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-2. Every year during the 1990s and early 2000s, the Oilers would lose a star player or two simply because they couldn’t afford to pay them, given the economics of the team, which the Oilers considered. as one of the lowest income, lowest value NHL franchises. Who has left? Jari Kurri, 1990, Mark Messier, 1991, Charlie Huddy, 1991, Adam Graves, 1991, Grant Fuhr, 1991, Steve Smith, 1991, Glenn Anderson, 1991, Jeff Beukeboom, 1992, Kevin Lowe, 1992, Joe Murphy, 1992, Norm McIver, 1992, Vincent Damphousse, 1992, Esa Tikkanen, 1993, Petr Klima, 1993, Craig MacTavish, 1994, Dave Manson, 1994, Curtis Joseph, 1998, Bill Guerin, 2001, Doug Weight, 2001 and Anson Carter, 2003.
-3. If you don’t think all those star players who left didn’t carve a six-inch valley through the crater of the skulls of many Oilers fans, you weren’t Oilers fans back then. It was continuous, painful, frustrating, demoralizing. Fortunately, with the new NHL collective agreement and increased revenue sharing in 2005, things got better for the Oilers, even as the owners of Edmonton Investors Group continued to deal with a tight financial situation, which led to Ryan Smyth to leave in 2007. But, generally, if the player’s will was to stay in Edmonton, money could be found to keep him.
-4. The team’s financial fortunes improved dramatically when new owner and super fan Daryl Katz bought the team in July 2008. Katz spent tens of millions more to help his Oilers compete, paying a surcharge for everything from parking expensive players into minors, negotiating early contracts against overdue contracts, paying for additional front office managers and scouts to spending at the top of the NHL salary cap. It’s all about winning, Katz said when he bought the team. “I told all the guys that we were going to do whatever it takes to make the Oilers a competitive elite team in the National Hockey League.