The rumours in recent weeks had Dustin Penner going just about everywhere, but it was the Los Angeles Kings who ended up snagging the big scoring forward from the Edmonton Oilers before the NHL trade deadline Monday.
The Oilers got defence prospect Colten Teubert, a first-round draft pick in 2011 and a conditional 2012 second rounder for the 28-year-old Penner.
It was the biggest move of an interesting, but not very active, deadline day that also saw the Washington Capitals pick up veteran centre Jason Arnott from New Jersey and defenceman Dennis Wideman from Florida.
In all, 35 players and 12 draft picks changed hands in the 16 deals made before the 3 p.m. ET cutoff, the lowest total since 23 players were dealt in 12 transactions on deadline day in 2000.
The Panthers were the busiest team, moving four players—Wideman, Radek Dvorak, Bryan Allen, Chris Higgins—to go along with the three they had already dealt away in recent days. But they didn’t deal goaltender Tomas Vokoun, who can become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.
Dallas Stars centre Brad Richards also stayed put.
The Vancouver Canucks bolstered their depth by picking up two former Montreal Canadiens, Higgins and Maxim Lapierre, while Ottawa sent defenceman Chris Campoli and a conditional 2012 pick to Chicago for prospect Ryan Potulny and a second rounder. The Senators also claimed goalie Curtis McElhinney off waivers from the Tampa Bay Lightning.
The six-foot-four, 245-pound Penner still owns a home in California from his time with the Anaheim Ducks, with whom he won a Stanley Cup in 2007.
The Winkler, Man., native arrived in Edmonton the following season sporting a US$21 million, five-year contract that has one more season to run. After scoring 23 goals his in his first campaign with the Oilers, Penner dipped to 17 in 2008-09 before rebounding last season with career-highs of 32 goals and 63 points.
He has 21 goals in 61 games in 2010-11 and was sought by just about every team looking for offence.
“I came here with a big contract,” Penner said in Edmonton after the deal was completed. “That also comes with big expectations and if I tried to meet everyone’s expectations I would drive myself insane.
“So I focused on becoming more consistent, and a player who could play every position. I think I’m on my way to that. I’m not there yet and it’s too bad I won’t be able to do it here.”
The move gives the rebuilding Oilers another first rounder and a promising defenceman in the six-foot-four, 195-pound Teubert, who likes to play a physical game. Teubert, picked 13th overall in 2008, was playing for Manchester in the American Hockey League.
Edmonton also dealt Shawn Belle to Colorado for Kevin Montgomery in a swap of minor-league defencemen.
The Capitals got exactly what they were seeking in Arnott, who can slot in as second-line centre, and Wideman, who can play the point in the absence of the injured Mike Green.
“Dennis Wideman is a good power-play guy, a good puck mover,” said Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau.
Washington sent forward prospect Jake Hauswirth and a third-round pick to Florida for Wideman and shipped fourth-line centre David Steckel and a second rounder to New Jersey for Arnott.
The Canucks got Lapierre and minor-league centre MacGregor Sharp from Anaheim for minor-leaguer Joel Perreault and a 2012 third-round pick. They shipped forward Evan Oberg and a third rounder to the Panthers for Higgins.
Both Lapierre and Higgins bring speed and a decent defensive game, although neither is a big scorer. Lapierre, an agitator who likes to get under opponents’ skin, had no goals and three assists in 21 games for Anaheim after they picked him up in a Dec. 31 trade with Montreal. Higgins had 11 goals and 12 assists in 48 games for Florida.
“With Chris Higgins we have a player that can move up and down the lineup,” said Canucks general manager Mike Gilles. “With Max Lapierre we have a third-line/fourth-line player that can play with some grit and sandpaper and add a different dimension that we don’t currently have.”
The Blackhawks werethin on defence with a recent injury to Jordan Hendry and reached out to Ottawa for the puck-moving Campoli.
Potulny had 49 points in 58 games for AHL Rockford and no points in three games for Chicago this season. The Blackhawks have three second-round picks this year and they will decide no later than 48 hours before the draft in June which they will give up in the deal.
McElhinney had been traded to Tampa Bay by Anaheim on Feb. 24 but didn’t play for the Lightning. He was 6-9-1 with a 3.43 goals-against average in 21 games this season.
The Calgary Flames were not expected to be active, but they sent a seventh rounder to Atlanta for 36-year-old winger Fredrik Modin, a dependable veteran whose production has slowed from his career-high 31 goals with Tampa Bay in 2005-06.
The Flames also claimed blue-liner Brett Carson from Carolina on waivers.
Carson has played 72 games over the last three seasons for the Hurricanes. His acquisition gets Calgary back to eight healthy defencemen after losing Adam Pardy to injury.
“We believe we have filled out our depth on the blue-line,” Flames general manager Jay Feaster said of the move.
As well as Higgins and Wideman, the rebuilding Panthers sent Allen to Carolina and Dvorak to the Atlanta.
Florida general manager Dale Tallon had dealt away veterans Bryan McCabe, Cory Stillman and Michael Frolik earlier this month.
He sent Dvorak and a fifth rounder to Atlanta for 23-year-old Niclas Bergfors and 32-year-old journeyman Patrick Rissmiller, while Allen went to the Hurricanes for veteran winger Sergei Samsonon.
The deals have left the rebuilding Panthers with 11 picks in the 2011 draft, including eight in the first three rounds.
“We continue to set ourselves up to have another franchise-building draft this summer,” Tallon said in a statement. “Our confidence in our current corps of defencemen—both in the NHL and throughout our organization—allowed us to make (the Wideman) trade and acquire another high pick in the 2011 draft.”
Another deal saw the Columbus trade away defenceman Rostislav Klesla, the last original Blue Jacket, to the Phoenix Coyotes for forward Scottie Upshall and defenceman Sami Lepisto. Klesla was the Jackets’ inaugural draft pick in their first season in 2000.
The 27-year-old Upshall has 16 goals this season while 26-year-old Lepisto has four goals and seven assists. Upshall can become an unrestricted free agent this summer while Lepisto will be a restricted free agent. Klesla is signed through 2013-14.
The Montreal Canadiens picked up minor-league goalie Drew MacIntyre from Atlanta for Brett Festerling—the minor-league defenceman they acquired from Anaheim for Lapierre.
Canadiens GM Pierre Gauthier’s only other moves in recent weeks were to pick up veteran Brent Sopel and Paul Mara to shore up an injury-plagued defence. MacIntyre will replace the injured Curtis Sanford with AHL Hamilton.
The Toronto Maple Leafs also made their big moves early in the trading season and on deadline day. They sent minor-leaguer John Mitchell to the New York Rangers for a seventh-round pick on Monday.
The Los Angeles Kings signed forward Justin Williams to a four-year contract extension worth US$14.6 million.
In other deadline deals:
—Boston acquired G Anton Khudobin from Minnesota for D Jeff Penner and the rights to F Mikko Lehtonen.
—Anaheim acquired Brad Winchester from St. Louis for a third-round pick in 2012.
—Philadelphia acquired F Tom Sestito from Columbus for F Michael Chaput and F Greg Moore.
This is a corrected story. A previous version had the total number of draft picks traded at 14.