Strudwick remains patient

DEREK VAN DIEST, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:19 AM ET

Jason Strudwick is used to not looking past the current season in terms of job security.

As a veteran defenceman, that sometimes goes with the territory.

With the Oilers season coming to a close, Strudwick's future with the club is tenuous, at best. His contract is up on July 1, when he'll become an unrestricted free agent.

"I've been through this it seems like every year my whole career," Strudwick said. "It's something I'm comfortable with.

"The one thing I've learned is to just be patient and usually everything just works out. I'm really not thinking about it right now.

"At this point in the season, everyone just wants to see the situation through. I've been though it so many times, I know that the best thing is patience."

A veteran of 13 NHL seasons, Strudwick was brought to Edmonton two years ago to provide a calming presence and veteran leadership to the dressing room.

He's done both, and is the team's nominee for the Bill Masterton Trophy for perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to hockey as voted on by the Professional Hockey Writers Association.

Strudwick is a strong character influence with the younger players.

"That's just the way I am," he said.

"Everyone that comes into the NHL has to fill a role that fits their personality and they type of player they are. It seems to work for me."

Like everyone else in the organization, Strudwick was disappointed with what transpired during the season.

And although the Oilers are expected to purge some veterans heading into a rebuilding phase next year, it would be wise to keep someone like him around.

"It was a tough year; I'm sure it was as hard to watch as it was for the players and coaches that were going through it," he said.


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