The Oilers pulled the trigger on a trade Monday, which brings a veteran NHL centre with a history of point production to their lineup. The Oilers traded Mark Arcobello to the Nashville Predators, in exchange for Derek Roy.
Roy, 31, has close to 700 NHL games under his belt (692) and has scored 502 points in his career (178-324-502). After playing the bulk of his career in Buffalo, Roy has made stops in Dallas, Vancouver, St. Louis and Nashville. He expects to bring veteran leadership to what he describes is a youthful group of forwards.
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“They have a lot of good, young forwards. It’s an opportunity for me to go in there and show my leadership and play as best I can and help the team any way I can,” Roy said by phone Monday evening. “If it’s late in the game, closing out the game or if it’s killing penalties and scoring goals, I will try to do as much as I can to help the team win hockey games.”
When Roy is at his best, like his 81-point season in 2007-08 with Buffalo, he says it’s because he’s not overthinking the game.
“When I’m out there being a pest and working hard every shift then I stop thinking and I just play the game of hockey,” Roy said. “Things open up for me and things start slowing down. I think when my work ethic comes out, the harder I work and the slower the game is for me. That means the more I can make plays and score goals.”
Roy says although he has remained focused on his team in Nashville this season, he has kept up with the Oilers and their struggles in the standings.
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“It’s a tough situation, but it’s easily changed,” Roy said. “There are a lot of times in a season where there’s something that happens where a big save or big game or somebody goes out and fights, who is usually not a fighter, and it changes the whole season. I think it’s a matter of doing all the small things that helps win hockey games and then move forward from there.”
Roy knows a thing or two about playing competitive hockey. The Ottawa native has appeared in 49 playoff games throughout his career, recording 27 points (7-20-27).
“I’ve got to bring that winning attitude to the ice every night and it’s contagious. Once you start winning it’s a great feeling, then you get a little swagger and then every game you go into you know you’re going to win the game. It’s something I want to bring to this hockey club,” Roy said.
The forward isn’t going to be making epic speeches in the Oilers locker room, or be overly vocal. What he brings to the leadership table is experience and work ethic.
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“Everyone is a leader, in my mind, on the ice. It doesn’t matter what you do. If it’s your work ethic in practice or just the way you prepare for the game or anything. Everyone has got a little leadership in them, you’ve just got to pull it out of them. With me coming in, I’m not a rah-rah kind of guy, I’m more of a go out there and work as hard as I can and win the game, close out the game, do anything I can to win (kind of guy). That’s one leadership quality I can bring.”
The 5-foot-9, 184-pound centre had 10 points (1-9-10) in 26 games for the Predators this season. He admits that he was getting less minutes recently. Coming to the Oilers may be a fresh start to help bolster his offensive numbers.
“There is a ton of skill on the (Oilers), it’s evident every game,” Roy said. “It’s a great opportunity for me to go off and showcase my work ethic and my skill. I think having all those young and skilled players around me is just going to help me and I can help them and then we can move forward and win some hockey games.”