Would You Take Dustin Penner Back?

Jonathan Willis
March 06 2012 10:17AM

Dustin Penner is having a horrible season with the Los Angeles Kings. Five goals and 13 points in 48 games isn’t the sort of production Dean Lombardi expected when he traded for him, and it isn’t going to earn Penner – in the final year of his contract – good dollars next season.

Should the Oilers try to sign him to a bargain contract?

Penner’s best season came during 2009-10, a trainwreck of a year for virtually everybody on the Oilers. With Ales Hemsky and Nikolai Khabibulin hurt, AHL-calibre ‘tenders in net and Ryan Potulny on the second line, there was a shortage of good news on the team. Dustin Penner’s 32 goals led the Oilers by a mile (nobody else got 20), as did his 63 points (Sam Gagner, with 41, was the only other player with more than 40), and he had a pretty good follow-up season before getting moved to Los Angeles.

There are some other positives. Penner’s still relatively young; he’s not yet 30. He’s a career 12.6% shooter, shooting at a 5.7% clip this year – in other words, his goal-scoring is likely to rebound. Additionally, issues in his personal life have been made public, issues that might have some bearing on his terrible season. That gives some reason to believe he could rebound next season.

On the other hand, a lot of fans didn’t like Penner even when he was the best offensive player in the lineup. Work ethic has always been something that fans and management have identified as an issue – he was Randy Carlyle’s whipping boy in Anaheim, Craig MacTavish had him on a special exercise regimen in Edmonton, and when Dean Lombardi wasn’t criticizing Jack Johnson he found time to toss Penner under the bus too.

Is the risk of getting an impact player on the cheap worthwhile? Or did you see enough the first time around?

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Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, the Edmonton Journal and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
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#1 James
March 06 2012, 10:21AM
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I would absolutely do it. Penner was a great two-way player; at the very least, he can be had for a bargain K.

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#2 michael
March 06 2012, 10:23AM
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i would at 1.4 to 1-8. Penner has carried the wieght of that contract for 4 years and the expectations that went with it. A revived Dustin Penner in edmonto playing 3rd line minutes may be just what he needs to become successful once again. Its not that he is lazy in my opinion its that he just dosent play the game as a big man should or could be expected tp play. His temper is that of a mashmellow. I would sign him at a reasonable price and see what the market is for Belanger and Eager in the off season. In with old out with the new.

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#3 Andrew
March 06 2012, 10:24AM
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Sign him to a 3rd line role where he should be. Then put him on the PP in front of the net and leave Belanger on the ice.

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#4 Neilio
March 06 2012, 10:24AM
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I'd do it for the right dollars. He as good with Gagner. Mayber he misses us :O

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#5 GSP
March 06 2012, 10:25AM
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If we could get him on a one year deal for say $1-1.5 million I would do it. He would add size to the top 6 and would look good with Gagner & Hemmer on 2nd line.

If it cost any more than that, not interested.

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#6 Rob
March 06 2012, 10:25AM
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I think if a team could land him for 2 mil or less it'd be worth the shot on a very short term contract.

However it's not right for the Oilers. With Hall the #1 LW and PRV needing some top 6 time to get a legitimate chance at producing, it's not right for the oil.

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#7 Teddydubbs
March 06 2012, 10:26AM
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Where the heck is he gonna play? Not a 3rd liner and shouldn't be a top 6 option for this team. 91's gotta get a look as LW on the second line IMO. BiG NO! Barb and Ernies may wish to boost their business though...

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#8 Archaeologuy
March 06 2012, 10:27AM
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My only question would be where to place him. If the Oilers draft a forward this year then we're all out of top 6 spots and I think Smyth gets the 3LW spot. And that ignores the possibility of actually playing Paajarvi in the NHL.

Draft a defenseman and I'd be open to the idea on a short and uber cheap deal.

I liked Penner, but spending 1 minute talking to Penner's agent on July 1 means 1 minute away from a defenseman's agent.

No forward drafted, defense taken care of, and on the cheap I'd do it.

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#9 Dave240
March 06 2012, 10:27AM
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Where do you think he would he fit in the line up?

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#10 Jerconjake
March 06 2012, 10:27AM
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No, but only because Smyth is going to be re-signed and that other LW spot should be Paajarvi's next year. I know Paajarvi hasn't been good this season but I don't know if another full year in the AHL is in the cards for him. He'll get his opportunity in the NHL and have to show whether or not he can stick in a top-nine role.

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Where does hit fit on this roster?

I don't mind bringing him back, but he's a guy that you sign in August not July 1st.

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#12 Westcoastoil
March 06 2012, 10:28AM
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Pass. All the tools, but no sustained effort. Let someone else take him on as a reclamation project. I'd rather have a Paajarvi or Harski working their tail off to be in the line up.

Speaking of line up - now that the team Tambi assembled is finally healthy and everyone is playing we've lost 3 in a row.

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#14 Oiler Country
March 06 2012, 10:31AM
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Not only would I not take him back, I would buy unlimited pancakes at the local IHOP to make him stay away.

He is not a top 6. He is not a good hockey player.

Words that describe Dustin Penner the hockey player:

apathetic, asleep on the job, careless, comatose, dallying, dilatory, drowsy, dull, flagging, idle, inattentive, indifferent, indolent, inert, lackadaisical, laggard, lagging, languid, languorous, lethargic, lifeless, loafing, neglectful, out of it, passive, procrastinating, remiss, shiftless, slack, sleepy, slothful, slow, slow-moving, snoozy, somnolent, supine, tardy, tired, torpid, trifling, unconcerned, unenergetic, unindustrious, unpersevering, unready, weary

and fin.

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#15 Shredder
March 06 2012, 10:32AM
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I would focus on dmen before looking at forward depth...Penner would certainly be a big step up from Petrell on the 4th/3rd/2nd line, but only at the right price. If we can get him for 1.5 for 3 years, that's a great deal. Otherwise, let's spend some money on D, because our strength is rushing the opposing team, and that happens best if a dman turns the puck over. We need some skill guys on the blue line to make that happen more frequently...Penner wouldn't be a huge upgrade, and really I think that ship has sailed. If I were Penner I would not be keen on coming back here based on the fact that they traded me to a team that didn't work out. Plus it was the Oilers who put the huge expectations on the man in the first place with the big RFA offer sheet...

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Jonathan Willis wrote:

If you've got Penner signed cheap, you could stick him with Smyth and Horcoff on the the third line RW, and bump him up if his play warranted it.

Of course, there's a pretty decent chance that one of the top-9 will be leaving town for a defenseman.

Has he ever played RW? Penner isn't exactly the type of guy you want to be teaching a new position.

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#18 mayorpoop
March 06 2012, 10:36AM
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no. never. not a chance. stupid stupid idea.

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#19 magisterrex
March 06 2012, 10:39AM
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If I was getting the Penner that drove the puck to the net using his size, AND at a bargain-basement contract, absolutely. Put him on the second line and watch as he clears space for RNH's magic.

The bottom six is the real problem on this team; too many bodies and no chemistry.

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#20 TrentonL
March 06 2012, 10:39AM
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Yes no question i would sign him on the cheap. This is the kind of reclamation project that works, not the Barker kind.

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Jonathan Willis wrote:

He actually played 3rd line RW for a while under MacT when he was trying Pisani at centre.

I'm sure I saw him play RW on other occasions too.

Obviously it was short lived. Like I said if he is around come August and you can't find anyone else then fine sign him. But he brings very little to what this team needs to be making him a priority on July 1st.

David Jones is who we should target if we are looking for a bigger bodied RW.

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#22 a lg dubl dubl
March 06 2012, 10:48AM
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Id say sure but only if ST isn't going to resign Jones,Penner is a bigger version of Ryan probably put up the same amount of points. 2mil for 2yrs would be ok in my books for Mr IHOP.

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#23 Westcoastoil
March 06 2012, 10:49AM
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Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach wrote:

Obviously it was short lived. Like I said if he is around come August and you can't find anyone else then fine sign him. But he brings very little to what this team needs to be making him a priority on July 1st.

David Jones is who we should target if we are looking for a bigger bodied RW.

Exactly. Get a kid like Jones who is burning to play not Penner who has made almost $14M and clearly doesn't have the drive. How hard is he going to work on the 3rd line, and while I believe he was popular do you want a lazy player in the room.

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#24 oilbaron
March 06 2012, 10:50AM
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2 year 2 way deal at 1.75 both ways. hahaha or not

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#25 Next up, is Connor McJesus.
March 06 2012, 11:03AM
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He won a cup playing on the third/fourth line in Anaheim, so why not again here. If he doesn't have those top 6 expectations placed on him he would probably be fine. With injuries the Oilers already know he could see spot duty in the top 6 if needed. Penner can be an effective player if he's not burdened with the expectations that accompanies a large contract. The Oilers created this mess by giving him a 20 mill over 5 yr deal. Oilersnation could solve alot of the Oiler issues....but it can't fix stoopyd.

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#26 nunyour
March 06 2012, 11:06AM
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don't we have enough slow lazy players?

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#27 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
March 06 2012, 11:06AM
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I'd take him in a heart beat as long as it's one year deals.

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#28 Jesse
March 06 2012, 11:07AM
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Signing a player who is very likely to bounce back to a reasonably sort-term, value contract seems like a real Detroit-thing-to-do (ie. a savvy move). However, the oilers already have a logjam on LW. It's sort of a question of who do want to be a part of your future, PRV/Omark or Penner? I think well developed youngsters like Omark (2nd LW), Paajarvi (2/3 LW), and Harski (3/4 LW) are the ideal. With Smyth playing the role of the transitional veteran in the meantime, unfortunately there's no room for Penner. Someone's gonna get great value for him though.

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#29 Horcsky
March 06 2012, 11:14AM
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IMO, if the contract is right, Penner is exactly the player you want on the third line. Why does he have to be top six?

Food for thought: would you let go of Smyth to make room for Penner? I would at least consider it.

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#30 Eric
March 06 2012, 11:14AM
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Everyone talks about top-6, but it would be nice to have a top-9. Could be real dangerous with three quality lines and some grinders rounding out top-12. Of course, we still need to sign Suter.

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#31 The Soup Fascist
March 06 2012, 11:20AM
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If Ollie can make it back to Calgary .... (still can't believe that one actually happened) .... then anything is possible. When Penner was motivated and focused he was very good. Kinda like a solar eclipse, the rare time you saw it, you knew it was special. (Insert requisite Eclipse / Pancake joke here). Problem is - as others have mentioned - not sure where you play him. If he does come in motivated and plays on your top 6 then Paajarvi (right or wrong) is relegated to another year of tire spinning.

If Penner is in your bottom 6 who does he replace? Horcoff (unless we tap our ruby slippers together and move him and his contract), Smyth, Eager, Lander, Paajarvi (unless he is in the top 6) are locks.

Belanger can't easily be moved. Jones is a fan favorite and arguably very effective. Plus you need to account for anyone moving up from OKC including Omark or Hartikainen). So to take Penner (and his baggage) you need to walk away from Petrell and / or Hordi plus leave some young guys in the minors or trade Ryan Jones. Certainly it can be done, but to me the risk is greater than the reward. As mentioned above if as a GM I could get David Jones (also having a down year) for similar money, I am increasing odds of success and reducing the chances of looking like a bigger schmoe than I already do.

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#32 Dallylamma
March 06 2012, 11:20AM
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I'd take him back on the condition that he has to live with Joey Moss and film a buddy-cop style reality show with him for the duration of his contract.

That would be gold.

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#33 Wanye
March 06 2012, 11:22AM
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MY 2008 ARTICLES CONTINUE TO BE RELEVANT!*

*Reading the commenters that were here back in '08 is like going to a high school reunion

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#34 nofool6110
March 06 2012, 11:33AM
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Absofreakinglutely, but not because he's Penner, but because he fits my bill of what this team needs.

Watch Eberle and RNH in these last few games not on the powerplay (so basically, the whole game). They're damn good players, we all know that, but they enter the zone against the Dallases or the Phoenixes and are rubbed off by the Yandles and Sourays of the league.

Say what you will about playing Paajarvi there - he hasn't cut it this season. Smyth was good when he had legs. Jones, I think, is better suited to a third line role, but I still don't know why he hasn't been tested there...

Penner creates space, it's what he does. Beyond that, he can convert a pass, which Petrell really hasn't been able to do...

Fine, I'll just spit it out: I BELIEVE IN PANCAKES. BRING HIM BACK.

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#35 VK63
March 06 2012, 11:33AM
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Sure.. why not. its good to have diverse skill sets and body types when picking the annual goat.

On a team full of impressionable kids a notorious slacker is always a perfect fit.

White guys that listen to rap music is totally what edmonton needs more of.

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#36 hamzinoilcntry
March 06 2012, 11:37AM
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Yes I think if the price is right you gotta try for him. He can be so effective when he wants to be. Maybe some heart and soul time with rayn Smyth can help him refind his groove. *plus i could dust of Penner jersey in closet*

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#37 Dman09
March 06 2012, 11:49AM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

If you've got Penner signed cheap, you could stick him with Smyth and Horcoff on the the third line RW, and bump him up if his play warranted it.

Of course, there's a pretty decent chance that one of the top-9 will be leaving town for a defenseman.

I find this very interesting. We all know that Tambo has said his number 1 task in the off season is to find a #1-2 dman and I can't imagine any way he could do it without getting rid of a roster player. MPS really hasn't played well and in reality hasn't earned another trip to the NHL unless he really lights things up in training camp and pre-season, same goes for Lander.

Now assuming they do trade for a dman and they decide not to resign Petrell, How would a third line with Omark, Penner and likely horcoff look?

We all know that Penner can finish a play, 30 goals shows that. Omark and Horcoff working the boards and penner sitting infront of the net. It actually sounds like a pretty damn good idea to me.

Also Tambo seems unwilling to part with any of the young players, I don't blame him, which leads me to wonder who would be heading out of town. Jones, Eager, Belanger...... Can you really make anything trade worthy from these guys and draft picks?

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#38 mayorpoop
March 06 2012, 11:50AM
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for real this topic is insanity.

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#39 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
March 06 2012, 11:57AM
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mayorpoop wrote:

for real this topic is insanity.

Insanity is turning your nos up to a quality defensive player with a resonable shot at 20+ goals and 40+ points when you can get him for dirt cheap.

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#40 book¡e
March 06 2012, 12:02PM
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Maybe - I would want to know more about his impact on dressing room chemistry. If he is not particularly disruptive, then I would be happy to sign him.

He could start next year with a clean slate and something to prove. If he is cheap enough, then its not a big deal if he finds himself on the third line for most of the year.

I liked the Penner trade at the time, but I also really like Dustin Penner as a hockey player.

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#41 Robin Brownlee
March 06 2012, 12:08PM
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“He’s at the crossroads of his career. He can choose with his athletic ability to be one of the dominant power forwards in the National Hockey League or he can be a dominant number four hitter for the El Cid Lounge in a men’s softball league.”

--Dean Lombardi on Penner

Penner still hasn't figured it out. And you can probably plug in a dozen names of coaches and teammates who've echoed the same sentiment about Penner over the past 5-7 years.

Please, enough with excuses why Penner is having such a terrible season with the Kings. Was his marriage on the rocks two years ago? Three? How about when he was single? And poor Penner, when he first got to Edmonton he was still tired from a short summer after a Stanley Cup run with Anaheim. You can't expect a guy to earn his salary after that. Mac-T was mean to him. The dog ate his homework. What is this, Enablers Anonymous? Please, move on.

Besides, the El Cid Lounge will want draft picks for his rights.

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#42 TrentonL
March 06 2012, 12:12PM
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Penner has been a victim of three things during his time in LA:

1) SH% - 5.5% in LA vs. 12.6% career 2) PDO - .975 on a low on ice sh% of 5.08 3) Tossed in the coach's doghouse because he is big and doesn't look like he is trying.

As far as I am concerned I'd rather take Penner who is effective but having bad luck and has a style people don't like over a Jones who looks like he is doing stuff while falling all over the ice but "tries hard" so he is a fan favorite.

Cue the Jones fanboys who fail to realize that he will score at or less than 20g/35p this year marking his career high vs. Penner who topped out at 32g/63p.

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#43 Aunt Jemima
March 06 2012, 12:14PM
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I WOULD TAKE PENNERCAKES OVER PRV ALL DAY ER DAY CAN'T STOP WON'T STOP

Why does everyone think that PRV is that good and deserving to be an oiler? If he's really that good should he be killing it in ahl? It's time to wake up and smell the winterbreeze.

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#44 mayorpoop
March 06 2012, 12:15PM
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@OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

your definition of reasonable is from 2yrs ago and better. why not go after Cheechoo he got 50 once. or how about Blake he got 40 once.

quality defensive? really? how is his year this year. remember when we all complained he was soft? or lazy? or slow?

let's move on from the recycle mode.

jeez already let's make like a grown up team and make decisions to win.

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#45 Dman09
March 06 2012, 12:17PM
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TrentonL wrote:

Penner has been a victim of three things during his time in LA:

1) SH% - 5.5% in LA vs. 12.6% career 2) PDO - .975 on a low on ice sh% of 5.08 3) Tossed in the coach's doghouse because he is big and doesn't look like he is trying.

As far as I am concerned I'd rather take Penner who is effective but having bad luck and has a style people don't like over a Jones who looks like he is doing stuff while falling all over the ice but "tries hard" so he is a fan favorite.

Cue the Jones fanboys who fail to realize that he will score at or less than 20g/35p this year marking his career high vs. Penner who topped out at 32g/63p.

agreed, I laughed at the whole Hartnell falls thing because in reality Jones would put him out of business in that stat.

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#46 Robin Brownlee
March 06 2012, 12:18PM
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"Penner has been a victim . . ."

Poor Dustin Penner. Again.

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#47 Dman09
March 06 2012, 12:21PM
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Aunt Jemima wrote:

I WOULD TAKE PENNERCAKES OVER PRV ALL DAY ER DAY CAN'T STOP WON'T STOP

Why does everyone think that PRV is that good and deserving to be an oiler? If he's really that good should he be killing it in ahl? It's time to wake up and smell the winterbreeze.

I'm a big PRV fan and I do think he will be a good NHL player some day but as of right now he has not earned a place on the team and it shouln't be handed to him. Players need to earn their NHL time esecially with the amount of money they make.

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#48 Greg Stink | ESPN
March 06 2012, 12:29PM
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This would absolutely make sense if the Oilers (somehow) end up trading two of their younger forward prospects (Paajarvi/Omark types) in a package for a #1 Defensemen. I think Penner would be much better back with the Oilers than he's shown the last 12 months. But yes, only for 1M-2M on a 1 or 2 year deal.

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#49 Pucker
March 06 2012, 12:31PM
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Sign him to a reasonable contract then trade him for a first round draft pick.

. . . someone will sign him for an overpay potential based contract. Pass.

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#50 Dyckster
March 06 2012, 12:35PM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

“He’s at the crossroads of his career. He can choose with his athletic ability to be one of the dominant power forwards in the National Hockey League or he can be a dominant number four hitter for the El Cid Lounge in a men’s softball league.”

--Dean Lombardi on Penner

Penner still hasn't figured it out. And you can probably plug in a dozen names of coaches and teammates who've echoed the same sentiment about Penner over the past 5-7 years.

Please, enough with excuses why Penner is having such a terrible season with the Kings. Was his marriage on the rocks two years ago? Three? How about when he was single? And poor Penner, when he first got to Edmonton he was still tired from a short summer after a Stanley Cup run with Anaheim. You can't expect a guy to earn his salary after that. Mac-T was mean to him. The dog ate his homework. What is this, Enablers Anonymous? Please, move on.

Besides, the El Cid Lounge will want draft picks for his rights.

~Soooooo you think The Oil should give it a shot then, Robin?~

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