New Edmonton Oilers goalie Anton Forsberg offers support, competition in the crease

Carolina Hurricanes goaltender Anton Forsberg (31) makes a save on a shot as Tampa Bay Lightning right wing Taylor Raddysh (16) looks for a rebound during the second period of an NHL preseason hockey game Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2019, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara). AP Photo/Chris O'Meara

He’s the back-up to the back-up, but that’s all good with new Edmonton Oilers goaltender Anton Forsberg.

“It’s an honour to play for such a big organization that’s been around such a long time,” said Forsberg, 28, who signed a one-year deal with the Oilers on Oct. 9. “I felt like it was a good option here, coming in to compete for a job.”

Mikko Koskinen and Mike Smith return as the Oilers’ goaltending tandem. Forsberg will be on the Oilers taxi squad, ready to go if needed.

Read more: Jesse Puljujarvi bringing size and confidence to second stint with Edmonton Oilers

“He looks really solid,” Oilers head coach, Dave Tippett said. “He’s a solid guy, has some NHL experience. He understands the league, understands his role on the team. He understands his role in practice so far.”

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“My goal is to be an everyday goaltender in the NHL,” said Forsberg, who has gone 12-25-4 in his NHL career with Carolina, Chicago, and Columbus. “I feel like I’m ready for it. I’ve been working hard on my game.”

With each team carrying a goalie on its taxi squad, there will sometimes be three goalies on the ice at practice. But Tippett doesn’t feel it will make for a crowded crease and reduced reps.

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“You’re top two guys have to get as much work as they need. The third guy will jump in there when needed. There are going to be days when, with our schedule, when goaltenders take days off or are resting during a morning skate. That third guy will come in handy,” explained Tippett. “For years, I thought teams should be able to carry three goalies because you need him for a practice now and then. Now you have it. It’ll be a nice luxury to have. If we need him, he’s very capable.”

“All I can right now is work hard, work on my game, and be prepared for whenever the opportunity shows up,” said Forberg.

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Forsberg’s career highlights include a Calder Cup with Lake Erie of the AJHL in 2016. He went 9-0 in the playoffs. He was the back-up goalie on Sweden’s gold medal World Junior team in 2012.

“Growing up, we had a rule on our team that we weren’t allowed to be a goalie from the start. We had to alternate because so many guys wanted to be a goalie,” Forsberg recalled. “I was a (position) player until I was 11, kind of going back and forth. Once I was 11, I started going goalie full time.”

Other notable changes are:

  • Jesse Puljujarvi changed his number from 98 to 13
  • Devin Shore, who’s in camp on a professional tryout contract, practiced for the first time
  • The Oilers will scrimmage on Thursday at the Downtown Community Arena