Defenceman Kurtis Foster joins the Oilers after registering 42 points & 48 penalty minutes with Tampa Bay last season. (Photo courtesy of Getty Images)
Less than a week after making a big splash at the NHL Entry Draft by selecting Taylor Hall
first overall, the Oilers kept their manoeuvres short and sweet the day unrestricted free agents came on the market.
Four hours after the bidding began, GM Steve Tambellini announced that the club has agreed to terms with defenceman Kurtis Foster. Foster, 28, towers over the competition and makes them cower with his snapshot, possessing the size and skill needed on Edmonton's blue line.
Although he admits that he was hoping to be re-signed by Tampa Bay, Foster says that he's thrilled to join the Oilers and to play in a real die-hard hockey market.
"Being a Canadian kid, you always want to play for a Canadian team and I always remember having my Oilers jersey as a kid growing up," he said to the Team 1260's Bob Stauffer. "I kind of couldn't turn it down. It's a great opportunity and I'm just really excited to be part of this building of hopefully a strong franchise for a long time to come."
The Carp, Ontario native sees a bright future for the Oilers, but it wasn't so long ago that own NHL future was in doubt. While playing for Minnesota in March 2008, Foster was hit behind the net and broke his left femur.
It was a serious injury that kept him out of hockey for nearly 11 months. Despite the setback, Foster proved he was back on top of his game by registering 42 points and 48 penalty minutes in 71 games with the Lightning last season.
"I think a lot of people questioned whether I'd be able to come back," Foster said. "To be able to come back and put up the season I did this year, it just showed not just me but everybody in the NHL that I could still do it, which made me pretty excited going into free agency this year."
Tambellini admires the likeable defenceman's spirit and drive.
"That shows great determination and a will to get him back to that level," the GM said. "This is the best that he's probably played. I think that says a lot about the person."FRASER SIGNS ON
|Colin Fraser |
Foster isn't the only player the Oilers inked Thursday. One week after acquiring Colin Fraser from Chicago, Tambellini announced that they have agreed to terms with the 25-year-old forward.
"Good for him and good for us," Tambellini commented. "We're looking forward to having him, that type of compete and grit that he's shown playing in Alberta here as a junior and also what he did in Chicago.
"He's been around good young people, has a reputation of a great teammate, and I like that a lot, especially with some of our young players that are going to be here. So I look forward to seeing him in our lineup and it's great that we get a deal done right away."