Meet Teddy Purcell

Jason Gregor
July 09 2014 11:01AM

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**Picture courtesy of Baggedmilk**

Who is Teddy Purcell?

When the Oilers acquired him from Tampa Bay for Sam Gagner, much of the focus centered around Gagner. It was understandable considering how hotly Gagner's value and contribution has been debated over the years, but now that he is no longer an Oiler, let's look at Purcell.

When I spoke to Purcell over the phone he admitted he was shocked when he got traded. He didn't expect a trade, but after it set in he said he is very excited about the move.

It was refreshing to hear a Canadian player say he is excited about the opportunity to play in Canada.

"I think that every kid growing up in Canada always wanted to play, experience what it was like to play in the NHL in Canada," said Purcell.

"And that’s no disrespect to the organizations that I’ve played in the past, LA or Tampa, but I mean it’s just a pretty obvious statement that hockey is Canada’s game up there and like you say, there is more attention and there’s a little bit more pressure. It’s something that I’m ready to embrace and experience," continued Purcell.

I hope he never losses that attitude. I'm sick and tired of hearing players complain that Canadian markets are tough to play in. You make millions of dollars to play a game, and even when the team is losing the fans still show up and cheer on their team. It isn't that tough.

Canada had six of the worst ten teams in the league last year, yet the fans still came out in droves. The majority of fans are great to the players. They idolize them. Instead of worrying about the loudmouth who yells, "you suck" when they are walking across the street, or the clueless person who interrupts them at dinner, the players and their organizations need to realize how lucky they are to have so many fans who continue to support them despite their losing ways.

Okay, enough of my rant on playing in Canada, let's get back to Purcell.

WHERE DOES HE LIKE TO PLAY

He has played both wings, but which position he is most comfortable playing?

"I always made a joke when Marty St. Louis was on our team that whatever game that he was feeling, which wing he didn’t want to play, I played the other one. For a couple of years I was bouncing around a lot, but I’m pretty much a right winger. I grew up playing there my whole life and that’s where I’m most comfortable, but at the same time I can always switch over to the left. It’s just a little bit different," said Purcell.

Switching wings in the NHL isn't as easy as some think. Many players have struggled moving to the other side. Purcell admitted he prefers the right and talked about the challenges when he moves to the left side.

"I think just coming back in your own zone. When I'm back checking I always tend to go to the right hand side. I feel like sometimes it’s easier to pick up pucks when you’re breaking out and you kind of go low gear, [give your] defencemen some support and you can get under your forehand.

"When you go on your left wing you have to take it on your backhand. You need to go down lower in the zone to receive it on your forehand. It’s not a huge adjustment, it’s just a couple of things to get used to and I find I have to think about it a bit more," explained Purcell.

Often if a player is thinking too much they end up not being in the right spot. His explanation of needing to get lower in the zone to receive the puck on his backhand was a perfect example of making a player get out of his comfort zone. It might only be an extra stride to get in position, but then he has to accept the pass on his backhand, and even for NHL players, if you don't practice that regularly, it can be a challenge.

Purcell, Jordan Eberle and Nail Yakupov should be the right wingers, while Taylor Hall, David Perron and Benoit Pouliot can patrol the left side. Perron, Purcell and Yakupov might switch for the odd shift or for a game, but when all of them are healthy it would make sense to let them play where they are most comfortable.

COACHING CHANGE

eakins WHISTLE

Purcell scored 51 points in 2011, 65 in 2012 and he had 36 points in 48 games in 2013, which prorates to 61 in a full season. But last year, the Lightning had a new head coach in Jon Cooper and Purcell's production dipped to 42 points. Cooper did coach 16 games in 2013, but he really took charge last season.

Cooper made some changes to his lineup, Purcell never seemed to fit into his scheme, and he struggled to produce under Cooper.

"I just don’t think that I found my consistency as well as I had in the previous three years. With a new coach coming in you always want to get off on the right foot and have him believe in you right away and that didn’t happen. I started on the third line and bounced around all year, and I didn’t really find a good fit like I had in the past. I think that I just couldn’t get out of that little funk and my numbers showed that.

"It’s unfortunate how it worked out, but this trade means a new opportunity for me. I think I’m going to get a bit more ice and more opportunity like I had in the past here in Tampa and hopefully I can take advantage of that," Purcell said.

He has a clean slate with Eakins, but I asked Purcell if he learned how to communicate with a new coach and if he'll do anything to get his new coach in Edmonton to believe in him.

"It’s always important to have an open door and good communication skills through the player and the coach. I’m not a player that’s going to be always talking to the coach, or always needing to be talking to the coach whether I'm playing well or if I'm struggling.

"I think it’s just important to get off to a really good start the first couple of games. It tells the coach that you’re responsible defensively, you’re not making careless plays and turning the puck over at the wrong times of the game. If you do that, you can slowly build a trust and with that trust he’s going to keep giving you opportunity and that builds the confidence and then you just roll with it," said the undrafted forward.

STYLE OF PLAY

Point totals and possession stats can give us an idea of how a player plays, but I enjoy asking a player about their strengths and weaknesses. Purcell stands 6' 3" and weighs 203 pounds, which makes him the biggest (combined height and weight) top-nine forward in Edmonton. However, don't expect him to be a physical presence. That isn't his game.

He talked about his strengths, and also how his game matches up in the bigger western conference.

"I wouldn’t say that I’m the best along the boards. I think the strength of my game is mainly my hands, and I like to work in tight corners in front of the net, so it (playing in the west) shouldn't be that different. Every team in the league is so good and it’s such a hard league to be successful in every year. I think that it (trade) will just make me push that extra little bit."

Most players will always give you an honest assessment of their game. You have to play to your strengths, and obviously every player has to battle along the boards, but Purcell believes he is more effective in tight spaces in the middle of the ice.

He has also been a solid producer on the powerplay the past four seasons.


ES Goals PP goals ES pts PP pts
2014 9 3 25 17
2013 8 3 23 13
2012 16 8 46 19
2011 14 3 30 21


He was 4th amongst Tampa players in PP points in 2011, 2nd in 2012 and 3rd in 2013 and 2014. Where does he like to set up and what aspect of his game works well on the man advantage?

"I like to be patient with the puck and let the other person make the first move defensively," said Purcell.

"You are trying to create those little two on ones all over the ice and that’s something that I noticed when, and I didn’t watch a whole lot of Edmonton games because of the time difference to be honest, but when I did, you really notice how skilled they are on the power play and how those guys can make plays. So wherever I do end up fitting in there, it’s going to be fun to try to take advantage of that because that’s something that I really pride myself on."

The Oilers PP needs a shooter, Nikitin might fill that void, and they need a net-front presence. Purcell and Perron could fill that role. The Oilers have enough skilled forwards to have two competitive PP units and Purcell's history suggests he can be productive on the man advantage.

It is too early to tell who Purcell will play with, but could we see him play with Leon Draisaitl and Benoit Pouliot? If MacTavish signs or trades for a veteran centre I could see Yakupov and Perron play with the veteran, while Draisaitl gets flanked by the newest Oilers. I don't see a situation where Yakupov and Draisaitl should play together. They'd get eaten up on the road.

Regardless of where Purcell plays he plans on arriving in Edmonton before training camp.

"I don’t want to go into camp with a hundred things on my agenda. I want to go out and look for a place and get a car, cell phone and stuff like that. Then when I go to camp I will have a clear mind. I don’t want to have any distractions; I want to get off on a strong note. I’ll probably head out in the next month, maybe and check out the city a bit and get acclimated as best I can."

It shouldn't take long for Purcell to understand and experience the passion of Oilersnation. Make him feel comfortable in Edmonton, and hopefully his excitement of coming to a hockey markets lasts throughout his career.

Recently by Jason Gregor:  

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One of Canada's most versatile sports personalities. Jason hosts The Jason Gregor Show, weekdays from 2 to 6 p.m., on TSN 1260, and he writes a column every Monday in the Edmonton Journal. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/JasonGregor
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#51 clyde
July 09 2014, 05:16PM
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The Soup Fascist wrote:

Not everyone is ... ummm .... motivated to get cross checked by 230 lb defenseman or have shots zinging by their ears. That's what made Smytty a beauty.

Does Purcell have the stones to take the beating? Not sure. I didn't watch enough Tampa games to see if he was a perimeter player or a bloody nose type of guy. Scuttlebut since the trade is the former. Anyone have any thoughts?

P.S. I have to admit that the missing teeth give me hope.

As Purcell said, he is more of a perimeter player. Do not expect anything physical from him as his 13 hits last year indicate. He is a pass first player with very good vision and can play the pp. One of the best descriptions I heard of him was he was the type of player that can help a team make the playoffs but he won't help you in the playoffs.

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#52 Mujidog
July 09 2014, 06:22PM
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He said that he can play both wings, but then goes on to say that he prefers the right.

He calls himself "Teddy", but his real name seems to be "Edward".

What the hell is going on here? I DO NOT TRUST THIS GUY AT ALL!

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#53 Zarny
July 09 2014, 06:35PM
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The Last Big Bear wrote:

Well, the editorializing aside, the question of "What's wrong with this guy if TB was willing to trade him for Sam Gagner?" is a valid one.

Whether you think they were right or not, Tampa viewed Gagner as a liability, but still felt that even this negative-value asset was an upgrade on Teddy Purcell.

They chose to pay millions of dollars and NOT have a player, rather than keep Purcell.

It also speaks to Purcell's value around the league. Given that Yzerman was willing to pay millions of dollars to make Purcell go away, one can only assume that Purcell was also available "free to a good home", and nobody bit.

Sometimes this kind of thing happens to good players. It happened to Grabovski recently.

But it's a valid question to ask "Why couldn't Tampa even get rid of this guy for "future considerations"?

The drivel about a "negative-value asset" is cute.

If Gagner actually was a "negative-value asset" Tampa Bay would have had to retain not 1/3 of his salary, but 4/3 or 5/4 of his salary.

They would have to compensate Phx above Gagner's salary to cover the loss.

That's what "negative-value" actually means.

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#54 Lowe blows
July 09 2014, 07:01PM
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@Zarny

Maybe not negative, but what's the value of a 6th round pick. Maybe not negative, but definitely a giveaway asset

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#55 Oliveoiler
July 09 2014, 07:35PM
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Mujidog wrote:

He said that he can play both wings, but then goes on to say that he prefers the right.

He calls himself "Teddy", but his real name seems to be "Edward".

What the hell is going on here? I DO NOT TRUST THIS GUY AT ALL!

Lighten up you idiot. My husband's name is Edmund, has been called Teddy since he was a kid. Purcell's name has NO RELEVANCE to his ability or his trust-worthiness. Get a life and back off. We certainly don't need "fans" like you.

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#56 Garnish
July 09 2014, 08:09PM
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@Oliveoiler

I think you're the one that needs to lighten up. Pretty obvious he was trying to be funny.

The type of fans we don't need have sticks up there arse and take everything so serious

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#57 Max
July 09 2014, 09:03PM
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Garnish wrote:

I think you're the one that needs to lighten up. Pretty obvious he was trying to be funny.

The type of fans we don't need have sticks up there arse and take everything so serious

And who pissed in your cornflakes this morning?

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#58 Harry
July 09 2014, 11:36PM
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Zarny wrote:

Welcome to the sh*t show Teddy!

And by that he means the Nation where clowns like Zarny and Gold Gloves Ballet whine and cry all the time

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#59 Hockeyfan
July 10 2014, 01:48AM
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Mujidog wrote:

He said that he can play both wings, but then goes on to say that he prefers the right.

He calls himself "Teddy", but his real name seems to be "Edward".

What the hell is going on here? I DO NOT TRUST THIS GUY AT ALL!

That was pretty funny. Even better that the majority of numnutzed Oiler fans didn't get it.

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#60 Joe Mamma
July 10 2014, 07:27AM
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The Last Big Bear wrote:

Well, the editorializing aside, the question of "What's wrong with this guy if TB was willing to trade him for Sam Gagner?" is a valid one.

Whether you think they were right or not, Tampa viewed Gagner as a liability, but still felt that even this negative-value asset was an upgrade on Teddy Purcell.

They chose to pay millions of dollars and NOT have a player, rather than keep Purcell.

It also speaks to Purcell's value around the league. Given that Yzerman was willing to pay millions of dollars to make Purcell go away, one can only assume that Purcell was also available "free to a good home", and nobody bit.

Sometimes this kind of thing happens to good players. It happened to Grabovski recently.

But it's a valid question to ask "Why couldn't Tampa even get rid of this guy for "future considerations"?

Because it was a salary dump. Pretty simple really.

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#61 Spydyr
July 10 2014, 08:49AM
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Gagner is gone.His true worth was shown.What is not to like?

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#62 The Last Big Bear
July 10 2014, 12:31PM
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Zarny wrote:

The drivel about a "negative-value asset" is cute.

If Gagner actually was a "negative-value asset" Tampa Bay would have had to retain not 1/3 of his salary, but 4/3 or 5/4 of his salary.

They would have to compensate Phx above Gagner's salary to cover the loss.

That's what "negative-value" actually means.

You have no idea what you're talking about.

Negative value player contracts is a commonly used term in sports economics, and you have zero idea what it means.

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#63 HARLIE
July 10 2014, 01:46PM
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Alvin

Simon

THEODORE!!

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