25 years ago to this date, Wayne Gretzky was confirmed to be heading to Los Angeles. The Oilers were in the prime of their organization, arguably in the best position of any NHL team. Ever. Within one day they went from a dominating dynasty to a city left speechless, watching the exit of their hockey hero.
The Edmonton Oilers were left without the future of their franchise, and the future of the city of Edmonton’s pride. The Oilers showed fight for a couple years to follow. This was led by top players such as Jari Kurri, Mark Messier, and Glenn Anderson. Jari Kurri was crucial to Edmonton’s success throughout the 1980’s. He and Gretzky led the Oilers on and off the ice.
The Edmonton Oilers had everything going right. In the end, it seems that money and location has a demanding impact on personal choices.
As an Albertan, the effects of the Gretzky trade still linger amongst family and friends. Talks continue to emerge of the good old days, where the Oilers won five Stanley Cups in seven seasons (between 1983 and 1989). It seems that Oilers fans are still waiting for everything to click.
The Edmonton Oilers showed a glimpse of hope during a playoff run half a decade ago, which lasted up until losing in the Stanley Cup Finals.
What the franchise is looking for is more than another Wayne Gretzky. They need that Jari Kurri to assist him, and the Mark Messier. After gaining the first overall draft pick in the 2009-2012 entry drafts, have the Oilers found those key players? The players they need are the players that will spark the rebuilding of not only the franchise, but also of the city of Edmonton.
Expect motivation to come from young prospects who will feel pressure by the city to step up. Jordan Eberle, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Sam Gagner, Nick Schultz, Nail Yakupov, and Taylor Hall are all expected to be rising champions that will be hopeful in bringing the Stanley Cup back to the city of Edmonton.
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