Oilers Penner and Hemsky talk trades

Dustin Penner and Ales Hemsky know better than to send out their dry cleaning.

And as the trade deadline draws even closer, they’ll know better than to buy green bananas.

As they near the end of their contracts, both can’t help wondering if they’re nearing the end of their time in Edmonton.

Hemsky admitted Wednesday that for the first time since he became an Oiler in 2002, he thinks he might be on the block.

And Penner, well, he’s been on the block since he came here. With one season left before he’s eligible for unrestricted free agency, and his stock value high, his name is definitely coming up.

“It is touch and go, I understand,” said Penner of his situation in advance of the deadline. “They have decisions to make, and my value might be higher than it has been in the past.”

Getting traded in the NHL is like getting hit by the mob; you never hear it coming. So asking the principals what they’ve heard is like asking a rock what it saw.

“Nobody will tell you if you’re getting traded or you’re staying here, especially if you have one year left,” said Hemsky, adding he can see himself in Edmonton long after his contract expires at the end of next year. “Yeah, I could. I’m here and I’m happy. But it depends what (the Oilers) want to do. I have no idea what they want to do. We’ll just have to wait and see.

“It’s a business and if they want to trade me they will do it, no hard feelings, it’s a business.”

Trading either of them now would fetch more than if Edmonton waited till next year’s trade deadline, since the receiving team would get the player (at a reasonable price tag) for longer than one stretch drive.

At the heart of the issue is whether or not Penner and/or Hemsky wants to stay. If they don’t, they’re out the door. If they do, then the decision is Edmonton’s.

The heart-to-heart sit downs between Oilers GM Steve Tambellini and the players haven’t happened yet, which could mean any number of things: The Oilers have already made up their mind; the Oilers don’t plan on trading either; they’re leaving everything till the last minute.

“I don’t really think about it,” said Hemsky. “You guys might hear the rumours, but whatever happens, happens, I can’t control those things. It’s a question for somebody else.

They both can see what’s happening here and wonder how smart it would be to endure Edmonton’s miserable recent history, then bolt just as the team is starting to get good.

Penner compared it to Victoria’s Secret founder Roy Raymund, who invented the company, sold it for $4 million, went broke on subsequent ventures, watched then new owner grow his old company into a $500 million empire, then jumped to his death off the Golden Gate bridge.

Neither will be swinging from their basement rafters if they get moved, but they say the urgency to vacate Edmonton isn’t what it used to be.

“I think they’ve done a lot, they’re on the right track,” said Hemsky. “I’m really happy with what they did and what’s going on around here. We’ve had a tough season, everybody knows where we are, but there are a lot of positive things happening.”


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