The lone blockbuster deal of the NHL trade deadline day 2011 (although there were a few blockbusters in the weeks leading up to it) saw the Edmonton Oilers trade winger Dustin Penner to the Los Angeles Kings in exchange for defensive prospect Colton Teubert, a first-round pick in the 2011 draft, and a conditional pick in 2012 (either a third round or a second round, depending on whether or not the Kings win the Stanley Cup).
The Kings seem to be immediate winners of this trade, as they get a big power forward to play with Anze Kopitar as they enter the stretch run for the playoffs, while the Oilers get futures that could or could not pan out. But this deal may help the Oilers in a bigger way than just the assets they received in the trade.
With Penner gone, Magnus Paajarvi slides into a permanent position in the top six of Edmonton's forward corps. Paajarvi is 14th in rookie scoring right now, with 24 points in 61 games, and had been averaging 14:32 a game, more than three minutes less than the other two of the "big 3" Edmonton rookies, Taylor Hall, who has 40 points, and Jordan Eberle, who has 34. He also spent less time on the power play, although lately he has been splitting point duties with fellow Swedish rookie Linus Omark.
Paajarvi should not only see an increase in playing time, but should also see an increase in the quality of linemates, namely Ales Hemsky and Shawn Horcoff. While it could be argued that Paajarvi had chemistry with Sam Gagner and Linus Omark, Ales Hemsky and Shawn Horcoff are much more proven and consistent, and they should definitely help Paajarvi in maturing into a legitimate top six forward.
The reason why this could be a win for the Oilers is that if Paajarvi can reach his potential sooner, which should be the case now, he can help give Edmonton a great one-two punch on the left side with Taylor Hall, and replace Dustin Penner as the Oilers resident power forward, and may even be better, which would not be possible if Penner stayed in an Oilers uniform and took playing time and line mates away from Paajarvi. If Paajarvi can improve enough, he may help the Oilers push for contention for the playoffs next season, along with improvements from his fellow rookies.
Only time will tell if this trade will pan out for the Oilers, but that future could come sooner than we think.