By the numbers: Looking at Oilers’ long road back to playoffs

As Gene Principe reports, the Edmonton Oilers finally end their playoff drought, and reward all the loyal fans who have stuck with their team through the decade of playoff darkness.

The Edmonton Oilers are officially back in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

It’s been a long time coming.

The Oilers needed to defeat the Los Angeles Kings in any fashion on Tuesday night in order to clinch a playoff berth, and they did just that with a 2-1 victory over the struggling Kings.

The last time the Oilers played post-season hockey was in 2005-06, when they skated all the way the way to the Stanley Cup Final before being bested by the Carolina Hurricanes in seven games.

Both teams missed the playoffs the following season—a first in league history. The Hurricanes would return to the playoffs in 2009, but the Oilers weren’t so lucky. now more than a decade later, the pacific club has snapped the NHL’s longest-running current post-season drought. (Funny enough, that title now belongs to the Hurricanes.)

The last time the Oilers made the playoffs, Daniel Powter’s Bad Day topped the charts (a sign of things to come, perhaps?), The Departed won Best Picture, and The Real Housewives reality TV franchise began its long and dramatic tenure.

Now that Edmonton has officially earned the right to play spring hockey, let’s take a by-the-numbers look at the path that (eventually) got them back to the playoffs.

Team stats

Regular season record: 339-423-99 in 861 games played. (That’s a .451 points percentage.)
Goals scored: 2,177 (2.53 goals per game)
Goals against: 2,612 (3.03 goals against per game)

Number of skaters to play at least one game with the Oilers: 159
Number of goalies to play at least one game: 18

Number of coaches: 7

Craig MacTavish | 2000-01 to 2008-09
MacTavish would return to Edmonton in 2012 as senior VP of hockey operations before taking over general manager duties in 2013.

Pat Quinn | 2009-10
Quinn stayed with the Oilers for one more season, serving as senior advisor on hockey operations for the 2010-11 season.

Tom Renney | 2010-11 to 2011-12
Renney joined Hockey Canada as president in July 2014, and announced this past December that he’ll be stepping down this July.

Ralph Krueger | 2012-13
Krueger’s single season with Edmonton remains his only NHL head coaching experience. His most recent stint in the NHL spotlight came during the World Cup of Hockey in September, when he brought Team Europe to the final.

Dallas Eakins | 2013-14 to Dec. 2014
Eakins’ time in Edmonton didn’t exactly go smoothly. “I know there’s a lot of criticism of my time there and I’m fine with that,” Eakins told The Canadian Press last March. “And usually the opinions being expressed, they are so far off it’s amazing. I know what went on in the locker-room and no one else does.”

Todd Nelson (interim) | 2014-15
Of this group, Nelson’s time as head coach was the shortest. Following the season, he accepted a job with the Detroit Red Wings organizations as head coach of the club’s AHL affiliate in Grand Rapids.

Todd McLellan | 2015-16 to present
McLellan stirred up a bit of controversy after the Oilers’ third game of the season when he cancelled the club’s league-mandated off-day following a dismal 6-2 loss to the Buffalo Sabres. Months later, many—including the coach himself—view that as a major moment for the franchise.

Number of first overall draft picks: 4

Taylor Hall, 2010
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, 2011
Nail Yakupov, 2012
Connor McDavid, 2015

Of those four, just two are still with the Oilers. Hall was dealt to the New Jersey Devils in June 2016 for defenceman Adam Larsson and Yakupov was sent to St. Louis just prior to the start of the 2016-17 season.


Number of first-round draft picks: 13

Sam Gagner, 6th overall, 2007
Alex Plante, 15th overall, 2007
Riley Nash, 21st overall, 2007
Jordan Eberle, 22nd overall, 2008
Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson, 10th overall, 2009
Taylor Hall, 1st overall, 2010
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, 1st overall, 2011
Oscar Klefbom, 19th overall, 2011
Nail Yakupov, 1st overall, 2012
Darnell Nurse, 7th overall, 2013
Leon Draisaitl, 3rd overall, 2014
Connor McDavid, 1st overall, 2015
Jesse Puljujarvi, 4th overall, 2016

Note: The Oilers did not have a first-round pick in 2006. Their highest pick that year came midway through the second round when they selected defenceman Jeff Petry 45th overall.

Just half of those 14 picks (including Petry) remain in Edmonton: Eberle, Nugent-Hopkins, Klefbom, Nurse, Draisaitl, McDavid, Puljujarvi.

Stats courtesy of Sportsnet Stats.

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