The Edmonton Oilers executed a trade Sunday evening to send centre Sam Gagner
to the Tampa Bay Lightning in exchange for big winger Teddy Purcell
“I was in shock right away,” Purcell said on Oilers Now Monday. “Sometimes with trades you kind of sense something is coming. I kind of figured that if anything was coming it might happen at the draft. I was just hanging out and planning what I was going to do for dinner and then I got the call from (Tampa Bay Vice President and General Manager) Steve Yzerman.”
After the dust settled and the news soaked in, Purcell had a chance to let the excitement about joining Edmonton take the shock’s place.
“I’m fortunate to end up in a spot like Edmonton where I’m a top-six forward, I like to make plays and there is some high-end, elite talent on that team. Whoever the coach feels I’ll fit with, I think I could be a good fit early.”
Described as a skilled puck-possession forward, Purcell also adds size to the Oilers roster.
“He’s got good hands, he’s a good skater, he’s got good size, can play on the power play, he’s had some really good success in the NHL, including that run that Tampa Bay had a few years ago,” Oilers Vice President of Hockey Operations Scott Howson said, also joining Oilers Now on Monday. “In the playoffs, he was really good. I think that’s what we’re getting. I don’t think we’re getting an overly physical player or an abrasive player. I think he’s more of a skilled player that has some size and can skate.”
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Purcell, 28, is 6’3’’ and 203 pounds. While upgrading the size of the forward group, he also adds a scoring punch.
The winger has played 401 regular season games in the NHL with the Los Angeles Kings and the Lightning since, scoring 228 points (75-153-228). During the 2011 playoffs, Purcell finished third on the Lightning in scoring with 17 points (6-11-17) in 18 games.
His best NHL season was 2011-12, where he scored 65 points (24-41-65) in 81 games in Tampa Bay. He’s had some success at the NHL level but it’s his puck possession game that he prides himself on the most.
“I really like to handle the puck and make plays and puck possession is one of my strengths," the winger said. "I feel when I do that and have the puck a lot then I’m making plays. I’m into the game, I’m involved and I’m not chasing the puck as much. I’m not having to win as many battles because you’re in control and you feel the confidence.”
Heading to Edmonton gives Purcell a chance to gain back that confidence and production he had during the 2011-12 season.
“The big thing with me is that when I’ve struggled the last couple of years it has been a confidence thing. You’re not getting as much ice time and your opportunity dwindles a little bit. I’d like to take advantage up in Edmonton early like I did in Tampa a couple of years ago.”
Growing up, Purcell says his dream of making it to the NHL seemed out of reach. But not only has he made it to the NHL but he now has a chance to continue his career with the Oilers.