It really isn't a secret that that the city of Edmonton isn't exactly the biggest draw when it comes to attracting premier free agents in the National Hockey League. Just ask the average Oilers fan what they think about Chris Pronger and that entire ordeal that ended after just one season and a Conn Smythe Trophy-worthy playoff run by the Hall of Fame defenseman.
Shortly after Edmonton's postseason run, Pronger demanded a trade. Essentially, his wife was not happy living in Edmonton despite her husband's hefty contract. Not surprisingly, Oilers fans who loved Pronger just weeks before suddenly loathed him for what they saw as a betrayal. Pronger was dealt to the sunny shores of Anaheim and joined the Ducks, where he helped them win the Stanley Cup the following year.
The brutal winters in northern Alberta along with the lack of nightlife options that cities like Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Las Vegas and others have to offer for young, wealthy athletes is likely playing a role in why the team is having trouble attracting top talent other than via the Draft and trade market.
“I have been told again, just as a reminder, there is one person who always says it to me, there are no-trade clauses here, and Edmonton isn’t winning right now,” said Friedman. “That makes [Edmonton’s] job much, much more difficult, much more difficult.”
Edmonton was recently polled as one of the three worst NHL citiesto have to play on the road, along with Winnipeg and Buffalo.
"I feel like we always play Edmonton in the middle of winter and it sucks," one player was quoted as saying.
The lure of playing with a pair of hockey's top players in Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl would normally be an alluring thing for most players, but given the fact that Edmonton is struggling through a stunningly bad campaign so far, things won't get any easier in their quest to add talent through players voluntarily coming aboard.