BLOG: Bjugstad excited by trade call to Edmonton


EDMONTON, AB – As the NHL Trade Deadline approaches, Nick Bjugstad finally got the call I was hoping for.

“I was napping with my daughter when my wife told me (Arizona’s general manager) that Bill Armstrong was calling. She thought it was worth waking up my two-year-old and I from that nap, so yes, it was good news,” Bjugstad said in a virtual media conference on Thursday afternoon.

“I’m definitely super excited to be here with the Oilers and (they were) definitely a team I was hoping to get a call from, so just loads of excitement on my part and I can’t wait to see myself.” Join the boys and try to help this team win a Stanley Cup.”

Bjugstad was acquired by the Coyotes on Thursday along with defender Cam Dineen in exchange for a 2023 third-round pick and defender Michael Kesselring.

The former Coyotes forward says he’s grateful for the chance to resume his game with Arizona after signing a one-year, $900,000 deal during the offseason, but the allure of joining a competitor — let alone that Connor McDavid And Leon Draisaitl — was too enchanting an option to pass up.

“(Edmonton) obviously has a lot of skill with these guys and they’re tough to play against so it’s going to be fun to be on the same page as these guys. I personally think it suits me well,” Bjugstad called. “I kind of rediscovered my game over the past year. I got thrown a bit off course and felt like I still had more in the tank even though I was only 30 years old. I’ve had a good opportunity to get back into something doing something here in Arizona and it’s been a good season so far, but I feel like I have more to give personally and I definitely want to be part of a playoff-caliber team.”

Video: RAW | Nick Bjugstad 2/3/23

The 30-year-old had made a solid contribution to a struggling Coyotes roster this season with 13 goals and 10 assists in 59 games. Additionally, he led the Coyotes in plus/minus with a plus-7 rating and was one of only three forwards to be on the positive side of the ledger.

Bjugstad, drafted 19th overall in 2010, said he must learn to contribute defensively alongside his obvious attacking talents. His size, combined with his versatile ability to move up and down the Oilers lineup and move from either middle or right wing, make him an intriguing pawn for head coach Jay Woodcroft all the way.

“I grew up scoring the goals and who you can count on. The smaller the pyramid gets, the higher you climb through the ranks, the harder it is to score and anyone can score once you’re in the NHL,” Bjugstad said of his defensive growth. “For me, it’s just the ability to adapt. In my role in Minnesota in recent years, I played fourth-line right wing and never really had that role. I think it taught me some other things about being defensively responsible.”

Bjugstad comes from a hockey first family. His father, Mike Bjugstad, played at the varsity level while his uncle played over 300 NHL games. Nick’s hockey ties to Edmonton stretch way back to when he was a kid, and his fondest youth hockey memory is tied to the city.

“I went to The Brick Tournament as a kid. I spent seven days in this mall, it was the seven best days of my life as a kid,” Bjugstad said. “I think that was a highlight for me, so maybe I need to go back to West Edmonton Mall and check it out again.”

@EdmontonOilers tweet: New number for Nick ������

It’s already confirmed that Bjugstad will wear the number 72 for the Oilers when they debut in Blue & Orange – a game that also happens to be their 600th in the National Hockey League. The forward is due to fly to Edmonton on Friday morning but doesn’t think he will play the Winnipeg Jets that night.

However, there is another Oiler currently wearing the number 72 jersey, team mascot Hunter the Lynx. It’s unknown if this will cause tension in the dressing room between the Wildcat and the Oilers’ latest deadline acquisition, but Bjugstad vows to make things right.

“Oh man, I might need to talk to him. I know they (mascots) don’t talk but yeah I didn’t know that. Someone should have pointed this out to me,” he joked. “I was number 27 for most of my career, so I just flopped number 27. But yes, we have to come up with something. My daughter’s love mascots, so I need to show some love I guess.”

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