ST. LOUIS - Joel Edmundson will forever be tied to the city of St. Louis after helping the Blues capture their first-ever Stanley Cup championship in 2019.
It was the defining moment of Edmundson's time with the Blues, which began when he was picked in the second round (46th overall) in the 2011 NHL Draft. The defenseman totaled 52 points (13g, 39a) in 269 career games with St. Louis from 2015-19.
In late September, the Carolina Hurricanes acquired Edmundson, along with prospect Dominik Bokk and a 2021 draft pick, from St. Louis in exchange for Justin Faulk.
The pair of blue liners will be facing their respective former teams for the first time tonight, a night that will be extra special for Edmundson. He'll receive his Stanley Cup ring in a pregame ceremony, and his parents, Bob and Lois, are in town to see it.
GAME PREVIEW | PROJECTED LINEUP
With the emotional backdrop set for tonight's match-up between the Hurricanes and Blues, Edmundson held court with the media after the morning skate for a discussion about what it's like being back in St. Louis, the transition to a new team and new city and more.
On being back in St. Louis: "Just driving through downtown, going down Market St., it brings back good memories. Just seeing all the guys, seeing the guys who work in the organization, seeing you guys, I've definitely missed it, but I'm really enjoying myself in Carolina. We're looking forward to a good match tonight."
On winning the Stanley Cup: "It's everything you imagine. I can definitely see the Hurricanes winning in the future. We have a great team here, a great young team with a lot of skill. Good things are in store for us."
On the difficulty of leaving after winning a title with the team that drafted him: "It definitely was difficult, but I sort of saw it coming. Just going to arbitration two years in a row, you kind of get the sense there might be a trade in the works. It still caught me off guard. Going to Carolina, I wanted to go in with a positive mindset and bring my game down there. It's been an easy transition. It's an easy locker room to go into. A lot of young faces. I didn't really know anyone when I got down there, but I definitely became friends with everyone real quick."
Video: Joel Edmundson: Mic'd Up
On the adjustment in Raleigh: "It's been a really easy transition. It's kind of a quiet city. I kind of like that. I'm not really a big city type of guy. It's almost like a small town. When I got down there, I was really surprised and overwhelmed by how good of a fanbase we have down there. After every game, there's hundreds of people waiting outside the rink for autographs and stuff like that. They definitely love their hockey down there, and I've really enjoyed playing there."
On being a "grizzled vet" in a younger locker room: "It feels like that. I'm probably right in the middle of the pack, but I've been in the league long enough that I try to be a leader in my own type of way."
On becoming a "goal-scoring machine": "I wouldn't say that. Four right now. I haven't switched my game at all. Just trying to shoot the puck. We've been doing a good job getting to the net and making it hard for the goalie. I've been lucky four times."
Video: PHI@CAR: Hamilton sets up Edmundson's one-time tally
On if he's been itching to get his Stanley Cup ring: "When I saw the videos and Snapchats of when they received them, I just looked at pictures for the next week of it. Since then, I haven't really looked at it or thought about it too much."
On the Blues flying his parents in for the ring ceremony and game: "That's very cool. … It's a first-class move. … For them to do that is really special. I know my parents are really thankful for that."
On if his parents have visited Raleigh: "They've been down a couple times. I had my whole family down for Christmas. They really enjoyed the weather down there. I think they'll get down a couple more times. They like the city a lot. You know my parents - they like to travel."
On what it will be like to line up against his former team: "I just try to look at this as another game. It will probably go by as a blur, but I'll try to savor every moment of it."
On the first game back: "The guys are saying that the first time back is always the weirdest, but after that, the next game back it will feel like I never played here or something like that. It will definitely be weird tonight, but I'm just going to try to focus on playing my game."
On the strategy of hitting someone else before getting hit: "That'd be nice. That'd be really nice. I'm not going to change my game at all, and I know they won't. … I'm definitely prepared to get hit and throw some hits myself."