caught fire and made a last minute playoff push losing just once one of 15 games in regulation. However, it would prove to be too late as they dropped their final game of the season missing the playoffs by two points while finishing in fourth Place with a 36-29-12-5 record.
2004/05: Season Cancelled Due to Lock Out
2005/06: The Oilers were a poster child during the Lock Out as the market too small to compete under the old economical system. With the salary cap in place the Oilers increased their spending landing Chris Pronger from the St. Louis Blues and Mike Peca from the New York Islanders in separate deals that gave Oilers fans hope of a return to glory. However, things would not start off well as Goalie Ty Conklin was hurt early in the season while Jussi Markkanen struggled as the Oilers only won three of their first ten games. The Oilers would play much better in November and December, but struggled in January and February as the team with high hopes would have to fight hard just to sneak into the playoffs. With the ability to increase their budget the Oilers were highly active at the trade deadline landing players like Jaroslav Spacek from the Chicago Blackhawks and Dick Tarnstrom from the Pittsburgh Penguins, which help solidify their defense, while adding scoring punch with Sergei Samsonov acquired from the Boston Bruins. However, the biggest deal would end up being goalie Dwayne Roloson acquired from the Minnesota Wild. Although Roloson struggled in his first few games with the Oilers he would play just good enough to get the Oilers into the playoffs as the eighth seed with a 41-28-13 record. In the playoffs the Oilers would face the best team in the NHL all season the Detroit Red Wings, though they were an eighth seed, but their talent was much better than an ordinary eighth seed. Despite losing Game 1 in overtime 3-2, Dwayne Roloson made an early statement stopping 54 shots, as he established, he would be the backbone of a great Oilers playoff run. The Oilers would rebound to win the next two games, after losing Game 4 at home the Oilers went back to Detroit and got physical as Chris Pronger assisted on all three goals while Roloson stopped 30 shots in a 3-2 win that gave the Oilers the opportunity to win the series in six games at home. The Oilers would not disappoint as Fernando Pisani scored twice to the game at two goals early in the 3rd Period, after Wings re-took the lead it was Ales Hemsky who would play hero scoring with 3:93 left to tie it then adding the game winner with 66 seconds left to send the Oilers on to the second round. In the second round against the San Jose Sharks the Oilers would fall behind early losing the first two games on the road 2-1. Desperately needing a win in Game 3 the Oilers would trail 2-1 again entering the 3rd period. However, Raffi Torres would tie the game and send it to overtime where the game would turn into a marathon before Shane Horcoff kept the Oilers hopes alive with a goal in the third overtime. The win jolted the Oilers dormant offense as they won the next two games 6-3, and went on to win the series in six games. The Oilers would stay red hot in the Western Conference Finals jumping out to a 3-0 series lead against the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim. After a disappointing 6-3 loss at home in Game 4, the Oilers reached the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time in 16 years by winning Game 5 on the road 2-1.
2006 Stanley Cup Finals: In the Stanley Cup Finals against the Carolina Hurricanes the Oilers came out flying jumping out to a 3-0 lead in the second period of Game 1. However, the Hurricanes would rally to tie the game then took the lead on a shorthanded breakaway goal. With Dwayne Roloson under fire the Oilers managed to tie the game at 4 on a power play goal by Ales Hemsky. However, Roloson would soon be lost with a knee injury as Rod Brind’Amour beat Ty Conklin with 32 seconds left to give the Hurricanes a 5-4 win. The stunned Oilers would turn to Jussi Markkanen for Game 2, but could never get going as they were hammered 5-0. Coming home for Game 3 seemed to reenergize the Oilers and it would play off as Ryan Smith delivered the game winner with 2:15 left in a 2-1 game. However, the Hurricanes would take a 3-1 series lead with a 2-1 win of their own in Game 4 putting the Oilers on the brink. Game 5 in Carolina would go to overtime as all of Raleigh seemed to be ready to welcome the Stanley Cup. However, Fernando Pisani who gave the Oilers early life with a goal 16 seconds into the game plays the role of hero again with a shorthanded goal in overtime for a 4-3 win. The Oilers would be reenergized again by the dramatic win as they dominated Game 6 at home winning 4-0 as Pisani added another goal and an assist. With Game 7 in Carolina and all of Edmonton on the edge of their seats, the Oilers fell behind 2-0 entering the 3rd period, but Pisani gave them life again as he scored early in the third period to cut the deficit to 2-1. The Oilers would throw everything they had at Hurricanes Goalie Cam Ward, but nothing would get in as the Hurricanes put the game away with an empty net goal to win the cup 3-1. The disappointing end of the great playoff run would lead to a more disappointing off-season as Chris Pronger demanded a trade as was dealt to the Anaheim Ducks, while Jaroslav Spacek, Sergei Samsonov, and Michael Peca all left Edmonton after just one season signing free agent deals. The Oilers would also see the departure of Ty Conklin and Radek Dvorak, as the hope before the season that the Oilers could compete for the stars faded into the reality of the Oilers small market woes not being fixed.
2006/07: Coming off their miracle run to the Stanley Cup Finals the Oilers were again facing long odds due to the loss of several key players. One player who was still around was Ryan Smyth who set an NHL record for the fastest hat trick scoring three goals in the first 2:01 on October 12th in a 6-4 win over the San Jose Sharks. Through mid-December the Oilers were playing well at 16-10-2. However, the bottom was about to fall out, as they lost eight of their next ten games to close out 2006. Over the next two months while fighting through injuries, the Oilers played mediocre hockey as they faced a difficult decision, risk losing Ryan Smyth or trade him for prospects at the trade deadline. On February 27th the Oilers chose to play it safe, after contract negotiations stalled, trading the popular star to the New York Islanders for Ryan O’Marra, Robert Nilsson, and a 1st round pick in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft. The trade came on the same night that Mark Messier’s #11 was retired and hung like a dark cloud over Edmonton the rest of the season. The Oilers would win just two games the rest of the season, including an 11-game losing streak, as they finished in last place with a terrible record of 32-43-7.
2007/08: The Oilers struggles continued at the start of the season, as the Oilers got off to an awful 5-10-1 start. The struggles continued into December as they closed December with a seven game winless streak. However, with the emergence of young players like Sam Gagner and Andrew Cogliano the Oilers began to show signs of improvement in the New Year, as they won five of their first six games in 2008. After continued improvement in February, the Oilers were one of the hottest teams in the NHL in March, as they posted a 10-4-1 record to make a run at a playoff spot. However, they would fall three points short of the last spot in the Western Conference, as they ended the season with a record of 41-35-6.
2008/09: The Oilers started off strong winning their first four games, but the good start was quickly erased as the Oilers lost their next five games. Such inconsistent play would become the hallmark for the Oilers, as every time it seemed they were making a move they would quickly go into another slump. After entering the New Year with a 17-16-3 record, the Oilers soared in January, posting a solid 8-4-0 record. However, after a mediocre February, the Oilers went into a tailspin in March, winning just five of 15 games, as the Oilers hopes for reaching the playoffs faded away. The Oilers would go on to finish in fourth place with a record of 38-35-9. Following the season Coach Craig MacTavish would be fired and replaced by Pat Quinn.
2009/10: The Oilers tried to improve their team prior to the start of the season, as they agreed on a deal with the Ottawa Senators to land All-Star Dany Heatley. However, Heatley refused to waive a no trade clause to Edmonton and was sent to the San Jose Sharks instead. Under new Coach Pat Quinn the Oilers played well early, winning six of their first nine games as Nikolai Khabibulin who was signed to replace Dwayne Roloson in goal played well at the start of the season. However, a back injury would put him on the shelf the after just 18 games. The Oilers without an experienced goalie would begin to struggle in November, posting a record of 3-7-3. The Oilers would win their first five games in December, playing strong hockey on the road. However, upon coming home they struggled losing seven straight and eight of nine games before the start of the New Year. Things would only get worse in January where they would not win a single game posting an overall 13 game losing streak. The Oilers would end their losing streak with a win over the Carolina Hurricanes on February 1st, but at 19-36-6 at the Olympic Break it was clear that this was going to be a lost season for the Oilers. There would be few highlights the remainder of the season as the Oilers posted the worst record in the NHL at 27-47-8. Following the season Pat Quinn would be replaced by Tom Renney, as the Oilers selected Taylor Hall with the number one overall draft pick.
2010/11: After finishing with one of their worst seasons ever, the Oilers were starting from scratch with a new Coach in Tom Renney as they picked Taylor Hall with the number one overall pick. The new look Oilers would also be a part of a reality Television show called “Oil Change” that followed their rebuilding efforts. The Oilers would start the season on a positive note, shutting out the Calgary Flames 4-0, behind the efforts of Goalie Nikoali Khabibulin, who had 37 saves returning from back surgery. However, the injury bug would bite Khabibulin again, as he posted an awful 10-32-3 record. Once again, the Oilers would struggle all season, posting a terrible 25-45-12 record as they posted the worst record in the NHL again. The bright spot was the play of Rookie Taylor Hall scoring 22 goals, with 20 assists in 65 games. The Oilers would once again get the top pick the draft, choosing Ryan Nugent-Hopkins as the saying Rome was not built in a day was the best way to sum up the Oilers season.
2011/12: After selecting Ryan Nugent-Hopkins with the first overall pick the Oilers looked to use their young blue chip stars to start playing a strong more competitive brand as hockey. With two straight number one picks in Taylor Hall and Nugent-Hopkins on the roster, the Oilers looked for some veteran leadership as they brought back longtime fan favorite Ryan Smith in a trade with the Los Angeles Kings sending Colin Fraser and a draft pick in return. With Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scoring in his first game, the Oilers started the season with a 2-1 shootout win over the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Oilers would play solid hockey throughout October as they finished the first month with a record of 7-2-2. However, the Oilers would struggle over the next two months as they went into the New Year, losing seven of eight games and holding a record of 15-19-3. The struggles continued all the way up to the All-Star Break as they found themselves in last place again at 18-26-5. The Oilers would show some signs of improvement over the last two months as they won six games in February and March. In the end the Oilers finished in last place again with a record of 32-40-10. Taylor Hall and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins each missed 20 games, as Hall had 54 points with 27 goals, while Nugent-Hopkins had 52 points, with 18 goals. Leading the team in scoring was Jordan Eberle who had 76 points with a team high 34 goals. Following the season the Oilers would dismiss Coach Tom Renney.
2012/13: After having the number one pick three straight seasons, the Oilers hoped they could finally break through and return to the playoffs, especially with a compressed 48 game schedule created by a three month lockout. When the season began with new Coach Ralph Krueger on January 20th the Oilers captured a dramatic 3-2 shootout win over the Vancouver Canucks. Despite losing 6-3 to the San Jose Sharks in their home opener, the Oilers looked good early, winning four of their first six games. However, inconsistent goaltending and continued rookie mistakes led to the Oilers winning just four games over the next six weeks. As March came to an end the Oilers made a late push for the playoffs. Helping to get the Oilers back in the playoff race was Taylor Hall, who became the Oilers most reliable scorer with 16 goals and 34 assists. As the season hit the stretch run, the Oilers ran dry as they lost nine of ten games, including six straight games to miss the playoffs for the seventh straight season. The Oilers would close the season with two straight wins and finish with a record of 19-22-7. In the final game of the season Nail Yakupov posted his first career hat trick to finish with a team high 17 goals, which also ranked top among all rookies. The late season struggles would lead to widespread changes as Craig MacTavish took over as General Manager from Steve Tambellini in April. This would lead to Ralph Krueger being fired as coach after just one season with Dallas Eakins being hired to replace him.
2013/14: After three number one overall picks, without rising in the standings the Oilers looked to Dallas Eakins an experienced AHL Coach with a history of developing young talent to lead the team behind the bench. However, once again the Oilers would get off to a terrible start, ending their playoff hopes before they began as they dropped seven of their first eight games. The struggles continued into November as they held an awful 4-15-2 record through the season’s first six weeks. The Oilers big issue was finding a reliable goaltender as they went through six net minders during the season. After holding a 13-24-5 record at the end of 2013, the Oilers went into the Olympic break as the worst team in the Western Conference at 20-33-7. Returning from the break the Oilers would hold a fire sale at the trade deadline. The Oilers as part of their struggles to find a goalie would send Devan Dubnyk who posted an 11-17-2 record to the Nashville Predators on January 15th and Ilya Bryzgalov to the Minnesota Wild at the trade deadline. At the same time they picked up Ben Scrivens and Victor Fasth in deals with the Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks. The Oilers would also send Ales Hemskey to the Ottawa Senators for a pair of draft picks, and Nick Schultz to the Columbus Blue Jackets for a pick. Playing the role of spoiler, the Oilers had their finest month in March, winning six games, but with an awful 29-44-9 record the Oilers were once again the worst team in the West, and the third worst overall in the NHL.
2014/15: Right from the start of the season things did not go well for the Edmonton Oilers, as they were winless in their first five games, and we outscored 25-11. Goaltending was the Oilers biggest weakness, as they had four different starters during the season. Ben Scrivens and Victor Fasth saw a bulk of the action and neither did anything to distinguish themselves. Scrivens made 53 starts, posting a record of 15-26-11 with a 3.16 GAA. Fasth was even worse with a 6-15-3 record with an awful 3.41 GAA. Wins were scarce for Edmonton through much the season’s first three months. On December 15th with the Oilers holding a record of 7-19-5 Coach Dallas Eakins was fired. Todd Nelson who coaching in the AHL with the Oilers affiliate in Oklahoma City was named interim coach for the remainder of the season. The Oilers did not fare much better under Nelson, losing their first five games. During a 21 game stretch in November and December the Oilers won just one game, posting a record of 1-14-6. The Oilers did slightly better in the season’s second half, but came nowhere near a playoff berth, missing the postseason for the ninth straight season, while posting a record of 24-44-14. The only real bright spots for the Oilers, was the play of Jordan Eberle and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Both led the Oilers with 24 goals, while Eberle had a team best 63 points.
2015/16: After another lousy season, the Edmonton Oilers again had the number one overall pick in the draft. This time they selected Connor McDavid with the overall pick. McDavid was the most decorated player in the history of the Ontario Hockey League, is believed to be the kind of franchise player the Oilers have been seeking since their glory days. The glory days were remembered all season in Edmonton as the Oilers prepared for their final season at Rexall Place. McDavid played well early as he was named Rookie of the Month in October. The Oilers, meanwhile, did not fare as well as they dropped their first four games and posted a record of 4-8-0 record. On November 3rd, Connor McDavid would suffer a broken clavicle and miss the next 37 games. After holding a record of 8-15-2record through the first two months the Oilers had a strong start to December, winning their first six games. It would be the only prolonged winning streak for the Oilers all season. Connor McDavid returned for the second half and scored 16 goals with 32 assists for his first season as he finished third in Rookie of the Year voting. It would be another last place finish for the Oilers who poster a record of 31-43-8. On April 6th with many of their stars from the past on hand the Oilers defeated the Vancouver Canucks 6-2 in their final game at Rexall Place as Leon Draisaitl scored the final goal at the arena in which the Oilers called home since 1974 and during its hay day was called Northlands Coliseum.
2016/17: It was a new beginning for the Edmonton Oilers, as they opened their new state of the art building on October 12th against the Calgary Flames. At a cost of $604.5 million, Rogers Place replaced the outdated Northlands Coliseum, which had been the Oilers home since their WHA days in 1974. With a new era starting, the Oilers made a bold move of naming Connor McDavid team captain, making him the youngest captain in the history of the NHL at the age of 19. Patrick Maroon scored the first goal in the history of Rogers Arena, as McDavid had two goals and an assist in a 7-4 win over their Alberta Provincial rivals. The Oilers started the season on fired, winning, seven of their first eight games, this included a 3-0 win over the Winnipeg Jets in the Heritage Classic. After their hot start, the Oilers had their struggles in November, suffering a five-game losing streak as they won just one of five games at Rogers Arena. Edmonton got back on track in December, winning nine seven games as they went into the New Year with a record of 19-12-7. The Oilers continued their strong play in January, as they won nine games, highlighted by an eight-game point streak that took them into the All-Star Break. The Oilers success was due in large part to Connor McDavid, who after missing a large part of his rookie season, showed that he was already among the best players in the NHL as he turned 20, as the won the Art Ross Trophy as the league’s leading scorer with 100 points, scoring 30 goals with 70 assists. The Oilers would go on to finish second in the Pacific Division, with a record of 47-26-9 as Connor McDavid became the third youngest player to win the Hart Trophy, as the NHL’s regular season MVP.
2017 Playoffs: In the playoffs for the first time in 11 years, the Edmonton Oilers played the defending Western Conference Champion San Jose Sharks in the first round. The Oilers jumped out early in their playoff opener, scoring twice in the first period. The experience Sharks though controlled the game the rest of the way, winning in overtime 3-2. After yielding 44 shots in Game 1, the Oilers defense tightened up in Game 2, allowing just 16 shots as Cam Talbot earned his first career playoff shutout. The Oilers meanwhile got shorthanded goals by Zack Kassian and Connor McDavid. Talbot was sharp again in Game 3 in San Jose, as the Oilers recorded a 1-0 win, with Kassian scoring the game’s lone goal midway through the third period. Game 4 was one of those learning experiences a young playoff team faces, as the Sharks tied the series with a 7-0. In Game 5 at Rogers Arena, the Oilers rallied from a 3-1 deficit to force overtime, where David Desharnais scored at 18:15 to send the fans home happy with a 4-3 win. The Oilers would go on to close out the series with a 3-1 win in Game 6 at San Jose, as Talbot had another strong game with 27 saves. Facing the Anaheim Ducks, the Oilers got an unlikely hero in Game 1, as Adam Larsson scored a pair of third-period goals, including the game-winner as they drew first blood with a 5-3 win in Anaheim. In Game 2, the Oilers got a stellar performance from Cam Talbot, who made 39 saves on 40 shots as Edmonton squeezed out a 2-1 win. Looking to take a 3-0 lead as the series shifted to Edmonton, the Oilers suffered a major letdown in Game 3, losing 6-3 as Rickard Rakell set the tone, scoring 25 seconds into the game. The Oilers started strong in Game 4, scoring twice in the first period. The Ducks answered with three in the second, as Drake Caggiula forced overtime with just under two minutes left in regulation. Overtime would not last long as Jakob Silfverberg scored at 45 seconds to give the Ducks a 4-3 win to even the series. Back in Anaheim for Game 5, the Oilers looked to be sitting pretty, up 3-0 late in the third period. However, the Ducks scored three goals with the extra attacker on the ice in three minutes to force overtime. There the game would go into a double overtime before Corey Perry’s goal gave Anaheim a 4-3 win. The Oilers quickly got over the shock of their Game 5 collapse, scoring five goals in the first period of Game 6 at Rogers Arena. Edmonton would win the game 7-1 as Leon Draisaittl netted a hat-trick. Game 7 would be considerably tighter as the Oilers scored in the first period and the Ducks scored in the second. The Ducks with a goal from Nick Ritchie would take the lead early in the third period, as the Oilers were unable to get the equalizer, losing 2-1.
2017-18: After a thrilling return to the playoffs to end their 11-year drought. The Edmonton Oilers began the season with high hopes. Many experts had picked the Oilers to not only return to the playoffs but to make a deep run, a few even selecting them as the early Western Conference favorites. After the first game of the season, a 3-0 shutout of their Alberta rival Calgary Flames, in front of a raucous Rogers Place, the Oilers seemed to be worthy of the hype. Their 1-0-0 record after that night though was the last time the Oilers would have more wins than losses all season. The Oilers struggled out of the gate, and by November 1st, their record was an abysmal 3-7-1. By Christmas, they were able to seemingly turn the tide reaching the .500 mark at 17-17-2, thanks in large part to Captain Connor McDavid, who was on his way to his second consecutive 100 point season and his first 40 goal season in his young career. He would later go on to win the Art Ross Trophy at the seasons end with 108 points and 41 goals. It would be the lone bright spot in a bitterly disappointing season for the rest of his team. After a six-game losing streak in February, the Oilers’ slim playoff hopes were extinguished. Last season’s hero’s like Milan Lucic, Oscar Klefbom, and even goalie Cam Talbot suffered significant setbacks, injuries, or both. All this combined left Oiler fans not with dreams of the Stanley Cup and returning to their 80’s glory days but rather nightmares reminiscent to the “Decade of Darkness.” The Oilers would finish the year going 36-40-6, as they finished a distant 17 points out of a playoff spot.
Written by Steve Sica
2018-19: The Edmonton Oilers were looking to rebound from a disastrous season the year prior. With Connor McDavid looking like one of, if not the best player in the league, the Oilers knew they had to produce a winning product around him or risk losing him as rumors began to circulate that McDavid had demanded a trade out of Edmonton. On the ice, however, the Oilers showed no sense of urgency as they had a pedestrian start to their season going 9-10-1 during their first 20 games. That, coupled with last season’s bitter taste, the Oilers front office decided to make a move. They fired Head Coach Todd McLellan and replaced him with 67-year old Ken Hitchcock. Hitchcock came with an excellent resume, robust playoff experience and had coached the Dallas Stars to a Stanley Cup 20 years prior. At first, it seemed like the move had lit a fire under the team as they went an impressive 9-2-2 and put themselves into playoff positioning after the hire. It was a short-lived fire, though, as the Oilers found themselves on a six-game losing streak by New Year’s Eve. The next month brought even worse hockey that saw the Oilers lose 12 of 13 games. Despite all the losing, Connor McDavid, still maintained his status as an elite player in the league, only this year he’d have some company. His wingman, Leon Draisaitl, had a career year. He would score a remarkable 50 goals on the season and gathered 105 points and quickly catapulted himself into a household name in hockey. Not to be outdone, Connor McDavid would collect 116 points on the season, and with the help of Draisaitl, would have a career-high 75 assists. In March, the Oilers would try to make a furious comeback to reach the playoffs and pulled to within five points of a wild card spot by the middle of the month. But a home loss to the underperforming New Jersey Devils, followed by blowout losses on the road to the Vegas Golden Knights and St. Louis Blues would doom any playoff dreams in Edmonton as the Oilers would be on the outside looking in for the second straight season at 35-38-9.
Written by Steve Sica
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