BOSTON -- Matt Fraser is headed home.
The former Boston Bruins forward was claimed off waivers by the Edmonton Oilers on Monday afternoon. A native of Red Deer in Alberta, Canada, the move will represent a return for Fraser as Red Deer is less than two hours away from Edmonton.
In fact, Fraser’s parents flew into Boston from Edmonton on Sunday to spend time with their son. And now it appears that they’ll all be flying back together.
“I’m still kind of in the shock and awe of it,” Fraser said. “This was such a great team to be a part of, such great guys to be a part of. It’s tough leaving but at the same time hopefully there’s an opportunity for me in Edmonton.”
Beyond having his parents in town, the past 24 hours have been a whirlwind for Fraser. Despite being placed on waivers, he still participated in the team’s practice on Sunday, while also taking the ice Monday during the Bruins’ morning skate. It wasn’t until just before the noon deadline on Monday that Fraser was informed he had been claimed.
“It’s not easy,” Fraser said. “No one likes to feel unwanted and no one likes that kind of level of uncertainty. I talked to my agent probably four or five times in the past 24 hours and that’s more times than I probably have in a whole year. You’re just waiting to get that call. Going upstairs and eating pregame meal you’re trying to focus on playing a hockey game tonight and then you get a call and all of sudden your life’s changed and you’re going back home.”
Coming over to the Bruins in the Tyler Seguin trade last summer, Fraser scored five goals in 38 games with Boston over the past two seasons. While the numbers don’t jump off the page, there was a sense of optimism surrounding Fraser in his time with the organization that his strong shooting skills would help him emerge as an offensive threat. However, the chances were often slim, leaving Fraser with little window to show off his skill set.
“I would have liked to have produce more but maybe that opportunity wasn’t there as much. I just had a conversation with [coach] Claude [Julien] and he has kind of alluded to that but at the same time you’re in the NHL for a reason, you’ve got to find a reason to stay here,” Fraser said. “It didn't happen here as I had planned but at the end of the day you’ve got to move on and realize that this is a job.
“For whatever reason it didn't work out but that’s not going to make me think anything different of this organization or anything like that. I have nothing bad to say about this organization, about the guys or anything like that. That’s just part of the business.”
Still just 24 years old, Fraser will add to an Edmonton team that is among the youngest in the league. With the Oilers ranked dead last in the league standings, he is likely to get more playing time, perhaps allowing him the chance to translate his skills into production on the ice.
“At the end of the day, I feel like I have the best job in the world,” Fraser said. “I really do. Every day that I came to the rink, I never took it for granted. With that being said, take the rest of the day and understand that you’re going back home and you’re going to play for the Oilers. You’ve got to make the most of it.”