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FEATURE: Brodziak back with Oilers

Alberta product and free agent signee Kyle Brodziak returns to the organization that he started his NHL career with

by Paul Gazzola /

EDMONTON, AB - Kyle Brodziak is coming back to Alberta as a member of the Oilers.

The former St. Louis Blues forward - who was drafted by Edmonton in the seventh round (214th-overall) of the 2003 NHL Draft - made the call to rejoin the Oilers organization on Sunday, the first day of NHL Free Agency. The centre divulged why he wanted to come back to Alberta, which begins with his family.

Video: OILERS TODAY | Free Agency Day

"One, for myself and my family," Brodziak, a native of St. Paul, AB, said via phone. "To be able to stay closer to home and play closer to home. We have a lot of family and friends around and we value that part of that life. To be able to stick around close with our young boys close to home, it's pretty important to us."

The second reason factors in the complexion of the Oilers roster, which Brodziak finds promising.

"On the team side, when you look at the team and the potential for the team is what excites me the most," he said. "Last year was a down year but you look at the roster and the players that the Oilers have. The potential for something special to happen is exciting for me personally."

Brodziak, 34, was traded from the Oilers to the Minnesota Wild along with a sixth-round pick on June 27, 2009, by then-general manager Steve Tambellini. Edmonton received 2009 fourth- and fifth-round selections as part of the deal.

Since the trade, the 6-foot-2, 209-pound pivot has paved a lengthy career for himself, playing six seasons with the Wild and three with the Blues.

Video: AUDIO | Kyle Brodziak Interview

The decision to come to Edmonton now, nine years and 672 career NHL games later, just made sense.

"When I got traded away from Edmonton to go to Minnesota, looking back on it, it was a pretty good opportunity to establish myself as an everyday NHL player," Brodziak, who's tallied 123 goals and 287 points in his career, said. "My game has grown in a lot of different areas over that time. Individually I've grown and as a person, I've grown.

"The timing to come back here seems like a pretty good fit. That's something that excites me quite a bit."

Oilers President of Hockey Operations and General Manager Peter Chiarelli said there are components Brodziak adds to the lineup.

Video: RAW | Peter Chiarelli Free Agency Avail

"We added to size, leadership and to faceoffs with Brodziak," Chiarelli said. "Walking down here, there's obviously an Edmonton legacy with both those players (Rieder and Brodziak.) That didn't really mean anything to me other than the fact that they fit some needs that we had.

"They were coming in at a good time for us, as far as the cap goes, and for them as far as the opportunity goes."

Brodziak assured he feels comfortable slotting in as a depth centre, able to provide support on the PK, in the dot as well as a veteran presence in the room. He'll do so with a sense of belief that he can help this roster get back on track in whatever way he's asked.

"The potential I feel for the lineup is very high. Whatever situation presents itself, I feel I can help out with that aspect of it."

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