The Oilers were coming off their fourth Stanley Cup in five years as part of their dominant late-80s dynasty, of which Gretzky was, obviously, a huge part. During the 1987-88 playoffs (Gretzky's last with the Oilers) he tallied 43 points in just 19 postseason games, which is to this day the third-best playoff performance in NHL history.
Here's a trip down memory lane and the video of Gretzky's goodbye to Edmonton ...
The entire saga was documented in Kings Ransom back in September as the opening film in ESPN's 30 for 30 series .
As for what Edmonton received for Gretzky ...
Carson was coming off a season that saw him become one of the youngest players in NHL history to score 50 goals, and would play just 84 games in Edmonton. After his first season with the Oilers, which saw him tally 49 goals along with 51 assists, Carson was traded to the Detroit Red Wings during the 1989-90 campaign for Petr Klima, Joe Murphy, Adam Graves and Jeff Sharples.
Gelinas, the No. 7 overall pick in the 1988 draft, spent five seasons in Edmonton before being traded Quebec prior to the 1993-94 season in exchange for Scott Pearson.
One of the first-round picks (1989) was traded to New Jersey, which selected Jason Miller, while Edmonton would later select Martin Rucinsky in 1991 and defenseman Nick Stajduhar in 1993 to complete the trade.
The Oilers would go on to win one more Stanley Cup after the trade (defeating the Boston Bruins in five games in 1990), while Gretzky helped to single-handedly put California on the hockey map.