Matt Fraser was excited when he was informed that the Oilers were claiming him off waivers on Monday morning. It’s a chance for a fresh start with a team the Red Deer, Alberta native is very familiar with.
“It’s exciting. It’s been a whirlwind 24 hours. Being from Red Deer, you grow up watching the Oilers and Flames. You’re almost immersed in that battle of Alberta. To be able to go there and be a part of it is certainly exciting,” Fraser said.
Fraser is also familiar with some faces in the Oilers locker room, having played with Luke Gazdic and against Todd Nelson in the minors.
“It’s certainly nice. It’s nice to come in and have that familiarity and know the familiar face there again,” Fraser said by phone on Monday. “It’s nice to be back in the Western Conference and be close to home. Having played against Todd Nelson and some of those guys, it certainly helps to know you’re not walking in all alone. It gives you a little bit more confidence.”
Familiar faces or not, Fraser is just happy to be joining a team who wanted him.
“First and foremost, it was just nice to have the opportunity to be claimed by someone,” he said. “To be put on waivers is not a great feeling and no one likes that feeling. But, at the end of the day, the Oilers took a chance with me and I’m certainly excited about it and excited about the opportunity.”
Fraser says Gazdic was his mentor when he first came into the AHL.