At the start of perhaps the most stressful day of the year for NHL players and management, the Oilers attempted to keep the mood light with an upbeat practice at Rexall Place.
The on-ice activities included a few quick drills, five-on-five and three-on-three scrimmages, and then a shootout showdown.
With head coach Tom Renney assisting general manager Steve Tambellini in his trade discussions away from the rink, associate coach Ralph Krueger ran the practice.
"There's been a lot of talk within the group in the last few weeks, and it's kind of culminated this morning. We felt it in the energy and you've got to react to that, let the guys flow and get a good sweat and get this day over with," he said.
As Krueger could likely anticipate, the day had only just begun.
Shortly after 11am local time, two hours shy of the trade deadline, the Oilers made their first move.
In exchange for defenceman Shawn Belle, the club acquired another young defenceman, Kevin Montgomery, from the Colorado Avalanche. The 22-year-old has appeared in 51 games this season with the AHL's Lake Erie Monsters, recording 19 points and 34 penalty minutes.
Read the Montgomery press release
ALL THE KINGS MEN?
Shortly after the Montgomery trade, rumours started to fly about Dustin Penner being traded to Los Angeles. 15 minutes before the deadline, the Oilers confirmed that they had acquired 21-year-old blueliner Colten Teubert and two Kings draft picks in exchange for the big winger.
Read the Teubert press release
"Over the last, I'd say, 48 hours, discussions with a few teams with regards to Dustin were taken place and then it became quite evident that the return was going to fit into what we're trying to do here," Tambellini explained. "We have to give up a good player but (we got) the first round pick, the first-round prospect of a defenceman that we don't have a lot of."
In Teubert, the GM expects a solid young defencemen that will bolster the Oklahoma City Barons this season and add to the organization's defensive depth.
"I think his strengths are going to be one of compete, he has great leadership qualities, he's a good person, and I would say a predictable puck-moving type of player," Tambellini said. "He's been involved with Team Canada at a high level, he's played with Jordan Eberle, he's not fun to play against. We need a lot more of that."
Tambellini added that the organization is also pleased with the first-round and conditional third-round draft picks they acquired in the trade.
"(Head Scout) Stu MacGregor, he's an excited man today," he said. "This is the time in the growth of our organization to have those type of assets. This is the right time, and I think we had to recognize that this fits in. Maybe five years from now, this doesn't make sense, but right now, this is exactly what we need."
Penner expressed surprise at being traded.
|Dustin Penner addresses the media for the first time as an LA King. |
"I don't think anything can prepare you for something like this," he told the media. "I'm sad to leave. I think, like everybody here, I felt like we were building something together. I didn't expect to get traded. It's interesting. I haven't been in this position before and especially being at the rink, so it's been kind of a daze."
Andrew Cogliano had nothing but good things to say about his now-departed teammate.
"I really enjoy Pens and him being around the room and playing, he's been great here," Cogliano said. "For him, it's good. He's going to a team where they're in a playoff hunt, he's familiar with some of the guys on the team, so I'm happy for him and hopefully he does a good job."
Tambellini expects his club to adapt well to Penner's absence, starting tomorrow night vs Nashville.
"I expect them to compete to win every night, just like we said at the beginning of the year. Does it mean more time for Taylor and Jordan and Magnus Paajarvi? Maybe. Or does it mean time where you see someone come up from the minors to get some extra time? We have lots of offensive strength along with Ales (Hemsky), that we should be able to handle anything that we play right now."
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In the latest edition of our fan question series, Shelley Fleming of Edmonton submitted a question for Shawn Horcoff.
SHELLEY: "What outlook do you put forth to your teammates, especially the rookies, with the team now playing "spoiler?"
SHAWN: "When you're playing at this time of year, the majority of teams are going to be in a fight for playoffs, for position in the standings, and getting their games geared up. Hockey really starts to pick up this time of year, so it's going to be a really good challenge for us and the young guys to get a taste of high-intensity games.
"I thought last night (vs the Bruins) was a good example of that. They came out in the first period and they're obviously one of the best teams in the league and one of the best in the east, and they really had their intensity at a different level than we were prepared to match with four lines.
"There's always things to play for. There's jobs to play for here, there's pride. We obviously feel like we're going to go somewhere here in the future and you want to be a part of that, us veterans alike, so there's plenty to play for."
Fill out the form on the right to submit a question for one of the Oilers. We will ask one of the submitted questions after the next practice and will post the answer in the next Team Today.
Author: Jen Sharpe | edmontonoilers.com, with files from Bob Stauffer & Tom Gazzola