A business decision led to his trade out of Tampa Bay, but Teddy Purcell says he is now ready to make the most of his new hockey home in Edmonton.
“To go to an actual big-time hockey market in Canada is something that every kid in Canada grows up dreaming about,” Purcell said.
The Lightning traded the six-foot-three forward from St. John’s to the Oilers last Sunday.
“I was pretty shocked, to be honest,” Purcell said of the move.
“In this business anything can happen, but you don’t sit around all the time expecting to get traded or speculating all the time because you’ll drive yourself crazy. But when Sunday night rolled around and I got the call from Steve [Yzerman, Tampa Bay’s GM] obviously things changed in a hurry.”
Purcell says Yzerman told him it was a “business move.”
He says he understood the Lightning needed to free up some cap space and bolster their defence in free agency.
In 2012, Purcell inked a three-year contract extension with Tampa Bay worth US$4.5 million annually.
Purcell called it an “unfortunate situation to be caught in the numbers.”
But he says he was glad Yzerman personally called him with the news. The last time he was traded — in 2010, by the Los Angeles Kings — he found out watching television.
Joins other Newfoundlanders working out west
Purcell now joins the legions of his fellow Newfoundlanders moving out west for work.
“You’ve just got to roll with the punches and be ready to embrace the new opportunity,” Purcell said, noting that it’s exciting to move a Canadian market.
'You’ve just got to roll with the punches and be ready to embrace the new opportunity.' - Teddy Purcell
The Oilers have struggled in recent years. They finished dead last in the NHL’s Western Conference last season, and have not made the playoffs since 2005-06.
Purcell says he loves the lifestyle and weather in the southern U.S. and expects to retire there when his hockey days are done, although he also plans to keep a place in Newfoundland.
The 28-year-old has played 401 career NHL games with Tampa Bay and Los Angeles. He has 75 goals and 153 assists for 228 points.
Purcell has 18 points, including seven goals, in 22 playoff games.
The Lightning were eliminated by the Montreal Canadiens in the first round of this year’s playoffs.