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Scrivens, Hendricks in lineup for Oilers

by Dan Myers

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- In their first full day as Edmonton Oilers, goaltender Ben Scrivens and forward Matt Hendricks will play their first games with the team when the Oilers face the Minnesota Wild on Thursday at Xcel Energy Center.

For Scrivens, a native of Spruce Grove, Alberta, his trade Wednesday from the Los Angeles Kings in exchange for a third-round pick in the 2014 NHL Draft, allows him a chance to play for his hometown team. It also allows him his first true opportunity to win a starting job in the NHL.

"It was a little bit of a shock but I'd be lying if I didn't say it was something I was hoping for," Scrivens said of a trade out of Los Angeles. "It's going to be a fun experience playing back at home."

Along with familiar surroundings at home once the Oilers return to Edmonton, Scrivens also has a coach in Dallas Eakins he knows well. Eakins coached Scrivens for three seasons with the Toronto Marlies of the American Hockey League before Eakins was named Oilers coach in June, the same month Scrivens was traded to the Kings by the Toronto Maple Leafs.

"It's obviously nice to have familiar faces in a new environment," Scrivens said. "But if it wasn't here and it was a different coach I'd still have to make due and make the best of it."

Acquired Wednesday from the Nashville Predators in exchange for goaltender Devan Dubnyk, Hendricks will make his Oilers debut about a 20-minute drive from his offseason home in Plymouth, Minn. A graduate of nearby Blaine High School, Hendricks said he was excited to play his first game as an Oiler in front of friends and family.

"I called my dad [Wednesday] and told him I'd been traded and he was pretty surprised, but when I told him he'd be able to see me in my first game in an Oilers jersey he was pretty excited," Hendricks said. "It's part of the game. It's part of the business. And to be able to play in front of my friends and my family, that'll be great. But I'm more excited to get to know the faces in [the Oilers' locker] room."

In his sixth NHL season, the 32-year old Hendricks already is bringing a veteran presence to the Oilers locker room. During the morning skate Thursday, Hendricks was a boisterous presence on the ice.

"Like a true professional we know he's going to come in and work every day, and we're looking for that to rub off on all of our team," Eakins said. "Just that alone -- talking in practice, being loud in practice -- that's great energy. That should be there every day. That's a skill."

Eakins indicated Hendricks will start on the wing Thursday but said he could move between there and center as well as up and down the forward lines as needed. He also will play an immediate role on the penalty kill.

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