On Friday, the Edmonton Oilers finally put an end to rumours that had been circulating for months, sending David Perron to the Pittsburgh Penguins in exchange for a first round draft pick and Rob Klinkhammer.
Complete deal has Pitt sending a 1st in 2015 and Rob Klinkhammer to the Oilers for David Perron.
— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) January 2, 2015
Perron had been a fixture in the rumour mill for sometime now, with the Penguins generally among the handful of teams speculated as having interest. He’s a nice addition for Pittsburgh, a team which by virtue of their exceptional centres can seemingly turn any 50-point winger into a nearly point-per-game player. As Patric Hornqvist, James Neal and Chris Kunitz can attest, it’s a nice experience.
It’s particularly good timing for the Pens because the roster has been decimated by the mumps. Taylor Chorney (some fans will remember; others will forget because there have been a lot of fringe defencemen in Edmonton over the years) dressed as a forward for Pittsburgh the other night, which says everything that needs to be said about the injury-riddled state of their forward corps.
What About the Oilers?
If I’ve said it once I’ve said it a hundred times: Another late first round pick is exactly what the Oilers need to get this thing turned around.
Remember the Dustin Penner trade? This is a lot like that. There too the Oilers shipped away a legitimate NHL player with a year left on his deal, a player who added some elements that the team did not (and still does not) have in abundance. The return was fair value – a first round pick who became Oscar Klefbom, prospect Colten Teubert and another later pick (which became Daniil Zharkov). The problem with the Penner trade was that it moved a guy who could help in the present for futures – that deal was four years ago and Klefbom is only now finding his way in the majors.
So that late first-round pick is probably five years away from helping. Seriously. Come January 2020, Oilers fans might be raving about the deal, but that still leaves somewhere between three and five years where all Edmonton will likely have to show for Perron is Rob Klinkhammer.
Klinkhammer’s a useful player, though of course he isn’t Perron. He’s very much a Craig MacTavish player – big (6’3″, 214 pounds), physical, defence-minded and shy offensively (his possession numbers aren’t bad, either). He’s a pretty decent checking line left wing, and would probably be right at home next to Boyd Gordon if Matt Hendricks wasn’t already there. Oddly enough, he hasn’t really been used on the penalty kill.
There are two ways of looking at this deal.
One is that the Oilers are the kings of asset management; just like when they traded Chris Pronger for five (count ’em, five!) assets the team has once again managed to get fair value for one of its veterans.
The other way of looking at this trade is that Edmonton is a bad hockey team, that it just got worse, and that it’s going to literally take years for the primary return to have any impact in the NHL (assuming, as always, that the pick turns out).
It’s not a terrible trade, and it’s not at all farfetched to think that Perron perhaps wanted out of Dodge. But at some point the Oilers have to stop resetting the clock, right?