Oilers send forward Perron to Penguins for Klinkhammer, first-round pick
New York Rangers' Rick Nash (61) and Edmonton Oilers' David Perron (57) battle for the puck during first period NHL hockey action in Edmonton, Alta., on Sunday December 14, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
The Canadian Press
Published Friday, January 2, 2015 12:52PM EST
Last Updated Friday, January 2, 2015 2:19PM EST
In the first step of what could be a long rebuilding process, the Edmonton Oilers traded left-winger David Perron to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday for a 2015 first-round draft pick and centre Rob Klinkhammer.
Perron wasn't the last-place Oilers' biggest problem in a season that has gone even worse than expected. What the 26-year-old represented was the best chance for general manager Craig MacTavish to acquire assets for the near future.
Edmonton is already a strong contender in the Connor McDavid sweepstakes. If the Penguins win the Metropolitan Division or reach the Stanley Cup final, the pick the Oilers are getting will be late in the first round, so it could be used in a future trade.
Klinkhammer is a depth centre who began the season with the Arizona Coyotes before being dealt to Pittsburgh for defensive prospect Philip Samuelsson. The Lethbridge, Alta., native has four goals and two assists in 29 games this year and 39 points in 139 career NHL games.
The 28-year-old may not be a long-term solution, but he could allow the Oilers to send 19-year-old Leon Draisaitl back to junior. The team recalled centre Anton Lander from Oklahoma City of the AHL on Thursday.
Klinkhammer has a salary-cap hit of US$625,000 and is set to be an unrestricted free agent this summer.
One of the Oilers' biggest issues has been the lack of a No. 2 centre behind Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. They recently acquired Derek Roy from the Nashville Predators in exchange for Mark Arcobello.
In getting a first-round pick for Perron, who's signed through 2015-'16 at a salary-cap hit of $3.81 million, the Oilers made good use of a player who was capable of producing but not turning the franchise around.
The 26-year-old had five goals and 15 assists in 38 games this season.
Perron, who has 117 goals and 157 assists in 456 games with the Oilers and St. Louis Blues, goes from a team stuck in the Western Conference basement to one that is a perennial playoff contender. The Sherbrooke, Que., native could play on the wing in Pittsburgh with either Sidney Crosby or Evgeni Malkin.
"It's a new chapter for me and I get a chance to hopefully go really deep in the playoffs," Perron said.
The Penguins (23-9-5) enter Friday's games just one point behind first-place Tampa Bay in the Eastern Conference.