PITTSBURGH, NOV. 24 -- Paul Coffey, the all-star NHL defenseman who has been the subject of trade rumors since he refused to report to Edmonton in a contract dispute, was dealt to the Pittsburgh Penguins today in a seven-player deal in which the Oilers obtained standout center Craig Simpson.
The defending Stanley Cup-champion Oilers also acquired veterans Dave Hannan and Moe Mantha and 18-year-old defenseman Chris Joseph for Coffey, left wing Dave Hunter and minor leaguer Wayne Van Dorp.
At an evening news conference to introduce Coffey, Penguins General Manager Eddie Johnston disclosed that Pittsburgh also laid the groundwork for possible acquisition of free-agent goalie Andy Moog, another Oiler locked in a contract dispute.
"He's a world-class player," Johnson said of Coffey, 26, a two-time Norris Trophy winner as the NHL's best defenseman. "He's going to look great in black and gold."
Coffey will be in uniform Wednesday night for the Penguins' home game against the Quebec Nordiques. The NHL record-holder for goals by a defenseman -- with 48 in 1985-86 -- Coffey hasn't played since helping Team Canada win the Canada Cup championship this fall.
Coffey asked to be traded in September after Oilers General Manager Glen Sather and owner Peter Pocklington refused to renegotiate his contract, which has two years remaining at the Canadian rate of $325,000 a year. The Penguins did not say what contract arrangements they have made with Coffey.
Simpson, 21, has emerged as the Penguins' best player after all-star center Mario Lemieux. Playing center and both left and right wing, the 1985 first-round draft pick has 13 goals and 13 assists in 26 games.
Coffey is considered by many to be the premier point man in the NHL. He was fifth in scoring among defensemen with 17 goals and 50 assists last season despite missing 21 games with injury. He won the Norris Trophy in 1985 and 1986.
A five-time all-star, he holds or shares 18 Oilers regular-season and playoff records and the NHL record with a 17-game assist streak.
Philadelphia, the New York Rangers, Detroit and St. Louis reportedly had bid for Coffey, who helped lead the Oilers to three Stanley Cup championships in the past four seasons. Sather finally traded after originally asking for Simpson, defenseman Doug Bodger and a No. 1 draft choice.
As for Moog, "If they decide to trade him, we get the first crack at him," Johnston said. The goalie joined the Canadian Olympic program after failing to come to terms with Edmonton, and would not be available until after the Winter Games in Calgary in February.