BUFFALO, NY - For Josh Currie, it's been a long time coming.
The 26-year-old has made an impact for the Oilers recording points in two straight outings, including his first multi-point game in the NHL. But his road to the show was a path less traveled.
Currie captained the QMJHL's Prince Edward Island Rocket in 2012-13 in his fourth and final season of major junior hockey. He scored 104 points (49G, 55A) in 68 games that season.
However, throughout his junior career, Currie never heard his name called at the NHL Draft. Soon after his time with the Rocket, he signed a minor-league contract and slowly began to make his way up the ranks.
Nearly six years later and after playing 391 games in Gwinnett (ECHL), Norfolk (ECHL) and Bakersfield (AHL/ECHL), the Charlottetown, P.E.I product earned his first NHL call-up on Feb. 18.
"It's hard to put into words. I've worked so hard for this," said a humbled Currie on his first day with the club. "As a kid, what I dreamed about doing is playing in the NHL. It's hard to put into words and I'm super excited to be here.
"It really is a dream come true."
In his first NHL game, Currie saw only eight shifts and 5:25 of ice time. Yet, he continued to be one of the last players to leave the ice during practices as he meticulously worked on his craft.
Gradually, the 5-foot-10 winger earned an increased responsibility, including powerplay time, as he eventually rewarded Head Coach Ken Hitchcock by scoring his first NHL goal on Feb. 23.
"When you're a smart and competitive player, you find your level and you can usually find your spot in the NHL," said Hitchcock following Sunday's practice in Buffalo. "He's been a smart, competitive player for a long time and he's been given a chance here.
"He's in the game, he's playing and he's helping us."
Currently, Currie has helped the Oilers earn back-to-back victories and points in six of the team's last seven games (4-1-2).
In Thursday's win over the Senators, the forward picked up the puck and showed his offensive awareness, feeding a streaking Colby Cave behind the Ottawa defence. Cave buried his first goal with the Oilers on the play.
It was Currie's second assist of the night and marked his first multi-point game in the NHL.
"He works hard and he goes to the hard areas," said Alex Chiasson following the Oilers win against the Senators on Thursday. "You can't teach that in this league. Either you play on the perimeter or you play inside. He plays inside and we need guys like that.
"Hats off to him. He's come in and he's done his job. He's contributing to the success of the team and he brings an energy level we need."
In Columbus, Currie deflected a Draisaitl pass to beat Sergei Bobrovsky, giving Edmonton an important insurance marker at the time. His goal helped the Oilers earn a second straight win and bring a playoff position within reach by game's end.
Now with two goals and two assists in his first seven NHL games, Currie continues to keep an even keel by focusing on the present and "the things only (he) can control."
"I'm just trying to take it one day at a time here," said Currie at KeyBank Center following Sunday's practice. "Obviously, it's nice to score and chip in. I'm just trying to go to the dirty areas and the puck seems to find me there.
"I'm going to keep doing that and I'm going to continue playing my game."
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