Team Profile: The Edmonton Oilers

Ok, so in recent years the Oilers have pretty much been the joke of the League. Through intentional tanking and a bit of luck, they have managed to score 4 first overall picks in 6 seasons. Despite this, they have failed to rally a contending team. Most recently they drafted Connor “literally Jesus” McDavid with the hope that he single handedly fixes the franchise. I am of course being facetious. I do feel that while they are putting a lot of pressure on McDavid (who, by the way, has only played half of a season in the NHL so far due to getting injured), this offseason the Oilers have made legitimate, albeit unpopular, moves to provide support for their superstar. Who was just named youngest captain in NHL history, by the way.

A brief overview:

  • Located in the Pacific Division of the Western Conference
  • Founded in 1972
  • Located in Edmonton, Alberta
  • Arena: Rogers Place
  • Owner: Oilers Entertainment Group
  • GM: Peter Chiarelli
  • Head Coach: Todd McClellan
  • Captain: Connor McDavid
  • Minor League Affiliate: Bakersfield Condors
  • Stanley Cups: 5

A super brief overview (like, this is so, so general I feel a little bad because it won’t do the Oilers history justice, but I’m down to the wire here…so sorry!)

The Oilers were founded as part of the WHA, and remained in that league until they joined the NHL in 1979. Before that they acquired the then underage Wayne Gretzky from the folded Indianapolis Racers for cash. Gretzky only played one season in the WHA before the team moved to the NHL.

The Oilers lost most of the players from 1978–79 when the NHL held a reclamation draft of players who had bolted to the upstart league as they were allowed to protect two goaltenders and two skill players. Originally, Gretzky was not eligible to be protected; under the rules of the time, he normally would have been placed in the Entry Draft pool. However, the owner Pocklington had signed him to a 21-year personal services contract in 1979 and Pocklington used the contract to force the NHL to admit the Oilers and allow the Oilers to keep Gretzky.

As we all know, Gretzky would prove to become the all-time leading scorer. The “Great One”, as he is called, helped lead the Oilers to 5 Stanley Cup Championships.

The Oilers were the first team to win the Presidents Trophy.

The Oilers trading away Wayne Gretzky to the LA Kings is still regarded as one of the most shocking and controversial trades in sports history.

During the 2010–11 season, the Oilers introduced the Oilers Octane, the first cheerleading squad for a Canadian NHL team. This was considered an unpopular move by some. Then in August 2016 the Oilers announced they were discontinuing the Octane cheer team as they moved to their first season in the new Rogers Place arena, as well as announcing auditions for a new Oilers Orange and Blue Ice Crew “brand ambassador’ group.

On November 22, 2003, the Oilers hosted the 2003 Heritage Classic, the first regular season outdoor hockey game in the NHL’s history and part of the celebrations of the Oilers’ 25th season in the NHL.

The Oilers did not make the playoffs this past season.

Notable Players:

  • Wayne Gretzky (mic drop, we’re done here)

Most of the hockey world is very much aware of the Oilers recent struggles. As I ranted in the introduction, the Oilers have had a wealth of talent join their team via draft, which is not something that seems to happen very often. They traded one of these talents, Taylor Hall, in exchange for some defensive help in the form of Adam Larsson, and signed free agent Milan Lucic to provide some support to newly minted captain, Connor McDavid. We’ll see what happens, but I do get the feeling they will be poised to show some drastic improvement this season.

Connor McDavid was named captain of the Oilers, making him the youngest in NHL history (source: Robert Tychkowski)

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