CALGARY, AB — Talk is always cheap, especially as the NHL trade deadline approaches, and buzz persists that Dustin Penner and Ales Hemsky of the Edmonton Oilers are in play.
With much of the NHL focus on Calgary today for the Heritage Classic between the Flames and Montreal Canadiens, the city is full of hockey people and the names of Penner and Hemsky, as you’d expect, come up most often when talk turns to the Oilers.
Whether that talk turns to action is anybody’s guess, but it’s clear that GM Steve Tambellini is talking to teams about them, even if he’s failed to jump into the pre-deadline action to this point.
I don’t know for certain if Tambellini is making as many calls as he’s taking, in other words that’s he’s "shopping" anybody, but I keep hearing two teams — the Los Angeles Kings and the Washington Capitals — in the same sentences as the names Penner and Hemsky.
They’re definitely in play.
Dean Lombardi and the Kings have often been mentioned as suitors for Penner or Hemsky, and that talk persists. Either one would be the fit that Lombardi is looking for to play with Anze Kopitar, although the sense I get is Penner would be the first choice — despite grabbing some pine late in a less-than-inspiring performance against Atlanta.
I had a talk this morning with somebody over breakfast who is of the opinion that Penner would welcome a move, despite everything he said earlier this month about being happy in Edmonton. I recall having the same conversation in the press box at Rexall Place last week.
With Cowtown full of fans wearing Montreal jerseys the past few days, there’s also talk the Canadiens might be interested in Penner. I haven’t heard anything of substance from anybody in the know among Montreal’s travelling contingent, but that’s the word. Ryan Rishaug of TSN has apparently heard the same thing, so there’s some smoke.
Rishaug, in Calgary while Darren Dreger and Bob McKenzie work the phones back in Toronto, is also on the Edmonton-Washington angle as it regards Hemsky. He’s hearing that they’re talking.
So am I.
AND . . .
— With Tambellini saying last week that he wouldn’t put Sheldon Souray on re-entry waivers until he had a solid nibble from teams, we were bracing for news on that front Saturday. So far, nothing. I haven’t heard of any real interest by any team, outside old news about the New York Rangers, who have backed right off and aren’t interested, so Tambellini obviously changed his approach and took a flyer. No harm.
— There’s been a fair amount of speculation that Jim Vandermeer or Kurtis Foster might be the kind of depth players a contending team might be interested in at the deadline. I’d suggest it’s just as likely, maybe more so, Ladislav Smid is generating more discussion between Tambellini and other GMs.
Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TEAM 1260.