Why Edmonton will Trade One of Hemsky or Penner In Less Than One Week

While few can confirm it, I'm here to tell you that it is a lock that one of Edmonton's Ales Hemsky or Dustin Penner will be traded by the Feb 28th NHL trade deadline.

How could I possibly know this you ask? Especially considering there has been nothing but non-detailed rumors on the possible trades actually happening? The answer is simple. It is a sellers market in the NHL.

In fact, like no other year that I can recall, this year in the NHL more teams are on the cusp of getting into the NHL playoffs than ever before. More teams stand a chance than don't and there are few teams, namely Edmonton, Ottawa and the Islanders that are the only clear sellers in the market.

Teams like Toronto, New Jersey, St. Louis, Florida and others who should probably also be selling and out of the playoff picture, have gone on record having not thrown in the towel. Toronto sold assets like Versteeg, Beauchemin and Kaberle, but are currently looking to buy for a final run. New Jersey and Calgary who at the start of the year looked hopeless, are now all of sudden either in the playoff picture or making a run so strong that it doesn't seem out of the realm of possible they squeeze in.

What does this mean? It means that more teams than ever before are buying. The law of supply a demand is dictating the overpayments some teams are making and it's why so many major deals have already happened.

Teams are jumping to get ahead of the market knowing that in general NHL teams who buy specifically on deadline day overpay. There are far too many teams who will still feel they have a chance at the playoffs or need that one final piece to get in that they'll be making the same calls to the same three teams. With so many teams buying, the overpayments are bound to be massive. Not good news for many NHL teams who will find themselves on the outs if they don't have moveable assets.

Enter the Edmonton Oilers.

You'll find many fans who won't want to see Edmonton trade either Hemsky or Penner (especially if either has indicated they'd like to remain Oilers for a fair price past their current contracts), but Oilers Steve Tambellini may be faced with offers far too good to pass up.

Both Hemsky and Penner are pieces the Oilers can include in their rebuild should they choose to stay in Edmonton. Both are useful talents and the Oilers likely don't want to move either one. Tambellini simply may not have a choice if the longer term future of the team is more important.

In recent years and as is often done by fans of any NHL team, players tend to be overvalued and overrated. Locals fall in love with their teams rosters and don't place a realistic value of what that player might receive on the open market. This years trade deadline might actually provide the real dreamers with a realistic idea of what a return might be.

Let's take Mike Fisher who was traded from the Senators (a team almost sold out of what it is looking to be selling). He's realistically a good third line player. On some teams a 2nd line center. In years past, he might not get the return of a first round pick. This year he did and a conditional 2nd or 3rd rounder.

So did Kris Versteeg. In fact, Versteeg is overpaid yet still got Toronto a first round and a third round pick.

There are other examples but the key here is that all deals were done well before the actual deadline for players of good but not overwhelming talent. At the deadline, it is reasonable to expect the return could have been higher when multiple teams might have wanted to outbid each other and the trades really get out of hand.

It's why the Oilers are waiting on offers for both Penner and Hemsky and why they gambled on someone having some interest in a rusty, massively overpaid and out of shape Sheldon Souray. The gamble didn't work, but the logic behind it is and was sound.

While Souray is still an Oiler, Ales Hemsky and Dustin Penner are not however Sheldon Souray.

Both Oiler forwards have value for other NHL teams. Perhaps Hemsky moreso than Penner, but both players have gathered some interest and both players can only be traded by the Oilers to one team of some fifteen that might be in the market. Both have fair dollar values attracted to their contracts and while neither are really rentals, both only have one year remaining after this at a reasonable cap hit.

Yes, there are players like Alex Kovalev, David Booth, Jason Arnott, Jackub Voracek, Milan Hejduk, who might be in play. Some however are on teams that aren't throwing in the towel and even two wins leading up the 28th could make them buyers and not sellers.

What would or should Tambellini do if a team like L.A. felt that adding an Ales Hemsky would put them in the hunt and give them a legit shot? Would they part with Wayne Simmonds or Brayden Schenn? Not normally. But if they felt they had to do something and it came down to a bidding war, they might.

What would the Oilers do if a team in need of a 2nd line and possibly first line power forward like Penner came calling? If they offered a first and 2nd round pick like they did for Versteeg? What if they had to outbid someone else and threw in a faceoff 3rd or 4th liner? Would you do it? Tambellini might and who could blame him?

What if a team like Atlanta who might not be selling or buying today, but could be in five days offered up Zach Bogosian for a proven scorer like Hemsky? Would Tambellini do it? I might.

I'm the first to admit that at any other time this might be an over value of both Hemsky and Penner. But this is not any other time. It's the last minute hour of trade deadline in a year that almost everyone but the Oilers and Senators feel they have a shot. The Senators have sold a lot of what they are selling. The Oilers have yet to sell anything. What would teams do to obtain the assets the Oilers might willingly give up for the right price?

I'm willing to bet someone is going to offer the sun, moon and stars and Tambellini will take it at least once. I'm also willing to bet that names like Sam Gagner, Ladislav Smid, Kurtis Foster, Andrew Cogliano and Ryan Jones get a good look from other teams and the Oilers find themselves making some interesting decisions.


No guarantee either player gets moved.

The asking price is high, and rightly so - the Oilers don't need to trade either player at this time.

If a deal for either player doesn't fill a current roster need, why bother?

Bogosian's name is getting tossed around lately, but I don't see them moving him for Hemsky. And some of the "proposed" LA Kings deals for Hemsky are absolutely awful.

Of the two players, I could see Penner being the one traded.

February 22, 2011 at 1:48 PM comment-delete

I agreee that no guarantee is correct, but I also agree with the article that it's a near lock someone will go. It might be someone other than Hemsky or Penner (Gagner perhaps).

In a normal circumstance what is being tossed around from L.A. is too much, but GM's are prone to rash decisions and overpayments on deadline day. Hemsky or Penner could obtain more in return than what they're worth and Tambellini has to consider moving one if the offer is more than they might be worth.

February 22, 2011 at 3:11 PM comment-delete

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