SUN Hockey Pool

Young gun an Oiler

DEREK VAN DIEST, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:53 AM ET

As a young, offensive talent, Patrick O'Sullivan seemed an ideal fit for the Los Angeles Kings, who have a young and up-and-coming team.

So it came as a surprise the 24-year-old forward was moved just prior to the NHL trade deadline yesterday. Twice.

"I was a little bit surprised," O'Sullivan said. "I signed for three years in the summer there and I think the young group of guys that are with L.A. have grown together over the last couple of years.

"I think the organization was drastically improved over that time. But at the end of the day, anybody is tradable at any time, and I'm just happy that I'm going to a place that has a lot of great history and is a great hockey market. I'm excited to come and play in Edmonton."

O'Sullivan was originally traded to the Carolina Hurricanes yesterday for Justin Williams, then flipped to the Oilers along with a second-round pick for Erik Cole.

The Oilers shipped that second-round pick to the Buffalo Sabres for Ales Kotalik.

"I was at the arena when I heard about the trade," O'Sullivan said. "We're three hours behind in the Pacific time zone. We had just finished a team meeting and were about to go on the ice for practice.

"But I got called up to the office to talk to (Kings GM) Dean Lombardi and that's when he gave me the news."

O'Sullivan had 14 goals and 23 assists in 62 games with the Kings this season.

A former second-round pick - 56th overall - of the Minnesota Wild, the native of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, was a scoring sensation during his junior career with the Mississauga Ice Dogs and through his first year in the AHL.

He has 10 more points than Cole does this season.

"I was excited that both of these players were available," said Oilers general manager Steve Tambellini. "Both of these players were sought-after players by a lot of different teams. You never really know, through negotiations, what is going to be presented and what is not. There are some things that just develop and I'm very happy this did."

O'Sullivan could be the left winger the Oilers need to fill the void on the top line.

He's a character player who's gone through his share of adversity on his way to the NHL.

During his minor hockey days, in a well-documented case, he had to deal with an abusive father whom O'Sullivan eventually got a restraining order against.

A projected first-round pick, he slipped in the draft due in part to the problems with his father.

He split his first season with the Kings between the NHL and AHL before cracking the lineup on a full-time basis last season.

O'Sullivan began his professional career with the Wild's AHL affiliate, Houston Aeros, playing for Rob Daum, who is now in charge of the Oilers top farm team in Springfield.

O'Sullivan will join the Oilers in Ottawa this morning.

"I won't get in until 9:15 or 9:30 in the morning," O'Sullivan said. "But if they want me to play, I'll be ready to go. It's obviously difficult to fly through the night and play a game the next day. But I'll try to get my rest in and the adrenaline will be going for sure. So if they want me to play, I'll play."


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