Jim Neveau, NHL Correspondent
On a day that has been largely uneventful in terms of trades, the Los Angeles Kings finally made the first high impact deal of the day when they acquired Dustin Penner from the Edmonton Oilers in exchange for prospect Colten Teubert, a 2011 1st round pick, and a conditional pick in the 2012 Draft.
This trade was a pretty obvious one for the Kings to make. Over the course of the past few seasons, pundits from across the NHL universe have said that Los Angeles needed to add a scoring winger in order to take the next step in their development into an elite team in this league. Whether it was talk of acquiring a guy at last year’s deadline, or clamoring from some for the Kings to sign Ilya Kovalchuk last off-season, folks around LA have been really hoping to get a guy in the fold who can score, and they may finally have their answer in Penner.
Dustin, who is under contract at a $4.25 million cap hit for next season, is having a decent offensive season this year, with 21 goals and 18 assists in 62 games. His biggest asset on the offensive side of the puck is his ability to rush the net and create traffic in front, and that’s something that Los Angeles definitely needed. He has soft hands around the net, and while his toughness is questioned by some, he is big enough that he can get into good positions near the net to score easy goals.
As for the return that the Oilers got, they couldn’t have done much better in this trade market. The first round pick in a weak draft may not be that good, especially considering that it will likely be a selection in the 20’s, but the prospect they picked up in Teubert is definitely a good addition. He was a first round selection back in 2008, but he has never been much of an offensive dynamo in his young career. He could definitely be groomed into a respectable second pair defenseman, and while he fell out of favor with the Kings somewhat because of some other guys stepping up, he’s still a solid prospect.
Overall, this trade definitely benefits the Kings in the short-term, and it also helps Edmonton from a financial standpoint as well. It gets Penner’s contract off the books and will help them absorb the albatross that Nikolai Khabibulin is burdening them with. The Oilers are serious about the rebuilding process that they have been undergoing for the past year or so, and it’s going to take at least a couple of years to really see the results, positive or negative, from this deal for Edmonton.
Now, the Kings are going to go forward and see if they can compete for a title with an improved forward group, and with Penner alongside a guy like Anze Kopitar, they are turning into a team that no one will want to play when the calendar turns to April.
Stay tuned to The Hockey Writers as the trade deadline approaches within the next hour for all the breaking news.