February 12 2013 08:04AM
It looks like once again Dustin Penner has fallen into disfavor. The 6’4” winger has played in just four of Los Angeles’ 11 games this season, and his name is starting to crop up in trade rumours.
From Elliotte Friedman’s always excellent “30 Thoughts” column on Monday, after asking which players might be available via trade:
Another player of interest is Dustin Penner. He's really in the doghouse with just three games played [note: Penner played Monday night]. If the Kings so desired, there would certainly be a market. He's on a one-year deal. Hard to pin down many more names. Some teams don't want to deal excess players because depth is critical. Very few teams are out of it, which prevents fire sales, and with the cap going down to $64.3 million US in 2013-14, you don't want to add a big salary if you can avoid it. Maybe things loosen up in the next week or so.
This is familiar territory for Penner, who was in this same position a year ago – a frequent healthy scratch, struggling to work his way back into his coach’s good books. Darryl Sutter challenged him to “work his ass off” at the time and Penner responded well, becoming an important support player for the Kings in the playoffs, and ultimately winning a Stanley Cup with the team and earning a new contract – a one-year, $3.25 million deal.
Penner has responded with good humour, and says he’s in a better situation now than he was a year ago:
It's fine. It's not something I'm seeking counseling about… I'm in a good place professionally, mentally and emotionally. It's a lot easier to take this now than it was last year.
Will somebody take a chance on him? Penner’s generally a better player than he gets credit for even when he isn’t scoring, he has size (listed at 6’4”, 242lbs), he’s on a short-term deal, but more important than all that is this: he’s one of the very few guys who might be able to positively impact a team without requiring a massive return to land him.
Should the Oilers take a chance on him? I think the question is probably academic - I'm guessing that ship has long since sailed.