Drafted By Edmonton
Messier's career began to take off when he joined the Edmonton Oilers in the NHL in 1979. The team, primarily because of coach and general manager Glen Sather, drafted him in the 1979 entry draft in the second round with the 48th pick. Messier's numbers improved immediately from the previous season, scoring twelve goals and twenty-one assists in seventy-five games.
Soon, Messier had a reputation as a goal scorer, though this was often overshadowed by his more famous goal scoring teammate Wayne Gretzky. In the 1981-82 season, Messier scored 50 goals and 38 assists, and the
team made playoffs. In 1983, team went all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals with Messier contributing fifteen playoff goals. Until the 1983-84 season he was primarily a left wing, then shifted to center. In 1984, Edmonton won the Stanley Cup, and Messier was named the playoff MVP. His reputation as a clutch player and leader in the locker room was cemented in this time period.
The Oilers won the Stanley Cup three more times in this decade, in 1985, 1987, and 1988. Gretzky played with Oilers until 1988 when he was traded to the Los Angeles Kings. When Gretzky was traded, Messier was named captain and became team's official leader. In the 1980s, Messier was recognized as one of the best players in hockey. Then teammate Kevin Lowe told Austin Murphy of Sports Illustrated, "You have to go back to Gordie Howe to find someone who can dominate every aspect of the game—puckhandling, checking, skating—the way Mark can, although I'm not sure Howe was as fast as Mark."
Messier and the Oilers won another Cup in 1990. This was the same year that he won Hart Trophy as league's most valuable player and the Lester B. Pearson Award (most valuable player as voted on by the players). He followed up this triumphant year with a relatively bad season in 1990-91 because a knee injury limited him to fifty-three games.