Would the Edmonton Oilers be a better team right now with Jarret Stoll, Matt Greene and Dustin Penner than with the players they got for them? The Los Angeles Kings, for the time being at least, most certainly are.
Hindsight being what it is and armchair GMs being what they are, I’m guessing a few Oilers fans watching the Kings roll into the Western Conference final against the Phoenix Coyotes have taken note of the roles Stoll, Greene and Penner have played in the post-season. Wouldn’t they come in handy around here right about now?
Well, maybe. Maybe not. But it’s certainly a fair question to ponder with the benefit of hindsight. Whether you liked what the Oilers got in the trades that sent that trio out of town at the time, second-guessing really is the life-blood of websites like this one, no?
Stoll and Greene, both 28, were dealt to the Kings June 29, 2008 for Lubomir Visnovsky. On March 30, 2010, the Oilers traded Visnovsky to Anaheim for Ryan Whitney and a sixth-round pick that turned into Brandon Davidson.
Last February, the Oilers dealt the enigmatic Penner to the Kings for former first-rounder Colten Teubert, a first-round pick in 2011 they used to take Swede Oscar Klefbom 19th overall and a conditional draft pick this June.
So, Stoll, Greene and Penner for Whitney and his wonky ankle, Teubert and his broken face and three maybes named Klefbom, Davidson and TBA. Did the Oilers blow it?
TIME WILL TELL
The answer, of course, is we don’t know who got the better of the deal in the long-term because we don’t know if Whitney can overcome his ankle issues and return to the form he showed at the start of the 2010-11 season. Likewise, we can’t say for certain what the Oilers have in Teubert, Davidson and the promising Klefbom.
What we can say with some certainty is the trades have worked out just fine for the Kings in the here and now as Stoll, Greene and Penner are all playing significant roles for Los Angeles in the playoffs.
If the Oilers had kept Stoll would they have had to sign Eric Belanger to get the third-line centre who could win face-offs they coveted? Probably not, but while we’re second-guessing, let’s not forget Stoll, who won draws at a 55 per cent clip this season, was coming off some serious concussion issues when he was traded.
Greene, who logged an average of 16:40 in ice time a night as a stay-at-home anchor with the Kings, remains a ham-and-egger, but he plays the kind of mean-as-hell homebody role the Oilers have since tried Jason Strudwick, Jim Vandermeer, Theo Peckham and Andy Sutton, to name just four, in since he left for Tinseltown.
Penner? He had a brutal regular season while struggling with some personal off-ice issues, managing just 7-10-17 in 65 games, but he’s pushed aside the pancakes and been money in the playoffs with seven points in nine games after looking like he was destined for clean-up duty with the El Cid Lounge. I can live without the crazy swings in Penner’s play – I wasn’t unhappy to see him traded – but, mercy, the man can play when he feels like it.
A centre who can win face-offs. A big winger who can score. A stay-at-home defenseman who punishes opposing forwards. If only the Oilers had three guys like that . . .
Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TEAM 1260.