Toby of all trades

DEREK VAN DIEST -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:56 AM ET

BOSTON -- Toby Petersen is becoming a valuable commodity in the Edmonton Oilers locker-room.

As the injuries mount Petersen's ice-time increases.

On Sunday, he was out in every situation. He killed penalties, manned the point on the power play and was perfect in the faceoff circle.

"He's a good, smart player," said Oilers head coach Craig MacTavish. "He made some really good plays on the point and on the powerplay for us. And he's starting to be more dependable positionally on the penalty kill.

"I see lots of game there, I think all he needs is a little more experience. But he's a confident player right now."

VERSATILITY

It's Petersen's versatility which makes him valuable.

He's a player who can be slotted into any role. And as long as Jarret Stoll and Fernando Pisani are out, he's a player that will be slotted into every role.

"The guys that have gone down are guys that we normally use on the penalty kill," Petersen said. "There are some spots that guys have to step up and try to fill.

"I'm finding myself in more and more roles game in and game out because of some of the absences, especially Stoll and now losing Fernie."

In Sunday's 5-1 win over the Atlanta Thrashers, Petersen, 28, had 15:38 of ice time - over three minutes more than his season average.

He was on the Oilers' top power-play unit and set up Ryan Smyth's opening goal by getting the initial shot through from the point.

Originally Petersen was credited with an assist on the goal, but it was later taken away and given to Petr Sykora.

"That's something that I'm used to (playing the point). I've done in previous years quite a bit," Petersen said.

"The coaches have shown confidence in me back there. And as long as you don't have turnovers and get beat one-on-one then we'll be okay back there."

In 39 games with the Oilers this season, Petersen has three goals and five assists.

He began the year with the Iowa Stars as one of the Oilers' final cuts.

But as is usually the case, the last cut is the first called up and Petersen was back in the NHL 10 games into the season.

"I've really like the way he's managed his decisions out there," said MacTavish. "He's as reliable back there on the power play as anybody.

"He's got some awareness, he can make a play with the puck. He's got some deception and he moves well laterally. He does all those things that you need back there."

Signed as a free agent in the summer of 2004, Petersen scored his first goal for the Oilers during the playoff last season after being a surprise insertion into the lineup.

MINNESOTAN

Originally, the native of Minneapolis, Minnesota, was selected by the Pittsburgh Penguins in the 1998 NHL Entry Draft.

"Getting used in a lot of situations really helps confidence-wise," Petersen said. "I feel the way things are going right now I'm starting to feel a little more patient with the puck.

"Once in a while I still throw the puck away prematurely.

"But I'm playing with a little more confidence trying to stick to the basics and I'm feeling good right now."


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