Monday is the day. Trade deadline day that is. The Edmonton Oilers hold two of the top three players on the market in Ales Hemsky and Dustin Penner. Both players would bring a huge return to the Oilers if traded, but with around 30 hours left to go, it looks like Hemsky and Penner could stay put and remain Oilers. Let's take a look at the rumors involving both these stars.
Ales Hemsky Rumors (LA, PHX, WSH, NYR)
Looking at things right now, it's safe to take the Capitals out of the Hemsky race. The Caps added scoring in the form of Marco Sturm Saturday off the waiver wire and are currently looking for a second line center. Their interest in Hemsky appears to be gone, and it doesn't look like a deal will happen with the Capitals.
As for the Rangers, they added Bryan McCabe today from the Panthers, for a small fee, but are very short on cap space. They are also going hard after Brad Richards, and Brad is the No. 1 target for the Rangers. If a deal with the Oilers is to happen, a defender will, odds are, be going Edmonton's way. The Oilers have to like Marc Staal, but I doubt the Rangers will move the All-Star. It's unlikely that Hemsky ends up with the Rangers, but if they lose out on Richards, look for the Rangers to make at least make some offer to the Oilers for the dynamic winger.
Here is the most interesting team, and the newest team in the Hemsky chase, the Coyotes. The Yotes are under some pressure to get to the second round this season. They gave a small fanbase a taste of the playoffs last season and somewhat built a little more of a fanbase up. How important is it for them to at least get to Round 2 this spring? Pretty important, if you ask most people.
The Yotes have two prospects, one named Kyle Turris; the other is Oliver-Ekman Larsson. Turris is a center that was taken in 2007, a center the Oilers tried to jump up and grab, which they failed to do. Larsson is a top prospect on defense and made the NHL All-Star game as one of the rookies selected this past January. Larsson would appear to be the main target for the Oilers, but at this point it is unknown how interested the Yotes really are. I would say if the Yotes want Hemsky, they can certainly be the team that gets him Monday afternoon.
The LA Kings. Let's face it, we have been hearing this rumor for a while now, and it only makes sense that reports now say the Kings are gearing up to make a move for Hemsky and are increasing their offer. The Oilers have drawn the line, however, and said that unless Brayden Schenn is included in the deal, the Oilers won't make the trade.
I expect this to come down to Monday if it involves LA, and it WILL NOT be a 1-for-1 trade of Hemsky for Schenn. There will be other players going in both directions. Something tells me Andrew Cogliano could be joining Hemsky heading to LA and that a defensive prospect could be joining Schenn. Just a gut feeling I have.
So, by the looks of it, I would have to say the LA Kings and Phoenix Coyotes have the best chance of grabbing the dynamic winger. It is almost certain that if a deal with the Kings happens, the Oilers will get their first line center of the future in Schenn. Nothing, however, is certain until Monday, where we will know what happens with Hemsky.
Should the Oilerts trade Dustin Penner or Ales Hemsky?
Dustin Penner Rumors (MTL, MIN, LA)
The LA Kings see Penner as a third option and will only go after him if the can't get Brad Richards out of Dallas, or Ales Hemsky out of Edmonton. The asking price for Penner is smaller than the price for Hemsky, so maybe the Kings make a move here.
Schenn won't be coming Edmonton's way if it's Penner they ship to LA. I would expect to see Wayne Simmonds and a defensive prospect as Edmonton's asking price with LA, and it's anyone's guess if they would actually get that. I would say it's unlikely that Penner ends up in LA, as I believe Hemsky will be a King before the deadline hits on Monday.
The Montreal Canadiens do need size, so this deal might actually make sense for the Habs. The only issues here are that Montreal doesn't seem to have the cap space to make this deal happen, and it doesn't appear that they have the pieces the Oilers would want. They don't have a future top line center in their system and won't be trading Plekanec. As for a top pairing defender, all they have that would interest the Oilers is PK Subban, and it doesn't appear that Montreal will trade him.
My guess is that the cap space and lack of assets to move to Edmonton will make sure this deal doesn't get done. Montreal might be interested, but it doesn't look like Penner will be moving out east to Montreal.
The Minnesota Wild do need a top six forward, and with Mikko Koivu currently out, Penner would be the main guy in the Wild's push for the playoffs (they are currently the six seed). Cal Clutterbuck would be a nice pickup for the Oilers as he is a Milan Lucic clone if you will. He can score some goals (closing in on 20 this season) and hits EVERYTHING in sight. He also can play on the PK. He is the perfect big body forward who hits, scores, fights and play PK.
Brent Burns had Norris trophy written all over him just two years ago, but injury has hurt his career. A change could be huge for the All-Star defender, and he would give the Oilers their No. 1 defender, which they need badly. Cam Barker is a former top five pick by the Chicago Blackhawks, and while he has tons of potential, the huge defender has had a horrible season.
The Wild won't think twice about trading him, and his potential could be something the Oilers go after here. My guess is something like a Penner for Burns trade could go down, but isn't something I'd bet on. It's also worth saying the Wild have come out and said they won't trade their first-round pick in the upcoming NHL entry draft.
The wrap-up with the Penner rumors is simple. If the Oilers don't get a great offer, they won't trade him, plain and simple. I think the most likely trade would be with the Wild for Barker or Burns. That fixes a need in Edmonton. For Burns it would probably be a one-for-one deal, while Barker could have something else going to Edmonton with him. If Hemsky is traded to one of his rumored teams, don't expect Penner to move. My bet, Penner is an Oiler or a Wild by Monday afternoon.
Random Oilers Rumors
Here are some other rumors to keep an eye on for Monday's deadline. The Chicago Blackhawks have been watching the Oilers' last few games and seem interested in defenders Ladislav Smid and Jim Vandermeer. It appears Smid will move on Monday, as the Nashville Predators have also shown interest in the defender. There was also a rumor the Jon Blum would be traded to Edmonton for Smid, but that has yet to happen.
Along with the rumors of Smid to CHI or NSH and Vandermeer to CHI, there have been rumors of the Oilers be open to moving Andrew Cogliano and Jason Strudwick. Cogliano has been really good as of late playing on a line with Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle and looks to have finally found a spot in Edmonton. He has also improved a lot in the face-off circle and his physical play has become better.
Don't expect a Cogliano trade unless he is part of a package. As for Strudwick, don't expect a return of anything outside of a seventh-round pick, and any team looking at the playoffs could add him come Monday.
It's also worth noting that Gilbert Brule will play for the first time since January 6th on Sunday night. The Oilers will have to make some sort of roster move to get him in the lineup, so expect something to happen on Monday. The Oilers could very well move Colin Fraser as well, who has been a bust in the eyes of many Oilers fans and experts, and Kurtis Foster's name has popped up as well.
The Deadline is on Monday, and I will have a full recap blog posted on Monday night about what the Oilers either did, or didn't do. Follow me @AToilfan83 for updates on the Edmonton Oilers all year long.