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20 and 11 - Dustin Penner and Clarke MacArthur

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Is this one of the future leaders of the Maple Leafs?
Is this one of the future leaders of the Maple Leafs?

Yesterday's biggest trade came when the Edmonton Oilers moved Dustin Penner to the Los Angeles Kings for Colten Teubert and some magic beans. Needless to say, Oilers fans worth listening to are not pleased with the trade. The main complaint is that Steve Tambellini and Kevin Lowe are incompetent. It's hard to argue when you look at how they turned the centre piece of the Chris Pronger trade into nothing or when the alleged general manager doesn't seem to be aware that the main piece in his latest deal might be struggling this year.

The main reason these guys will get to see the fruits of the ruin they've wrought? The compliant local media that seemingly cannot  do anything more than parrot the company line. The second reason? Because they've followed the conventional wisdom that we've heard for so long: "Chicago tanked for a few years and won a Cup! Same with Pittsburgh!" There's never any discussion about the flip side of the rebuilding coin which only the clued in fans ever note. For every Pittsburgh there's a New York Islanders or Atlanta Thrashers. For every Chicago there's a St. Louis, a Columbus Blue Jackets or a Florida Panthers who are once more rebuilding. The main goal of a rebuild is not rocket science:

Keep your good players and add more. It' really pretty straight forward. Trading everyone over 21 guarantees that the team will be worse and also guarantees that those guys who are still around will get out as soon as they can.

- Black Dog Hates Skunks

 Dustin Penner will be 28 years old when next season starts. If you type his name into the search bar on Copper N Blue you'll find the most extensive collection of writing proving that he is a valuable player. He would have continued to draw the toughest assignments and provide cover for the younger wingers while they develop into NHLers. By all accounts, he was a great guy. Joey Moss was apparently devastated by the trade. Worst of all, knowing that Penner has another year on his contract, it sounds like Tambellini didn't even bother finding out if Penner would want to stick around and help the rebuild. So where's the Noon Number come into play? Over the past four seasons, only 20 wingers have scored more goals than Dustin Penner. Shorten that window to this season and last and that number shrinks to 11.

How does that apply to Clarke MacArthur? Brian Burke could have flipped him for a package of futures. There's little doubt about that. However, rather than bow to the prevailing conventional wisdom and make the trade, Burke is going to use his time to try to keep a player who is good now rather than try to get more magic beans. Burke is in the process of negotiating a new deal with a player that has repeatedly said that he wanst to stay in Toronto and that he recognizes the opportunity he has been given. Burke has also stated that he's glad to go to arbitration. The latter would give the Leafs an entire year to evaluate MacArthur, negotiate a new contract if he wants, or, if he still cannot make a deal, then move him for assets. Unlike Penner, if he's ultimately moved the Leafs will still get one more productive year out of him.

Burke has sifted a lot of coal over the past two and a half years and it's good to see that he's taking the time to figure out if that shiny object is a diamond. There was no need for him to make a knee-jerk move for the sake of making moves or to sacrifice common sense on the altar of conventional wisdom.