Oilers net rights to former Griffins' goaltender Taylor in Henrique trade

Ty Taylor, who starred for the Griffins during their inaugural Canada West season in 2021-22, was traded to the Edmonton Oilers from the Tampa Bay Lightning in Wednesday's three-team Adam Henrique deal (Joel Kingston photo).
Ty Taylor, who starred for the Griffins during their inaugural Canada West season in 2021-22, was traded to the Edmonton Oilers from the Tampa Bay Lightning in Wednesday's three-team Adam Henrique deal (Joel Kingston photo).

Jefferson Hagen
MacEwan Athletics

EDMONTON – Ty Taylor was sitting on his couch watching TV when his phone buzzed from the assistant GM of the Tampa Bay Lightning.

"He said 'hey, we traded you.' I didn't expect it, to be honest with you."

But as of Wednesday, the Edmonton Oilers now own his NHL rights.

That makes for an intriguing situation for Taylor, who experienced the passion of Edmonton hockey fans first-hand when he backstopped the MacEwan Griffins in their inaugural Canada West season in 2021-22, playing in the Downtown Community Arena, which is attached to the Oilers' Rogers Place home.

"It's really cool, to be honest with you," he said of the trade. "I don't know if they have any plans for me. I hope something comes of it. I know Edmonton fans love hockey. I'd like to try to get to camp if they'd like to have me, but we'll see."

Taylor was included as a footnote in Wednesday's three-team trade that sent Adam Henrique and Sam Carrick from Anaheim to Edmonton, while Tampa got involved to retain salary in exchange for a draft pick.

Originally a seventh-round pick of the Lightning in the 2018 NHL draft after he won the BCHL goaltender of the year award with the Vernon Vipers, Taylor – unsigned by the Bolts – was potentially just a throw in to facilitate all the moving pieces in the deal.

But he hopes it's more than that.

"I think I've got lots to give," said Taylor, who is currently playing in the Southern Professional Hockey League with the Evansville Thunderbolts. "I'm still ready to go, ready to play. I hope I can go there and show them at some point if they'll have me. 

"I don't really know what the situation means at all. But I hope something positive comes of it."

Taylor was named MVP of the Griffins men's hockey team in 2021-22, consistently keeping them in games during their first Canada West season, which was a baptism by fire at a higher level for the program.

"He cared about getting better and worked every day," said Griffins bench boss Zack Dailey, who was an assistant coach with the team that season. "Intense in the crease, and competed on every shot, practice or game."

The Richmond, B.C. native holds the distinction of being the first Griffins goaltender to post a Canada West shutout when he blanked Trinity Western on Nov. 26, 2021.

Following his university career, which also included three NCAA Div. 1 seasons at the University of New Hampshire before coming to MacEwan, Taylor signed a PTO with the American Hockey League's Syracuse Crunch – Tampa Bay's farm team – and finished the season in the ECHL with the Orlando Solar Bears. 

He spent last season playing overseas in the United Kingdom's Elite Ice Hockey League for the Glasgow Clan, posting a 4.23 and .873 in 17 regular season games before recording a 3.53 GAA and .909 save percentage in the playoffs.

The experience of playing hockey in Scotland was as amazing as it sounds. 

"Obviously when you think of the U.K., you think of soccer," said Taylor. "It's not as popular, but the fans we had were (amazing). They were soccer fans who became hockey fans, and you know how they get over there. They're really passionate. They love it. 

"Just speaking with people over there when I was there, they'd never seen a hockey game and they'd go try it out and they were hooked. It was honestly really cool to experience the culture over there. The people were great. It was an awesome place to live – just a really good experience."

He also got to play against former Griffins teammate Riley Brandt, who won a title with the Cardiff Devils in 2022 and is now in his third season with that team.

Taylor is currently sporting a 3.02 GAA and .907 save percentage in 10 games this season so far for Evansville, who are in a dogfight for a playoff spot in the SPHL.

"We've got a big weekend coming up," he said. "We hope to get six points. We've only got 12 games left, so it's kind of coming down to the wire here."

Taylor doesn't know what the future holds, but his NHL dream is still very much alive. He's just 24, is blessed with a coveted 6-foot-4 frame and has lots of runway to continue developing.

"I'm just here trying to grind away, trying to find a way to the NHL," he said. "That's still my goal. I still want to play in the NHL, and I think I will do it one day. 

"Hopefully for the Oilers."