Photo credit:© Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
On this day in 2015, the Edmonton Oilers acquired goaltender Anders Nilsson
7 months ago
On this day in 2015, the Edmonton Oilers acquired goaltender Anders Nilsson from the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for forward Liam Coughlin.
When it comes to goaltenders in the history of the Oilers, the Edmonton market sure has seen its fair share of netminders who have graced the team’s crease over the years. Nilsson, a Luala, Sweden native, is an example of just another who had the opportunity to prove himself between the pipes, but fizzled out.
After being drafted 62nd overall in 2009, the 2011-12 season marked Nilsson’s transition into North America, as he made his NHL debut with the New York Islanders. After two years of battling to crack a roster spot in Long Island, his rights traded to the Chicago Blackhawks, and signing with Kazan of the KHL, the netminder was finally given a chance to become a regular in an NHL lineup in 2014-15 when he was traded to the City of Champions.
The hope was that in acquiring the 25-year-old, the team would begin to see a confidence shift in their presence in the goal crease, something they’d been struggling with in the past years. It wouldn’t be easy breezy for the goaltender; he’d face tough competition for the starting position, as Cam Talbot had arrived with the Oilers just weeks before.
When the regular season dawned on the Oilers, Nilsson started with the better goals-against average and a .953 save percentage in his first two starts of the year. The two continued to battle out the friendly competition. Still, Talbot began to shine as number one as the team progressed further into the season. Despite the increased competition, Nilsson remained a daunting backup, giving stability whenever needed. In 26 games played, he maintained a .901 save percentage.
As the season unfolded, the netminder’s goals-against average began to increase to 3.14, the highest in his career. The Oilers began to rely more heavily on Talbot. They even gave Laurent Brossiot the nod to back up the Oilers’ number one. In late February 2016, the organization decided to make another goaltending decision swapping Nilsson for Niklas Lundstrom from the St. Louis Blues. The Oilers also acquired a fifth-round pick in 2016 (Graham McPhee) in the deal.
After leaving the Oilers, Nilsson went on to play for a handful of other NHL teams, including the Blues, Buffalo Sabres, Vancouver Canucks, and Ottawa Senators.
Coughlin was the fifth-round pick 130th overall in 2014 by the Oilers, he never dressed for an NHL game, and last season played 52 games for the Worcester Railers of the ECHL, scoring 10 goals and 22 points.
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