ANAHEIM, CA - Tyler Ennis grew up in Edmonton with the same dream as any young hockey player in Alberta's capital city.
A trade from the Ottawa Senators to his hometown Oilers for a fifth-round pick ahead of Monday's Trade Deadline made it a reality.
"It's a bit of a dream come true because a lot of kids in Edmonton just like myself grew up wanting to play for the Edmonton Oilers," the forward, speaking pre-game for the first time with his new club, said.
Like any other Oilers fan, the Great One was revered. But as a millennial idolizing the Oilers of the '90s and early '00s in his younger years, the likes of Doug Weight and Ryan Smyth were held in high regard for a local product like Ennis.
"Obviously a huge Gretzky guy. He's the best player of all time," Ennis said. "He's a big talking point at a lot of dinners growing up in the household.
"But for me, my favourite player was probably Doug Weight."
Video: PRE-GAME RAW | Ennis 02.25.20
The former Knights of Columbus product - with his smaller stature, incredible tenacity and puck-handling - progressed to the WHL's Medicine Hat Tigers and worked his way to the NHL as a first-round pick of the Buffalo Sabres in 2008.
A seven-season stint in Buffalo preceded one-year stops in Minnesota, Toronto and Ottawa, where the 30-year-old would score his first NHL goal against his hometown team back in December with plenty of family and friends in the crowd.
"I expect a lot of family in the crowd moving forward here," he said.
From an Ottawa side well out of the playoff picture to an Oilers team in the midst of contending the Pacific Division title, Ennis arrives just in time to forge ahead with 20 games left on the docket in the regular season for his new club to hold down a spot in the playoffs.
"I had a good time in Ottawa, but I'm ecstatic to be an Oiler and I can't wait to move forward with these guys."
"I got in late last night, so it's been a bit of an adrenaline ride this last day or so. For me again, just play hard and keep it simple. That's all I can control and have fun with it. Enjoy it."
The 30-year-old will have an immediate opportunity to make an impact on the Oilers top line with Connor McDavid and fellow deadline acquisition Andreas Athanasiou on Tuesday against the Anaheim Ducks.
"It's obviously so special just to be a part of this team with this group of guys," Ennis said. "Two of the best players on the planet, and getting to play with Connor tonight is pretty cool. I'm just going to try to shake off some rust, work hard, and that's all I can control - just how hard I work and compete - and good things usually happen when you do that."