Sunday, February 28, 2016

Nilsson happy to join Blues

Goalie traded for as insurance until Elliott returns has no expectations

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Anders Nilsson's season with the Edmonton Oilers was pretty much going like the team's down the stretch.

The Oilers were out of the Stanley Cup playoff chase, Nilsson's name had come up in recent trade rumors of him possibly moving on.

And even though he was traded to the Blues early Saturday morning for minor league goalie Niklas Lundstrom and one of the Blues' two fifth-round picks in this summer's NHL Draft, the 6-foot-5, 229-pount Lulea, Sweden native goes from formally ending the season in April to joining the playof chase with the Blues.
(Edmonton Oilers photo)
Goalie Anders Nilsson was acquired on Saturday.

"It came as a little surprise," Nilsson said Sunday before the Blus defeated Carolina 5-2. "I was scheduled to play against Anaheim (Friday) and I was told not to play and then I kind of figured out that something was going on. I got the news after the game that I was traded here. I jumped on the plane and got to Carolina yesterday. I'm excited to be a part of the Blues. It's been a little bit of a whirlwind the past 24 hours here, but it's very fun to be here."

Nilsson, 25, has played in 26 games for the Edmonton Oilers this season; he was 10-12-2 with a 3.14 goals-against average and a .901 save-percentage. Nilsson was drafted by the New York Islanders in 2009 and has played in 49 career regular season games, going 19-21-4 with a 3.10 GAA and .900 save percentage.

"I got very excited because it's a very good organization, a very good team," Nilsson said of the Blues. "It's a team that's aiming to get better improve and be in a good place for the playoffs. I got excited to come here. Hopefully I can contribute. 

"It's probably one of the most fun hockey you can play. You want to be in the playoffs and play for a playoff team. I got very excited when I heard it was the Blues that traded for me. I'm excited to be here, excited to be a part of the team. Hopefully I can make a good run here going into the playoffs and keep it going."

Nilsson was picked up as insurance for Jake Allen and the lower-body injury to Brian Elliott, who was originally said to be reevaluated in four weeks. Nilsson went 0-5-1 his past eight appearances for the Oilers but had a stretch from Dec. 2-11 where he won five straight starts with a 2.53 GAA and .927 save percentage.

"I felt good the first half of the year," Nilsson said. "I had a little dip after Christmas. I definitely want to get back to my game and play the game I know I can play. Hopefully I'm going to be able to do that here with St. Louis and help them with a few wins."

General manager Doug Armstrong said if the Blues were to acquire goaltending help, it would have to be someone cost-effective and someone they could assign to the minors when/if Elliott returns.

Nilsson understands that.

"I'm just going to try and focus on my game," he said. "It's important because Elliott got injured and Allen just came back from an injury. It's not fun to see other guys go down. I'm going to try to focus on my game and I'll see what happens after that.

"I'm obviously a bigger guy. I'm going to try and take advantage of some of my size and play on my size and try and make myself as big as possible in the net. I think I do more like pretty much everyone does nowadays, the modern style of goaltending, butterfly style. That's about it. I try and bring in a lot of hard work every day to the rink and compete."

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