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FUTURE WATCH: The Taylor Beck shuffle

Settled with a new team, Oilers forward prospect Taylor Beck is looking to make an impact with the Bakersfield Condors during the 2016-17 campaign

by Meg Tilley @MegsTilley / EdmontonOilers.com

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"It was a pretty crazy year for me last year."

"Crazy" could even be considered a bit of an understatement when it comes to Oilers forward prospect Taylor Beck's summary of his 2015-16 professional season that saw him traded to three different National Hockey League teams.

Having spent the previous four seasons with the Nashville Predators and their American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate the Milwaukee Admirals, much was about to change for the 25-year-old come July 2015.

"In a short period [of time] I was traded to Toronto in the summer…but ended up going to the [New York] Islanders the first day of training camp," said Beck, who was part of a six-player deal that saw right-winger Michael Grabner go to the Maple Leafs.

It was a stark contrast to his days playing with the Guelph Storm in the Ontario Hockey League, with whom he spent four consistent seasons, recording 267 points (110G, 157A) in 246 games, as well as 14 points (6G, 8A) in 22 post-season games.

Having spent most of the 2015-16 season with the Islanders AHL affiliate, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, Beck recorded 16 goals and 17 assists for 33 points in 46 games.

"The Islanders was a good experience," said Beck. "I was up there for a couple months and got into [a few of] the games and that was fun - had a good group of guys when I was down playing in Connecticut."

The St. Catharines, ON native dressed for two games with New York before he was traded to the Colorado Avalanche, wrapping up the season with their affiliate San Antonio Rampage.

On July 3, the 6-foot-2, 203-pound forward signed a one-year contract with the Oilers organization and has started the 2016-17 season with the affiliate Bakersfield Condors.

"I think we have a really good team," said Beck, who has already made a positive impact among his new teammates, earning one of the team's Alternate Captain positions.

"The last couple of games I think we've played both teams in the back-to-back losses we faced here. But we have a lot of skill, we have great defencemen, great goalies and I think it's going to be a great year."

In 2009, Beck was selected by the Predators in the third round, 70th overall, at the NHL Draft in Montreal, signing a three-year, entry-level contract with Nashville in August 2010.

"It was so exciting for my family and I," he said. "They gave up a lot to get me to the point that I was at. It was the best feeling in the world to finally see all the hard work [pay off] and get drafted to the NHL, that was an unbelievable feeling."

Beck had his first big break in the NHL with the Predators in 2013 after leading the Admirals in scoring - in 50 AHL games he recorded 41 points (11G, 30A) - during the 2012 NHL lockout. He made his debut in March and skated 16 games with Nashville, recording three goals and four assists while averaging 16 minutes of ice-time.

Since then, the power forward has played in 87 NHL games with Nashville and New York, recording 11 goals and 12 assists for 23 points.

One may think it would be hard for the right-shot winger to get accustomed to a new team once again, but for Beck, who could be considered an expert on how to adapt quickly in a new environment, just rolls with the punches and admits that it isn't as daunting a transition as it may sometimes sound.

"Hockey guys, they're great guys," said Beck. "You can get along with pretty much anyone and everyone. You never really run into too many 'bad' hockey players. Everyone is very welcoming and makes it easy for new guys to get along with everyone."

Beck settled into Oilers training camp instantly, embracing all that the Edmonton NHL team, and Rogers Place, had to offer.  

"It was good - it was really good," he said. "Pretty similar to all the other training camps I've been to but there was obviously really stiff competition this year. They have a great [number] of young players and a mixture of some older, more experienced players, and a lot of skill in the organization, a lot of hard work. It was a great experience for sure."

Beck recorded an assist in two pre-season games with the Oilers before heading to Bakersfield for the start of the season, where he's currently averaging a point per game.

If anything, the prospect has gained insight into the process, which has translated into his Alternate Captain role and how he'd like to approach the 2016-17 campaign with his Condors teammates.

"I remember being a 20-year-old going into my first pro season," he said. "It seems like there are always guys that will take you under their wing, show you the way, [how] you've got to handle yourself as a pro - I mean for a lot of guys this is their first time living away from home.

"You've got to learn how to take care of your body and how to treat everyone…The young guys, they're going to come to the rink and some days are going to be rough days, so you've got to make sure you're there for them…that's something I'm really focusing on this year. This is my sixth year of pro - I want to make sure that I'm as welcoming to everyone as I can be and lead by example when at the rink."

A budding power forward, with a willingness to go to the net, Beck has demonstrated his goal-scoring ability at every level and has proven in training camp that he has the ability to be a force to be reckoned with.

"[At camp] I was just trying to get a read on all the systems and the coaches and what they're expecting of us," he said. "I want to be a leader down in Bakersfield [and] hopefully get up [to the NHL again] and get my feet wet. Have an understanding of what we're trying to accomplish right from puck drop and hopefully never look back from there."

With his feet firmly on the ground once more, Beck is ready to shake things up this season in his own way.

CLICK HERE TO VIEW 2016-17 PROSPECT STATS

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