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Twenty Years of Bad Road for the Edmonton Oilers (1992-2012)
By StatsHockey.net - Feb 26, 2012

By the end of the (2011-12) season the Edmonton Oilers will have been out of the playoffs for six consecutive years (2006-2012). Their last consecutive years missing the playoffs were from (1992-1996) when they missed four years in a row. How the mighty have fallen.

Money doesn’t seem to be the problem with this franchise anymore. From 2005 their building has been sold out, they appear to have thousands of fans on a waiting list for season tickets and (sources say) they make a healthy profit not including playoffs from operations. Having the Canadian dollar at par sure beats the $.60 cent dollar they had to work with in the 1990’s.

So what is their problem? Can this be blamed on bad management and underachieving players.

Starting in the (1991-92) season they have had 8 playoff appearances in the last 20 years. Four of those were loses in the first round, two of those were second round loses, one was a conference final loss and of course the 2006 Stanley cup run that saw them make it to game 7 of the Stanley Cup but only to lose to Carolina. This team hasn’t won their division since the (1986-87) season.

Since coming in the NHL in 1979 they have had only six 100 plus point seasons and the last being in (1986-87). Compare that with Detroit Red Wings who are working on their 12 consecutive 100 point season in a row.

This was the team that dominated the 1980’s with 5 Stanley cups and numerous Art Ross, Hart and Norris trophy winners. By the late eighties the Edmonton Oilers brand was known worldwide to mean winning and star power. Even their last Stanley cup in 1990 they did it without Wayne Gretzky. They even managed to make it to the conference finals in 1991 and 1992 with most of their stars gone. If you could compare them to one team it would be the Dallas Cowboys.

But by 1993 they lost all of their top stars and valuable players from the eighties including Wayne Gretzky, Jari Kurri, Mark Messier, Glenn Anderson, Paul Coffey, Kevin Lowe, Charlie Huddy, Esa Tikkanen, Grant Fuhr and Andy Moog.

The positive thing about finishing last is the chance to select a player high in the draft. Well, they accomplished that feat the last two years in a row (2009-10 & 2010-11) which gave them the right (winning lottery) to select Taylor Hall (1st Overall in 2010) and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (1st Overall in 2011) in the draft. If they are not careful they will be selecting 1st overall again for the third consecutive year. You can officially say the Oilers are in a rebuilding mode especially when they have already drafted Jordan Eberle (22rd Overall in 2008), Magnus Paajarvi (10th Overall in 2009) and Sam Gagner (6th Overall in 2007) all first rounder’s.

Will this team regain its glory after being in the hinterlands for so long, it is hard to tell but you have to be optimistic with tank nation (race to last) in full gear and quality players popping out of the Oil Well like Hall, Nugent-Hopkins and Eberle.
Wayne Gretzky statue outside Rexall Centre in Edmonton.
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