Fresh start for Lupul

DEREK VAN DIEST

, Last Updated: 9:06 AM ET

Joffrey Lupul would have liked a shot at redemption.

However, the local product won't get a chance to show Edmonton Oiler fans he's better than 16 goals a season.

That'll be reserved for fans of the Philadelphia Flyers.

"It's always nice to prove something, but you realize it's hockey, it's a business and it's nothing personal," Lupul said yesterday.

"But definitely, when I came here I thought they were bringing me in for the long-term thing, not just one lousy year.

"That's disappointing, but they wanted to go a different direction and I'm excited about the new start in Philadelphia."

Lupul was originally acquired by the Oilers in the deal that sent Chris Pronger to the Anaheim Ducks. Last season the Fort Saskatchewan native notched 16 goals and added 12 assists in 81 games with the Oilers.

The previous year he scored 28 goals and had 25 assists in 81 games with the Ducks. He also added nine goals and two assists in 16 playoff games, including four goals in a playoff win over the Colorado Avalanche.

This off-season, Lupul was traded to the Flyers along with defenceman Jason Smith for Joni Pitkanen, Geoff Sanderson and a third-round pick in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft.

"I thought I would have a chance this year to have a better season," Lupul said.

"Obviously they felt they wanted to go in a different direction.

"I can't blame them for that, but I definitely would have liked to have another opportunity. I'm a better player than that, and I can do a lot better than I did last year."

The personable 23-year-old was in town for his inaugural golf tournament at Redtail Landing Golf Club. The Joffrey Lupul and Friends Charity Golf Classic was held in support of the Bissell Centre and Change for Children - a group devoted to community development projects in Latin America and Africa.

Despite having been traded, Lupul plans on making the tournament an annual event.

"This kind of came together a little bit at the last minute," Lupul said. "Someone came to me with the idea and I was all for it. This is something I've been wanting to do for a couple of years here.

"None of the guys really have a golf tournament in the area and it was a good way to raise a little bit of money for the Bissell Centre and Change for Children."

Lupul is part of a revamped team in Philadelphia. The Flyers were big players in the off-season, signing free agent Daniel Briere and acquiring the likes of goaltender Martin Biron, defenceman Kimmo Timonen and forward Scott Hartnell.

"Any time you get to go to a new team it's exciting," Lupul said.

"It's a fresh start. I could tell from the first day that the Flyers are a first-class organization. They do things right and they definitely treat their players well.

"They've helped me out a lot and they've made it easy for all of the new guys to feel welcomed there."

Getting an opportunity to play in the East is also appealing to Lupul, who up to now has only known the rigours of playing for Western teams.

Apart from one extended trip out West - which includes a stop in Edmonton on Oct. 6 - the Flyers will play the majority of their games in the East in the upcoming season.

"Just talking to the guys, they said that even with all the road games, you're home that night," Lupul said.

"Here out West you have a lot of late nights. I guess that's why a lot of the guys want to stay out East if they can."


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