EDMONTON, ALBERTA, CANADA—The NHL announced on Monday, June 5, that the 1984-1985 Stanley Cup winners, the Edmonton Oilers, have been voted as the greatest NHL team in history.
In honor of the NHL’s centennial celebration, more than 3.6 million votes were cast since the Stanley Cup playoffs commenced approximately six weeks ago. The 1984-1985 Oilers were up against the 1991-1992 Pittsburgh Penguins for the top spot.
The Oilers defeated the Philadelphia Flyers during the 1985 Stanley Cup finals, marking their second consecutive championship win. The team won their first Cup the previous season when they beat the New York Islanders in five games.
Hall of Fame-inducted center Wayne Gretzky, who played alongside fellow Hall of Famers Mark Messier, Jari Kurri, Paul Coffey and Grant Fuhr during the 1984-1985 season, attained 208 points and led the NHL in scoring. Runner-up Jari Kurri concluded the season with 135 points.
In a single playoff year, Gretzky set records for assists with 30 and points with 47. He also attained seven goals in five games, tying the record attained by Jean Beliveau in 1956 and Mike Bossy in 1982 for most goals in the Stanley Cup final.
Gretzky also received the Hart Trophy, Art Ross Trophy, Conn Smythe Trophy, Lester B. Pearson Award and held the best plus-minus in the NHL. With 121 points, Coffey was awarded the Norris Trophy.
“We had a love for the game. All of us loved being at the rink. We loved playing and we loved practicing. I think from (Mark) Messier, to (Glenn) Anderson, to (Coffey), to Kevin Lowe, to (Jari) Kurri, we showed up for practice. We practiced hard,” Gretzky asserted in a statement.
Former defenseman and six-time Cup winner Kevin Lowe spoke with Oilers TV’s Chris Wescott.
“I don’t want to say we had the swagger of a champion, but we had the confidence of a champion. We always felt as a group – because we were talented enough – if we played as a team and complied to the game plan that it’d be very difficult for anyone to beat us but we never took that for granted,” the former Oiler contended.
The 1983-1984, 1986-1987, and 1987-1988 Oilers also made this year’s top 10 list for the greatest NHL teams. Lowe played for the Oilers during each of those seasons.
“We were a young team, so there was no reason why we shouldn’t win multiple Cups. When you have that much talent and that much experience and health, as indicated there were no injuries – no major injuries – that if you don’t win, there’s something wrong,” Lowe said.
Top 10 Greatest NHL Teams as voted by fans:
- 1984-85 Edmonton Oilers
- 1991-92 Pittsburgh Penguins
- 1976-77 Montreal Canadiens
- 1987-88 Edmonton Oilers
- 1986-87 Edmonton Oilers
- 1997-98 Detroit Red Wings
- 1982-83 New York Islanders
- 1977-78 Montreal Canadiens
- 1983-84 Edmonton Oilers
- 2001-02 Detroit Red Wings