Would You Take Dustin Penner Back?

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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  • 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.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    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.

    • Bucknuck

      I agree with you, Quick. If Penner has the right coach he is a good player. You do not get 32 goals and 60+ points if you are a bad player.

      But, since he is unreliable and unmotivated he is a risk. At 2 million he is worth that risk.

      If you get a 30 goal scorer or that then you are laughing all the way to the bank.

  • a lg dubl dubl

    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.

  • magisterrex

    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.

  • GSP

    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…

  • Oiler Country

    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.

  • 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.

    • Dallylamma

      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?

        • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

          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.

  • GSP

    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.

  • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

    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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

    • DieHard

      I am thinking that Penner would slot in perfectly as a 3rd line winger (R or L) if he came cheap.

      4-93-14
      91-Grig-83
      94-20-27
      55-10-28 (until we can bury Horcoff somewhere and move lander to 3C and Belanger down to 4C)

      Gagner and Omark (if he is worth anything) could be used (along with a draft pick/prospect) to acquire a top 2 defender (this mught be wishful thinking on my part?).

      6-new D
      5-15
      25-58/44/24

      Is that a horrible roster?

  • Oilers89

    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…

  • Neilio

    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.

  • GSP

    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.

  • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

    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.