EDMONTON, AB - Just an hour and a half before the team hosted the Vegas Golden Knights for the first time in franchise history, the Edmonton Oilers announced a trade, swapping forwards with the Los Angeles Kings.
Going to California is Jussi Jokinen, coming back to the Oil is NHL veteran forward Michael Cammalleri.
"We made this trade to improve our shooting," said Oilers President of Hockey Operations and General Manager Peter Chiarelli. "Mike has always been an effective offensive player with his shot and offensive ability. At the end of the day, improving our offense will obviously take a collective effort, but Mike will be given an opportunity to help improve it."
The Oilers have made it known in recent weeks that their secondary scoring hasn't been where they either expect it or need it to be. Cammalleri brings with him a history of providing offence to his teams, with 290 career NHL goals and more than 600 points in 855 career regular season games for the Kings, Calgary Flames, Montreal Canadiens and New Jersey Devils.
For Cammalleri, this is his third trade since entering the NHL and it's one he had a sense might be coming.
It wasn't unexpected, actually," said Cammalleri, who had three goals and four assists in 15 games for the Kings this season. "Just the way things were filtering out here, it seems like it might have made sense."
Even expecting a trade might come, it has still been a whirlwind afternoon and evening for the veteran. He's happy he's going to a team with a lot of talent that he's eager to help win some games.
"The last couple of hours have went quick," the forward said. "I'm excited to go there and have an opportunity to play. I feel great. I want to enjoy playing the game and Edmonton is a team that's pretty exciting to join. I know it hasn't been the start they were looking for, but it's a team that can honestly be as good as it wants to be. I'm looking forward to it."
For Cammalleri, he won't be an unfamiliar face in a few corners of the Oilers dressing room. He played with Adam Larsson in New Jersey, he skated with Kris Russell in Calgary and he trained with Darnell Nurse in the summer.
"I think it (helps having familiarity)," he said. "It's something I've had experience with prior."
Cammalleri hasn't received much information or direction on what his expected role will be with his new organization, as he had only a brief trade call with Chiarelli before the Oilers dropped the puck in Edmonton. He's travelling to his new city on Wednesday to join the club and will be able to get his legs under him a bit more.
When he lands, it will be on familiar soil. Cammalleri played 222 games for the Oilers provincial rival.
"My take on the people of Alberta, in general, is that they're extremely passionate about hockey but they're also some of the kindest people you'll ever meet in your life," he said. "I look forward to getting back there, this time having the support of (Oilers fans)."
As he takes the next step in his career, Cammalleri hopes the Oilers take their next step with him.
"It's a team that's ready to go on the upswing here, hopefully, and play real good hockey," he said. "They've got some of the best players in the world."