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The Edmonton Oilers’ addition of centre Nick Bjugstad in a commerce with the Arizona Coyotes on Thursday makes good sense as a result of he not solely may also help Derek Ryan as a second right-shot man on faceoffs, however he’s costing them nickels and dimes.
Bjugstad is coming right here for $450,000 on the Oilers’ tight-squeeze salary-cap state of affairs with the Coyotes retaining the opposite half of his $900,000 wage — their third and final allowed retention of a contract in a commerce.
For this fiscal thank-you, the Oilers are sending alongside farmhand defenceman Michael Kesselring and their 2023 third-round draft decide for the rental ahead, who has 13 targets and 23 factors in Arizona — his finest offensive season in 5 years. They’re additionally getting defenceman Cam Dineen (Tucson of the AHL) to make up for the lack of Kesselring for his or her Bakersfield farm membership.
Bjugstad was a first-round decide of Florida in 2010 as a result of he was an offensive machine. However he’s bounced round, with a number of accidents via his 599 NHL video games, and he’s now a job participant, enjoying largely centre this yr in Arizona but additionally on right-wing at different stops (he’s additionally performed for Pittsburgh and Minnesota) and embraces it.
That’s why Oilers GM Ken Holland received him.
Additionally, these 13 targets this season.
“He performs centre and right-wing, he’s huge, takes faceoffs, provides us depth,” stated Holland, who could also be completed buying and selling earlier than Friday’s deadline.
Kailer Yamamoto’s season-long harm woes (neck/head) brought about some to surprise if they may search for a high six RW. However Yamamoto doesn’t have a concussion after the wallop from the Toronto Maple Leafs’ Justin Holl Wednesday, and barring a setback, is anticipated to play in opposition to the Winnipeg Jets Friday.
Bjugstad could solely watch. He’s flying right here Friday after getting stuff sorted out in Arizona however isn’t feeling he’ll play, however perhaps in Winnipeg Saturday.
“Individually it’s (Oilers) a superb match. It’s tremendous thrilling for me. I type of refound my recreation this previous yr. In Arizona I used to be capable of finding my footing, received again on the right track just a little bit. I felt I nonetheless had extra within the tank at 30 years outdated.” stated Bjugstad.
Scouts have actually observed how he’s advanced into an all-around participant, strong defensively. With the Oilers, he may be on the fourth line at centre with perhaps Ryan and Klim Kostin, though head coach Jay Woodcroft likes to go 11 and seven with Vincent Desharnais because the seventh D, so not a full complement of 4 strains.
“We’ll have a dialog with the teaching employees and see the place I slot in. Wherever position they need to put me in, is ok. My purpose going into the yr was to re-establish myself,” stated Bjugstad, whose uncle Scott performed almost 500 NHL video games. “I’m undoubtedly extra of a two-way ahead than I used to be after I was youthful. I’m approaching the sport in a different way than after I was 21.”
Perhaps that is the suitable place on the proper time for him.
“I grew up scoring the targets and being relied on (as a highschool star), however as you get to the NHL pyramid it’s a lot more durable to attain. It’s important to adapt,” he stated. “I performed fourth-line right-wing in Minnesota (Wild) and I had by no means had that position earlier than and it taught me about being defensively accountable.”
Whereas Bjugstad did a Zoom name with a blue sky background within the Valley of the Solar Thursday after the commerce, he’s a Minnesota-born man, so he’ll welcome the chilly. He additionally has fond reminiscences of Edmonton twenty years in the past.
“I used to be within the Brick event, spent seven days at West Edmonton Mall … finest seven days of my life as a child. I could have to return to the mall and test it out once more,” he stated.
He’ll be sporting 72 as an Oiler as a result of his 27 is taken by Brett Kulak. Andreas Athanasiou was going to take that quantity, too, when traded from Detroit to the Oilers however came upon it was the Oiler mascot Hunter’s quantity, so modified to twenty-eight.
The 6-foot-6, 209-pound Bjugstad could need to arm-wrestle Hunter for 72 or pay him off.
“Thanks for the heads-up,” he laughed. “My children love mascots.”
The Oilers do have a second-round decide for the June draft in Nashville, however don’t have a first-rounder (given away for Mattias Ekholm), a 3rd or a fourth now, however they’re within the enterprise of successful.
They nonetheless have their fifth, sixth and seventh alternatives.
Totally different story with the Coyotes. They’ve 12 picks this June, and 26 over the subsequent two seasons and earlier received a primary, a second and a third-rounder for defenceman Jakob Chychrun and Shayne Gostisbehere.
They hadn’t been taking any heat, dwell and younger gamers again in trades as a result of the possession is bleeding cash, however they retained on the 30-year-old Bjugstad to get the right-shot D Kesselring.
The Oilers’ 2018 sixth-round draft decide was having a breakout offensive season (13 targets and 22 factors) in Bakersfield, however was clearly caught behind Desharnais on the suitable aspect within the organizational pecking order. And the left-shot Philip Broberg, who may play RD.
When the Oilers received Nashville to retain 4 % of Ekholm’s $6.25-million cap hit, or $250,000 this yr and for 3 extra seasons, it gave them just a little additional to get Bjugstad. Each buck counted.
His subsequent recreation will likely be No. 600.
“Fairly cool, nevertheless it’s extra thrilling that it’s my first recreation as an Oiler.”
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