Mark Letestu had a hunch he may get traded from the Edmonton Oilers, but coming back to Columbus was extra-sweet for the veteran center.
He spoke with NHL Network's EJ Hradek before his 2017-18 Blue Jackets debut, and you could sense he was apprehensive about his inevitable trade:
"Even though you know you’re getting moved, you never really know where. And to actually come back to somewhere familiar, it’s made the adjustment pretty easy for me, so I’m just excited, hopefully, to get on the ice here as soon as possible ands start helping out.”
"I'm excited hopefully to get on the ice here as soon as possible and start helping out." - New member of the @BlueJacketsNHL Mark Letestu.#NHLTradeDeadline #NHLTonight @EJHradek_NHL pic.twitter.com/2Rf1itMcF2— NHL Network (@NHLNetwork) February 26, 2018
Letestu, a class act, spoke highly of the Columbus Blue Jackets, the team where he "cut his teeth", but also his old squad, the Oilers.
"Pete (Edmonton GM Peter Chiarelli) was the guy who called me. He woke me up and actually told me I was actually going to Nashville. Then I got another call from Jarmo telling me I was coming to Columbus, so it was busy. Through the whole process, he’s (Chiarelli's) been really respectful of me and my family. We kind of gave each other thank you’s for what each other has done for one another. He gave me a three-year deal, which at the time of my career was pretty important, and he thanked me for the service for what I brought for the team. There’s always pleasantries exchanged, for me anyways."
Letestu, who scored a goal in his victorious debut with the Blue Jackets, doesn't appear to have any problems fitting in with his new (old) club. Still, it's something that he admitted has been on his mind.
"You have to kind of find your place. I’m excited to get around the guys and meet everybody. The best way to kind of adjust to a new team situation is to get out there and play, start contributing, try to earn the respect of the room, so that’s what I’m most looking forward to – hopefully it happens sooner rather than later."
The feeling is mutual.