EDMONTON, AB - From his summer cottage just outside of Halifax, Devin Shore reminisced on his 2020-21 season with the Edmonton Oilers and then recognized what could be in store in Oil Country.
The 26-year-old was invited to the Oilers Training Camp on a professional try-out in December of 2020, transforming the opportunity into a one-year, two-way deal. On Wednesday, he secured a two-year extension, avoiding any uncertainty experienced a season ago.
Video: 1-ON-1 | Devin Shore 06.10.21
"It's been a real journey," Shore, speaking to Oilers TV via Zoom, started. "Last off-season was definitely a stressful one. I was very thankful for the Oilers organization to take a chance on me. I'm really excited about this team and I don't take this job for granted. It's a privilege to play in this League and I'm excited to keep taking steps forward."
Shore proved to be a depth piece with a penchant for penalty killing under Head Coach Dave Tippett, scoring five goals and nine points over 38 games. The Ontario product did not find himself in the lineup every night but did uncover his niche with the club, providing flexibility upfront in his ability to play centre or wing. Shore was also fifth among Oiler forwards in shorthanded time on ice (45:11) and tallied one of the club's two shorthanded goals.
"I was, fortunately, able to carve out a bit of a role," the 6-foot-1, 206-pounder, who possessed a 52.8 faceoff percentage, said. "It's a great dressing room... An exciting group to be part of."
National Hockey League players routinely attribute their success to on-ice confidence and organizational comfort. A second-round selection of the Dallas Stars in the 2012 NHL Draft, Shore moved from Dallas' system to the Anaheim Ducks and then the Columbus Blue Jackets before settling in with the Orange & Blue. The security in the extension is being viewed as a positive.
"It's big for me and my wife to know a little bit of what the immediate future looks like," Shore admitted.
Video: EDM@OTT: Shore deflects in go-ahead goal in the 3rd
"To be able to settle in a little bit and keep building, that's something I'm going to really focus on. As you get to know the guys better and earn your teammates' trust, first and foremost, and then hopefully you earn the coach's trust a bit, the shoulders start to loosen a bit and you start to play your game."
The Oilers were eliminated from the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs after losing four consecutive games to the Winnipeg Jets - three of which spilled into overtime. It was not the result the organization was hoping for but Shore - who appeared in two contests, collecting one assist - is using the setback as encouragement.
"Nobody in our whole organization foresaw that one coming," he said. "It will be good to use that as motivation. Add fuel to the fire to come back hungry."
Shore plans on enjoying downtime in Nova Scotia before heading back home to Ontario for summer training. The 326-game NHL veteran will then continue his journey as a returning member of the Edmonton Oilers.
"I love the group and I really believe in the team. I'm sure every Oilers fan knows there's a lot more to bring on the ice."