The post-Penner era commences tonight in the Alberta capital, as the Edmonton Oilers welcome the Nashville Predators to Rexall Place without their primary big man on the wing.
While Los Angeles Kings’ GM Dean Lombardi pulled the trigger for “today”, Oilers GM Steve Tambellini was motivated more by the “future”, sending leading scorer Dustin Penner back to California for promising defenceman Colton Teubert, the Kings’ 2011 1st and a conditional 3rd (2nd if they win the Stanley Cup).
Great news for teams like Nashville facing off against the Oil down the stretch – teams in the hunt for an invitation to the 2011 NHL post-season party.
Like most trades involving a package of prospects and/or picks, its measurement of success, or potential, doesn’t usually come to fruition until long into the future – if at all in some cases.
Preliminary analysis, however, suggests both franchises gave up significant assets to receive significant assets – the initial measure of a successful deal. The Kings fill a gaping need for size and offense on the left wing with the acquisition of the ‘6, 4”, 245-pound Penner, while the Oilers address the need for a D-man who could eventually play big, tough, stay-at-home minutes at the NHL level, something Edmonton has been lacking since, well, it traded Matt Greene to Los Angeles a few years back.
And while Tambellini has seemingly addressed the shortcomings of a vulnerable blue line moving forward, he’s also sacrificed his club’s size and puck protection up front.
Watching the Boston Bruins knock Oiler forwards Sam Gagner, Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle and Andrew Cogliano off the puck last Sunday, was proof perfect, that the Oilers need MORE beef up front – not less! In dealing Penner, fans are hoping Tambellini’s “master plan” includes a strategy, either through the 2011 draft and/or free agency to address this deficiency.
If he’s unable to acquire, well, a few more “Penner-like” forwards, but with a more determined work ethic, then Oilers Nation can expect diminished puck possession and increased injuries, areas of the game that have sadly become this team’s calling cards since the 2005-06 season.
The foundation for success is being laid here, but make no mistake, if Edmonton fans don’t begin to see tangible strides being made by their team next year, the walls could come tumbling down on the Oilers GM.
Fans have already paid the price for one GM’s front office ineptitude – their patience is not unlimited.
In the meantime Oiler fans, keep your chins up and your sticks down.
About the Author
Written by Scott Pattison
Scott is an award-winning sports writer whose career spans more than 20 years. He's proudly covered the Oilers since moving to the Alberta capital in 2000.