The solution? Market the team ... to the players.
Yes, hockey players, and/or their wives, aren't exactly fond of Edmonton's harsh winters, lack of nightlife, grueling travel schedule, and the fact that the city smells like sauerkraut.
So, the Oilers are trying a novel approach to improve their reputation among the ranks of the players.
Just in time for free-agency season on July 1, the team has produced a new DVD for hockey agents extolling the virtues of playing in what some players consider the National Hockey League's Siberia.
The eight-minute Welcome to Oil Country DVD arrived in a wooden box at various agents offices over the last few weeks, plugging the city, the team and why this franchise should be a great place for any player to hang his skates.
"If anybody gets this DVD, they should be impressed," said local player agent Rich Winter.
If the icy heart of a greedy agent can be melted by this DVD, it must be pretty good. Having the agents warm to the idea will filter down to their clients, and may just help land the Oilers that big prize they are after.
Will a short DVD really change the mind of a spoiled NHL star? That remains to be seen. Give credit to the Oilers for trying something new and innovative. In the salary cap environment, teams need to have 'other' incentives for players to want to choose to play for them.