Former Edmonton Oiler Drake Caggiula says he has found himself ‘more comfortable’ with the Chicago Blackhawks after a two and a half season stint with the Oilers.
Former Oilers website reporter Chris Westcott, now with the Blackhawks in a similar role, chatted with Caggiula following a practice Thursday.
“I feel a lot more comfortable right now than I did before,” Caggiula told Wescott.
“I think just the calmness of the organization and I feel like I have a comfortability with them just going back to my college days.”
Caggiula, of course, was traded to Chicago on Dec. 29 after playing 156 games in an Oilers uniform in exchange for Brandon Manning. The North Dakota University player scored 49 points in his time in the blue and orange.
One thing is clear from the first set of quotes — there was a lack of comfort for him in Edmonton and not only that, but he begins to paint a picture of an organization that is chaotic.
He goes on to say that the Blackhawks were an organization that was coveting his services when he was a free agent. That was clear after a report from 670 The Score’s Jay Zawaki in 2016.
“The [Blackhawks] tried really hard to recruit me here and when they called me they reiterated over and over how they traded for me because of the player I am and they don’t want to change who I am as a player,” said Caggiula.
“I think I was maybe walking on eggshells trying to please certain people and all that certain stuff. Now I’m forgetting all about that and just playing hockey again. I got a fresh start here in a new organization and I’m able to just come in with a clear mind and play hockey without having to think. That’s making it a lot easier for me.”
Caggiula saying he was looking to please certain persons in the OEG while feeling as if he was walking on eggshells are interesting comments and not necessarily a good look for the Edmonton Oilers. He could, too, be referring to the awkward time post-trade before he arrived in Chicago that forced him to practice with the Sherwood Park Crusaders.
The remainder of Wescott’s article talk about him joining the Blackhawks and how their head coach Jeremy Colliton likes Caggiula’s “energy and… really high compete level.”
Now, Caggiula was no darling in Edmonton. He certainly got the eye of analysts, fans and the team with his often streaky play.
Despite that, he began to come into his own in his third NHL season scoring seven goals and four assists in 29 games with Edmonton.
He reached a career-high in average time on ice, playing just over 14 minutes a game and posted some of his best analytic numbers of his career.
Caggiula wasn’t a world burner in Edmonton, but as I wrote when the deal happened, I wasn’t (and still am not) a fan of the deal.
Beyond all of that, the comments made by Caggiula paint a bleak picture of the Edmonton Oilers organization — one that few seem to be high on anymore.
On Twitter: @zjlaing