Trade Rumors Heating Up

This is Chris Phillips. He’s rumored to be heading to the Edmonton Oilers. It is one of many rumors out in the ether that could impact the town team.

Mike Brophy and John Shannon were on Sportsnet last night and suggested one of the current rumors has Dustin Penner heading to Ottawa in a deal for Chris Phillips. Phillips is a UFA, so one imagines that this would be for a signed Phillips, or that it might be part of a bigger deal (perhaps involving a third team).

Chris Phillips? He’s making $3.5M and is in fact a free agent at the end of the season. He’s a western kid, so the club might feel they could sign him and Phillips certainly has the reputation for being an effective shutdown player. He would have spent a lot of time mentoring young Sens blue, so that would be good news for kids like Jeff Petry.

Question: Is Phillips a good NHL defenseman at this stage of his career? Here’s what we know:

  • Phillips plays the toughest opposition Ottawa faces and it isn’t close. Source (Desjardins) ishere.
  • Phillips is doing it with mid-level help from the Ottawa roster, which means with very little help at all. The 10-11 Senators are not the 77 Habs.
  • Phillips is a team worst -26 on a team that is currently -48 on the season (at evens). If the club played three pairings evenly at equal strength, his expected minus would be -16. He is playing tougher opponents (as noted above) so the plus minus numbers–while ugly–makes him somewhat innocent (with an explanation).

Other rumors have the Preds hot for Hemsky (Matheson has it here) and the Penguins may come calling with the news that Evgeny Malkin’s season is likely over.

My own hope is that the club keeps both Penner and Hemsky. However, I can also see the wisdom in acquiring a veteran, signed defenseman to add to the current group of Whitney and Gibert. Those three men could anchor the blue and help along Peckham and Petry. Ladislav Smid’s future may be covered in the Matty article I linked to above.

I’ve been saying for awhile that this deadline is going to be interesting. Steve Tambellini is open for business at the trade deadline and then in summer, and those appear to be his only windows. With that kind of restriction, he needs to be very aggressive.

Dustin Penner to Ottawa for a signed Chris Phillips qualifies as very aggressive.

  • Eddie Shore

    I don’t think Phillips is a short or longterm answer to our defensive personnel. Maybe Rod would like it but why would you want to give up anything significant for a player become UFA next year who is significantly minus. Phillips reminds of Redden. Someone out there may pay big bucks for this guy next season but I hope it isn’t Tambo.

  • This deal has a lot of ifs to make it even worthy. I’m not a big fan of Phillips apparently as much as LT is. While I’m a partial advocate of trading Penner, its for only someone like him, but doesn’t have “The Curse of Ethan Moreau” on him.

    Personally, I’m trading Penner for younger players and let this team go full out Lord of the Flies. Players like Eric Fehr+, Anthony Stewart+, Wayne Simmonds+, those three come to mind off the top of my head.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Not big on the Phillips scenario.

    The only way i’d consider moving a Hemsky++ or Penner++ is if it netted us another top 5’ish pick this summer, am i way off base thinking this?

    Phillips for Penner is a step backwards for the Oilers.

  • Chris.

    @ Lowetide:

    I sure like Stéphane Robidas. IMO, he is an under rated defender who has an affordable contract through 2013/2014… Most importantly, Robidas has been fairly healthy having played 75-82 games a season since the lockout (despite playing a robust style)… not sure how you could snag him though… Dallas has cooled off a lot lately and just might blow things up this summer if they miss the playoffs and fail to resign Richards. Money is also an issue in Dallas.

    • Crash

      Yah, but Chris, he’s 34 yrs old and probably on more of a decline than we really need around here right now. He’s the top PP d-man in Dallas and even with all that talent around him he still only has 24 pts…I’d rather target guys similar to Kevin Bieksa. Might require overpayment, surprise, surprise

      • Chris.

        I see a player like Robidas as being more of an effective transitional player who would likely have a very diminished role by the time the Oilers are ready to go deep in the playoffs. Besides Robidas is only slightly older than Horcoff, and younger than Pronger.

        Anyway… just spit ballin.

  • Over 2 months since this happened but I was returning from the Montreal-Oiler game at Moncton airport on Dec.2. I happened to be on same flight at Stu MacGregor (down scouting the Q I suspected).

    I approached him at the baggage claim area and he, unsolicited after some banter, said “we got D comming”. I jokingly questioned him about leaning towards Larsson, he chuckled and said no no, that would take too long (implying immediate help comming?). I had to go at that moment but I still wonder what he meant.

    Like I said, long ago but sometimes these trades take weeks and weeks? The Senators were 11-13-1 at the time.

    Anyway, I don’t really like that trade on it’s own Penner-Phillips.

  • reaperfunkss

    I am holding out hope penner can be resigned in Edmonton. We have a lot of speedy crafty players but what we dont have are a lot of scorers with penners size. When he wants to he totally dominates. Use hemsky as bait for Defensemen although I like Hemsky but I think Omark and Eberle can do what he does.

    • Lowetide

      Much of that can be explained in the Desjardins chart I linked to originally. Phillips is playing the most difficult oppositon and that impacts his plus minus.

      Again, I’m not saying he’s Pronger. But I don’t think he’s done, either.

  • Chris.

    Ottawa has a whole heap of problems with a whole heap of money and players tied up to next year’s cap too.

    Does Phillips with a Foligno and Chris Kelly make sense? Not sure if either are good pk-ers but memory suggests that Foligno can forecheck and Kelly is pretty good on the dot, something that this team sorely lacks.

    Penner would be the best player in that deal but with the talent that is coming through with the rookies (not to mention this upcoming draft’s crop), maybe ST thinks that Penner’s scoring can be replaced.

    That wouldn’t be my opinion. You sign good special teams players in the offseason, once all the big players are gone, for dirt cheap. 30-goal scorers don’t grow on trees.

    • Penner would be the best player in that deal but with the talent that is coming through with the rookies (not to mention this upcoming draft’s crop), maybe ST thinks that Penner’s scoring can be replaced.

      That wouldn’t be my opinion. You sign good special teams players in the offseason, once all the big players are gone, for dirt cheap. 30-goal scorers don’t grow on trees.

      They don’t grow on trees, but Hall could probably get close to 30 this year. Having 2 or 3 20 goal guys is better than having 1 30 goal guy in the grand scheme of things.

      If the MGMT thinks we have some players that could replace Hemske or Penner & fill some of our other holes in our line-up I’m all for that. If we are trading for an aging shut down defenceman, that’s where I draw the line.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    We’re better off grabbing Sarich for a third or fourth round dp than losing Penner, so tired of always watching the best player in the deal leaving Edmonton.

  • Lowetide

    Hemmertime >>>
    is it possible to trade a LTIR player?

    I’d trade our pick, penner OR hemsky, o’marra jackfakejock to Pitt for a healthy Malkin and Pitt’s pick back to start next fall…yikes we could go forward

  • ClosetGM

    The only way we trade Penner or Hemsky for anything less than a first rounder and a player or a no miss prospect is if we know for sure they are not going to resign. Penner for Phillips is complete lunacy. We need young skilled hockey players not a 34 yr old on a bad team. If its the kings Schenn is the only one i would be interested in, possibly Simmonds but i wouldnt overpay for him. The preds Ryan Ellis is a beauty and i would love to see him in an oilers uniform. Omark is going nowhere unless the return is to good to be true, especially if Penner or Hemsky gets traded. We need defensmen and a tough skilled forward ala Byfuglien, or Lucic or even Kassian. None are available but thats what we need. We will be ok with the forwards we already have in the organization and have a couple of defensemen that will be rock solid in the next couple of years ( petry peckham and hopefully plante ). No need to get crazy most of the peices to the puzzle are already here the just need time and management needs to address certain issues

  • ClosetGM said:”…Penner for Phillips is complete lunacy. We need young skilled hockey players not a 34 yr old on a bad team…”

    LT…for the life of me these numbers don’t mean a lot but i’m thinking they add up for you and some others…

    I’m still curious though…

    trade penner for phillips ? you ARE the guy with the new radio show …you must know something we all don’t know …fess up now!

    • Lowetide

      I’m not suggesting the Oilers make the trade, I was passing along what Mr. Brophy and Shannon stated last night.

      I’ve expressed this before, but my wish would be for the Oilers to sign both Penner and Hemsky. That’s my preference.

  • ClosetGM

    More fun facts. Hemsky is scoring at the exact same rate as Malkin. He’s also a + player on the worst team in the league.

    So you have two players who are scoring at the same rate. One player has the best +/- on the team and the other has the worst. That player also happens to be paid almost twice as much and just blew his ACL and MCL.

    Obviously Malkin has the better track record but a smart GM wouldn’t trade Hemsky for Malkin straight up. That’s how bad your trade idea is.

    • Crash

      I agree with you Captain, trading Penner/Hemsky and a 1st for Malkin would be a huge mistake.

      I am in the file Malkin with the group of Russians that has played his way into a big contract so he has his millions, he has his Stanley Cup ring and he will mail it in the rest of the way. Meaning no one will get the same kind of effort from Malkin that garnered him 112 pts and a Con Smythe ever again.

      Add that to the torn ACL/MCL and anyone who risks giving up the kind of assets that Hemsky/Penner and a 1st would bring back are really missing the boat.

    • Mike Krushelnyski

      You’d think a guy named “Captain Obvious” would notice that Malkin crushed Hemsky’s career best season in his rookie year. Take off your homer glasses for a second. The reason that trade wouldn’t happen is because Shero would laugh Tambellini off the phone.

  • Eddie Shore

    thanks LT …i just thought maybe you were in cahoots with the MSM

    it just sounded differently when you kinda bottom lined the trade even for it’s aggressive nature.

  • Mike Krushelnyski

    Reluctently I have come to feel it is time to trade Hemsky. (NOT PENNER). If we can get enough for him! A big strong forward and a usefull defence man/prospect/pick. We have lots of skilled forwards developing with similar or better skill sets then Hemsky, but imagine a 230 pound forward with a mean streak to play opposite wing with Penner.

  • Crash

    You aren’t trading for their pasts. You are trading for their futures. Malkin isn’t the player you think he is anymore. Plus he gets paid a fortune. Face it, Malkin is almost untradeable.

    • Crash

      I agree with you that due to injuries Malkin doesn’t look like the same player. He’s slowed down significantly. My only worry with trying to acquire a guy like that is that while it’s possible for him to recover and then rehab himself into his prime form, more often than not after suffering a series of significant injuries a player doesn’t go back to being as great as he was. I could only name two guys that played at the level they did before injuries derailed their career and that’s Gary Roberts and Mario Lemieux. And both took significant time away from the game to do it.

  • Zamboni Driver

    Okay we’re not going to get Malkin, but I find it hilarious that people are saying not trading Hemsky and Penner for Malkin because

    Malkin MALKIN!

    doesn’t play hard enough.


  • Zamboni Driver

    If we’re going to bring up Malkin’s recent injury history as a means of lowering his trade value, then wouldn’t it be fair to paint Hemsky with the same brush, given that he’s missed many more games due to injury than Malkin has?

    They’re both damaged goods in their own way…except one of them is a top 5 player in the NHL when healthy, while the other is still looking for his first PPG season in his 8th year.

    They simply aren’t in the same class, and it’s not close.

    • Zamboni Driver

      Didn’t mention it because I didn’t think it mattered. What I was saying was just a general statement because I don’t think that deal gets made. It doesn’t make sense as Malkin, when healthy, is a definite top 5 forward in this league. Not so long ago he carried the Penguins when Crosby went down with injury.

      Hemsky for Malkin in any form isn’t possible so I didn’t even think I had to mention Hemsky.

  • Bucknuck

    Malkin is three years younger than Hemsky, has a higher top end, and is a first line centre with a stanley up ring and a Conn Smythe. Malkin is a much better player.

    Hemsky and a first 2012 pick for Malkin would be a win for Edmonton.

    Hemsky and a first 2011 pick would be a win for the Pens.

    Keep Penner out of it.

    What I find funny is how untouchable Penner is now, and if you look back two years everyone was saying Lowe was an idiot and Penner is “untradeable”. I take it he is no longer a huge overpay!? Goes to show that you can never say never.

  • Bucknuck

    Jake, that’s VERY interesting although trades fall through all the time too.

    1. Brophy is an idiot
    2. Was he within earshot of Burke when he heard this rumour?

    Penner for Phillips by itself is a joke.

    Okay… let’s say Spezza is involved, then why would Ottawa make the trade? Who is going to play with Penner and Alfredsson? It would mean a rebuild, so wouldn’t the Sens be looking for picks? So if Spezza is coming, wouldn’t that mean our 1st is going the other way?

    With injuries and goal-tending issues, they can’t be making a run for it, so they’re not buyers.

    Fisher makes no sense either, because again what are they going to replace him with? Is Gagner going the other way too?
    What are they going to give up to make that deal worthwhile? Their first?

    I think LT might be concerned about this rumour because if it has any truth it likely means our 1st overall is in play. And if that is true, then this window shopping has Stu’s blessing.

  • Chris.

    Why fire a bullet now when there’s a chance of getting him for free in the summer (in terms of assets)? I wouldn’t do it. The Oil rely on Penner’s size to complement some of their smaller, skilled forwards. Wait until you know which pick you have and whom you’re gonna take. If it’s Larsson and you think he can play in the bigs right away, having Phillips kicking around would help. If you take RNH, well, Penner’s size will be needed more than ever.

    Don’t make a trade just for the hell of it.

  • Chris.

    “Jake, that’s VERY interesting although trades fall through all the time too.”

    Spoiler, yeah true. Early December was just on the heels of that atrocious road trip when all of our D looked like peewee players, things have stabilized somewhat (use stabilize loosely) since then.

  • Gerald R. Ford

    Captain Obvious is a moron. Malkin isn’t a top 20 player? Not even a top 40 player? Are you kidding us here? You have to change your name to
    Captain Oblivious I think as you sir are an idiot. I’m not saying the Oilers should throw everything away to get him but I cannot sit here and watch as someone makes claims like this. Make a pot of coffee and watch the 2009 Playoffs and then re-write your post. I dare you to feel the same way.