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17 Days Until The Season Begins

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Photo credit:NHL.com
Cam Lewis
6 months ago
Throughout the summer and into the fall, we’ll be counting down the days until the Edmonton Oilers begin their 2023-24 season with a daily trip down memory lane. Today at No. 17 we have Jari Kurri, a Hall of Famer known as ‘The Finnish Flash’ who ranks second in all-time team scoring with 1,043 points.
The Oilers selected Kurri in the fourth round of the 1980 draft, a couple of years after he played a game against them with Finland’s National Hockey Team during the 1978-79 World Hockey Association season. Kurri had scored 39 points in 33 games playing for Jokerit in Finland’s top professional league and immediately made the jump to the NHL after being drafted.
Kurri quickly found success playing with the Oilers. He scored 11 points in his first 13 games and was promoted to play on the team’s top forward line alongside Wayne Gretzky while Brett Calighen was out with an injury. The duo found immediate chemistry and Kurri finished his rookie season with 75 points in 75 games.

Edmonton Journal Newspaper Clipping From November 22, 1980.

Over the next few years, Kurri established himself as an excellent two-way player in the NHL and he and Gretzky became one of the most prolific scoring duos in league history. Kurri broke the 100-point plateau for the first time in 1982-83, he reached the 100-point mark for the first time in 1983-84, and he led the league in goals with 68 in 1985-86.
The Oilers won five Stanley Cups between 1983-84 and 1989-90 and Kurri was part of all five championships. Kurri spent the 1990-91 season playing in Finland because he and the Oilers couldn’t come to terms on a contract. He wound up getting traded to the L.A. Kings in May of 1991, two years after the Oilers had dealt Gretzky to Los Angeles.
Kurri spent parts of five seasons in Los Angeles and then had stops with the New York Rangers, Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, and Colorado Avalanche before retiring in 1998. He finished his NHL career with 601 goals and 1,398 points over 1,251 games. Of those 601 career goals, Gretzky assisted on 364 of them.

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