Dustin Penner: On the trade market again

Jonathan Willis
February 12 2013 08:04AM

Photo: Sidmeister78/Wikimedia

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.

Recently by Jonathan Willis

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Jonathan Willis is Managing Editor of the Nation Network. He also currently writes for the Edmonton Journal's Cult of Hockey, Grantland, and Hockey Prospectus. His work has appeared at theScore, ESPN and Puck Daddy. He was previously founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue. Contact him at jonathan (dot) willis (at) live (dot) ca.
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#1 Todd
February 12 2013, 11:04AM
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For cheap I'd love to see Penner back. I was always a fan. I think he'd fit perfect on a line with 2 of the kids. I realize how polarizing he is, and it'll never happen with MacT around.

I was reminded of an article on Coppernblue after the Penner trade.... Here is an excerpt: ****

I'm not sure how Penner will be remembered in Edmonton. His career as an Oiler was brief, and had such a tumultuous beginning that it's likely his remarkable accomplishments will be overlooked in time. He wasn't just the microstats poster boy (though he did drive results every year he was here); he posted some excellent traditional numbers as well. Last season, Penner became only the second man in Oilers' history to lead the team in Goals, Assists, Points, and +/- in a single season (we all know who the other guy was). Beyond that, he cemented himself as a top-twenty wing in the NHL. In fact, only twenty wingers have scored more goals than Penner in the last four seasons and only eleven wingers have scored more goals than Penner in the last two seasons.

The Edmonton media had a field day piling blame on Penner. But it wasn't just the Edmonton media that took it to Penner; the entirety of the North American media did the same. Visiting broadcast crews referred to Penner as an underachiever, a label that would never see the light of day for any of the other top twenty wingers in the league. To the casual observer and the "HIT SOMEBODY" fan, Penner never looked like he was doing much. But whether he looked the part or not, the one thing Penner did consistently was drive the play.

Penner was also never afraid to defend a teammate, famously dropping Robin Regher after watching Ales Hemsky take a year's worth of shots from behind from the Flames dirty defenseman. He came to Ladislav Smid's aid by one-punching Landon Wilson. He came to Sam Gagner's defense after Jack Johnson boarded him, and he stepped in to fight Garnet Exelby after Exleby threw a horrendous cheap shot on Ales Hemsky. He was the first teammate in after Drew Doughty leveled Taylor Hall. If this team has had an enforcer in the last few seasons, that man has been Dustin Penner.

But he didn't just defend his teammates on the ice - he made all of them better. The Amicus Brief shows how much better both Horcoff and Hemsky were when Penner was out there, and nearly every WOWY analysis showed similar results for every player. His size, durability, skill, and talent combined with his style of play allowed him to fit into any situation. He dominated play down low and was capable of maintaining possession for an entire shift. He could storm off the boards to the front of the net and he could make a touch pass to the point. His hands were outstanding for a player of any size. He stood in front of the net on the power play and allowed Sheldon Souray and Kurtis Foster to fire head-high slapshots at him during an era when no other Oiler would venture near the slot, let alone the crease. He carried poor linemates and turned them into even hockey players through nothing else than sheer determination and overwhelming play. Throughout Craig MacTavish's very public attacks on Penner, Dustin never said a word to the press. He never showed up the coach or the team. He just kept playing, no matter what his role.

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#2 sec206
February 12 2013, 08:26AM
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i'd say grab him for say Teubert, a 1st next year and a condional 2nd next--how did we get away with this?

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#3 Oiler Al
February 12 2013, 10:01AM
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STOP!, already with this recycling program. This guy isnt a fit for this team. He's an out of shape, overweight slug, and shows up only when he feels like it. He cannot skate and keep up and definitely won't back check.

Oilers put up with this enigma for three years. It didnt take Sutter long to figure out this fraud. He had one decent season [ point wise] only because he was a hanging around the net and guys were bouncing pucks off his shins. You could get the same results by putting a pine tree in from on the goal. [ oh, it was done']

Big body, seldom hits, seldom checks.seldom scores.,

This was Tabelini's best trade .. getting rid of this Slug.

Next top Winkler Beer League.

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#4 bwar
February 12 2013, 09:17AM
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His size might be nice to add to the line up but his laziness would not.

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#5 A-Mc
February 12 2013, 10:11AM
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If the Oilers didn't already have a history with Penner, i think he would be a guy they would be looking at. but because of the history he's had here, i doubt we'll see Penner in an Oilers Jersey ever again.

He is the body/skill type of player we are looking for though.

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#6 book¡e
February 12 2013, 11:07AM
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and we sold him for $100 and can now buy him for $10.

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#7 Bushed
February 12 2013, 11:25AM
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@ Todd

+1

Unless there are better options out there, where else are we going to get a proven net front presence who also sticks up for teammates? Especially at a discount?

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#8 Zamboni Driver
February 12 2013, 11:48AM
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Uh huh.

And what did we buy him for in the first place?

Anyone who has even thought for a second about bringing back Penner needs to watch more hockey.

There are, in fact, 'hockey players' out there who have never played for the Oilers. Hard to fathom, I know. But it's true.

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#9 Zamboni Driver
February 12 2013, 11:52AM
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Good god.

let me see if I'm following.

A team that is three points BEHIND the Oilers - a team barely scraping by right now. Has a guy who they don't want to play - can't make it in the line up.

The Oilers should bring this guy in and put him on the second line.

This is some serious brilliance.

Willis this is your fault.

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#10 jdubbs
February 12 2013, 08:30AM
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i've never had a problem with Penner, i always cheered for him in Edmonton and he seemed to be liked in the dressing room, just not by the media. he can't be a third or fourth line guy he is a skilled guy that needs to be in the top 6 but he may not have the speed for that anymore. 9 goals in the last 90 games since being traded is awful but i think he could still score 20+ goals in a season. that would be that left wing depth you'd need to move Hall to centre...maybe. but i'd pass unless he'd be coming for a bag of pucks.

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#11 David S
February 12 2013, 08:30AM
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I'm still not sure why we traded him in the first place. Salary dump maybe? I dunno.

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#12 teddy sheckler
February 12 2013, 08:34AM
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Wouldnt hurt to offer Peckham. Kings need d depth. Penners on a one year so if he doesnt come back to form they arent stuck with him.

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#14 Czar
February 12 2013, 08:47AM
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We got rid of "double stack" for a reason, let's move forward folks.

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#16 vetinari
February 12 2013, 09:14AM
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All due respect, Penner is not a center (who could help us in the faceoff circle) or a defenceman. Now, if we could pry one of those additional pieces out of LA without subtracting too much from the rest of the roster, then... maybe...

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#17 Czar
February 12 2013, 09:15AM
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I personally don't think Penner can claw his way back up to being a top 6 guy on the Oilers. His work ethic and commitment aren't worth the second chance.The guy is living the dream playing in the NHL and can't motivate himself to be ready every/most nights?

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#18 borisnikov
February 12 2013, 09:17AM
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Are we all forgetting the Smyth/Fraser/Brule fiasco? Isn't it possible that Lombardi doesn't want anything to do with Tambo? He seems like a guy who holds a grudge.

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#19 VK63
February 12 2013, 09:20AM
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Pens played Ok last night. He may be working his way out of the doghouse.

He is not the type of guy that should be around a bunch of impressionable kids. His capacity for absolute indifference on the ice is toxic and Im guessing that Ralph would not be able to reform him. (brilliant man that Ralph is).

Pens dances to his own drum. He's a very bright kid that does just enough to get by and nothing more. Frustrating!

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#20 Mike Krushelnyski
February 12 2013, 09:23AM
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@sec206

Well if we flip a 3rd to LA now for Penner then that deal works out to a 3rd rounder for Teubert, a 1st and a 2nd.

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#21 TeddyTurnbuckle
February 12 2013, 09:30AM
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The Fraser trade turned out well for the Kings. Fraser scored a big goal in the Stanely cup game.

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#22 TeddyTurnbuckle
February 12 2013, 09:33AM
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I'd trade for him in a second as long as we don't give up too much. We need more veterans and size. He is lazy though.

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#23 TeddyTurnbuckle
February 12 2013, 09:36AM
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What a steal that would be. I have a feeling Lombardi won't give us Penner back just to not look like he got schooled.

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#24 Czar
February 12 2013, 09:38AM
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"gritty, hate-to-lose, hardnosed guys who can actually play some"

Mr. Brownlee mentioned this in his previous article and these are the type of guys we need to add.I sure don't think Penner has enough or any of those qualities to justify another shot.

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#25 Quicksilver ballet
February 12 2013, 09:40AM
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Lets see, a two time Stanley Cup champion, 6-4,225 lbs. I'd bring him back, if only to push Ryan Smyth. Have to think Smytty would retire than accept a fourth line role. Offer them Alex Plante and Theo Peckham.

3yrs at 2.5 per for a guy who could fill in your top six when needed. Good chance he could have his 3rd cup before that deal expired.

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#26 bdiddy18
February 12 2013, 10:02AM
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I prolly bet a lazy Penner is still better than an Eager on the 4th line.

dude scored effectively on a super crappy Oilers team. He doesn't muck and he doesn't grind in the corner but he is an immovable object in front of the net for the Powerplay.

Also, Mac T is not the coach so I like to see what Kreuger could do with his first player project. Not to mention Penner is a slow starter but decent performer in the final year of his contracts.

Theo Peckham or Ben Eager for Penner is prolly all you need to do.

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#27 John Chambers
February 12 2013, 10:09AM
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@ Willis

That was the Oilers top line in '09-'10 when Hemsky was a ppg player through 22 games, and Penner finished the season 30/30.

That would now be our second line with Smyth AND Yakupov on the 3rd line.

I'd say that's a playoff-calibre group of forwards.

As for the defense...

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#28 gcw_rocks
February 12 2013, 10:16AM
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If they can get him for cheap he would be worth a flier. He could play third line or second, depending on the situation.

But I wouldn't pay something material to get him.

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#29 2004Z06
February 12 2013, 10:29AM
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Yeah why would anyone want a 6'4 perrenial 20 goal/40 pointguy with 2 cups under his belt? Anyone consider that he may flourish under Kruger and with some "offensive" players? I always liked him and would bring him back in a heartbeat at the right $ figure. His offensive production didn't trail off until he went to L.A. Here he was actually pretty consistent. I think people just need to re-evaluate their expectations of the guy. If we all just accept that he is a 20g/40pt player then he is a fit. If you continue to believe he is a 30g/50pt guy then you will continue to be disappointed.

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#30 Reg Dunlop
February 12 2013, 10:51AM
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Just a moment. Are you saying the oil will win it all in the next 3 years? Or are you saying if they re-acquire Penner they will win the cup in 3 years? Oh my my my.

I once met a gentleman who said the most outrageous things to see if anyone was paying attention, however pushing Smyth sounds good and retirement sounds even better.

I think that it is far more likely that a 3 year window sees Hall demand a trade and Schultz get an offer sheet from NYR. No cup comming our way I'm afraid.

edit: sorry, I'm talkin to you Quicksilver

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#31 BleedingOil
February 12 2013, 10:51AM
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i hear the isles / oil trade is off the rails now? I wonder what went wrong and who was asking too much for what?

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#32 Archaeologuy
February 12 2013, 10:57AM
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What trade? Is this an Eklund thing?

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#33 Bryan in SK
February 12 2013, 10:58AM
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For what it's worth, I'd pick up Penner if there is any chance of being in the playoffs. He does have 2 Cups (and not just 2 cups of sugar, flour, and buttermilk).

My Aunt Jemima is a big Penner fan, and she loved him in Oil Country.

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#34 Phixieus666
February 12 2013, 11:08AM
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I wouldn't give up Peckham just yet and I do think there maybe a place on the oilers for Penner. The real quesiton is who gets moved out for him. Think of this.

Hall, RNH, Eberle

Hemsky, Gags, Yakupov

Penner, Horcoff, Petrell

MPS, Lander/Belanger, Harti

That kind of bottom six setup looks like one 3rd line and a line that could be 2nd/3rd line depending on who you place where.

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#35 Czar
February 12 2013, 11:24AM
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Dusty Penner will retire after signing a lucrative contract to be the face of IHOP.

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#36 DonDon
February 12 2013, 11:58AM
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The division among the citizens continues over Penner. And Gagne, Hemsky, Horcoff and now Smyth. It probably won't end. Some citizens fall in love with certain players and the love continues even when the player is in decline or no longer fits the roster's required balance.

In considering adding Penner to the roster, what hasn't been mentioned is continuing injuries in the truncated 48-game schedule. There will be more to come. And how many big bodies are on the present roster? Not enough.

Probably the main problem, which has been mentioned, is making a deal with Lombardi. Don't think Tambi has much cred among his GM peers.

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#37 Todd
February 12 2013, 12:02PM
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OK we get it Zamboni. You hate Penner. I'm sure you did when he was here as well. Fine but you don't have to make it sound like your opinion is fact. Its not.

Don't you think we could use a bit of this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e_3ZVo7tNCs OR THIS

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pEa-HkBaKVg

OR this

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SGj4WNXncoI

Watch those clips and tell me who on the Oilers does this now... Maybe you despise Penner from the depth of you soul but he would give us something we desperately need. Fine if not him, someone. We need a huge body who can play with the skilled players (Eager can't) and is tough and ready to respond (Eager doesn't).

My favorite part about these 3 clips is how there is absolutely zero hesitation. Penner jumps all 3 guys. When was the last time we saw Eager or any Oiler jump a player in response to our of our kids getting smashed.

Given our soft as butter perimeter play and the kids getting pushed around I'd take a shot in the arm right now. If he could be got for dirt cheap with a few months on a contract, there is virtually zero risk.

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#38 Death Metal Nightmare
February 12 2013, 12:05PM
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Penner was atrocious outside of a few games. so lazy, so unmotivated, slow footed, didnt want to pay the price destroying in the slot with his monster body (aka neo-Tim Kerr), out of shape, goofball attitude that is funny for media but doesnt translate well to taking the game seriously on the ice.

he was beyond frustrating and its obvious that LAK is finding the same frustrations. he was damn lucky he had a decent playoff last season (17p in 65 regular season games) and then he goes straight back into being a burden.

having his size advantages, but the inability to dominate in areas with a laughable "man against boys" showing, is a failure on his part.

we already have numerous old players who cant keep up with the play well. don't need another.

ps - posting a couple youtube videos (above) is a terrible form of argument for "evidence". youre showing 1:10 game type events.

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#39 Sanaa Montana
February 12 2013, 12:14PM
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Could you please update what % of goals so far this season have been scored on the PP up to today? Also, how many GWGs were scored on the PP?

The officiating has been horrible this season.

Please and Thank You

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#40 Sanaa Montana
February 12 2013, 12:15PM
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;-')

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#41 Todd
February 12 2013, 12:21PM
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@Death Metal. Provide evidence of this suckery you speak of? I realize he is polarizing because he looks slow, and maybe was lazy at times. Its hard to deny a few things. Here is more than 'a few youtube clips'

Last season, Penner became only the second man in Oilers' history to lead the team in Goals, Assists, Points, and +/- in a single season (we all know who the other guy was).

If you want to read a few pages and charts of advanced stats look here:

http://www.coppernblue.com/2009/8/26/1003249/an-amicus-brief-in-support-of

Those stats, much more than a few youtube clips conclude that: "The statistics used in the first three parts of this brief lead to one indisputable fact: the Edmonton Oilers are a stunningly better team when Dustin Penner steps onto the ice with the first line."

But the haters just talk about how he could have done more, was too slow and ate too many pancakes.

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#42 Taylor Gang
February 12 2013, 12:40PM
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For the right price (a low one) yes. He could be our 13th forward and could be a very nice addition to our already potent powerplay. However, is Lombardi willing to swallow his pride and trade Penner back for something less? I'd say he could replace Petrell but I don't think he'd do a very good job on the PK, at least compared to Petrell

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#43 GVBlackhawk
February 12 2013, 12:43PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

I actually think there's a pretty reasonable spot on the Oilers forward lines to try Penner - with Gagner and Hemsky on L2. The problem is that you can't put him there without bumping Yakupov.

If you have to bump Yakupov, then it is not worth it. All this 'Yakupov on the third line or fourth line' nonsense has to stop.

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#44 GVBlackhawk
February 12 2013, 12:52PM
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BleedingOil wrote:

i hear the isles / oil trade is off the rails now? I wonder what went wrong and who was asking too much for what?

Stop reading Hockeybuzz -- it is a hockey rumour website that bases it's ideas on fiction. There was likely no Isles/Oil trade to begin with. I doubt the Islanders would part with Tavares, Strome, or Hamonic for spare parts. After all, Mike Milbury left years ago.

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#45 Antony Ta
February 12 2013, 01:36PM
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Teubert for Penner straight up.

Chalk it up to a depreciating asset.

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#46 TigerUnderGlass
February 12 2013, 01:54PM
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GVBlackhawk wrote:

If you have to bump Yakupov, then it is not worth it. All this 'Yakupov on the third line or fourth line' nonsense has to stop.

Yeah. Other teams would never play talented rookies in their 3rd lines.

For example STL. would never play Tarasenko on the...oh right.

Well for sure MIN would never do that to Granlund....dammit.

Well it's still a bad idea right?

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#47 Phixieus666
February 12 2013, 02:15PM
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TigerUnderGlass wrote:

Yeah. Other teams would never play talented rookies in their 3rd lines.

For example STL. would never play Tarasenko on the...oh right.

Well for sure MIN would never do that to Granlund....dammit.

Well it's still a bad idea right?

Only a bad idea if your playing him with Smyth and Petrell but Petrell should be on the 4th line anyway. Horc, Smyth and Yak.... not too keen on that combo they way Smyth has been playing either. Horcoff, Yak and Harti now that sounds a bit better to me. Belanger, MPS, and Petrell thats not too bad of a line. No line seems phyically dominating but all have the ability to hurt you especially when you add Jones to that mix.

MPS Lander and Harti all look NHL ready. So look at it this way

Hall - Nuge - Eberle

Hemsky - Gags - Yakupov

MPS - Lander - Harti

Then you have Smyth, Belanger, Horcoff, Petrell, Eager, Hordi(sorta). With the exception of Petrell none of these guys really fit the 4th line.

Belanger and Horcoff have played well but there are just too many bottom 6 centers and no real physical presence in these forwards except maybe Harti to an extent. There still needs to be a lot of changes. Basically someone in the top six is going to have to be moved to add a physical presence that can play in there and then more phyical forwards in the bottom three.

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#48 Pucker
February 12 2013, 02:31PM
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I liked Penner once I got over the 'hitting' expectations. I think his play in the defensive zone was under appreciated and I've seen lots of big guys that apparently skate with no effort, or slow but but yet cover a lot of ice in a short period of time.

My vote is to grab him if you can get him at a reasonable price . . . plus it gives ON someone else to rag on besides Horcoff and Gagner.

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#49 TigerUnderGlass
February 12 2013, 02:41PM
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My theory is that the reason the Oilers end up with so many shorter players is that they tend to look like they are skating harder because they have to really pump those little legs to get anywhere. Management, and apparently many Oiler fans alike, appreciate the appearance of effort more than actual results.

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#50 Zamboni Driver
February 12 2013, 03:47PM
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Todd wrote:

OK we get it Zamboni. You hate Penner. I'm sure you did when he was here as well. Fine but you don't have to make it sound like your opinion is fact. Its not.

Don't you think we could use a bit of this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e_3ZVo7tNCs OR THIS

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pEa-HkBaKVg

OR this

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SGj4WNXncoI

Watch those clips and tell me who on the Oilers does this now... Maybe you despise Penner from the depth of you soul but he would give us something we desperately need. Fine if not him, someone. We need a huge body who can play with the skilled players (Eager can't) and is tough and ready to respond (Eager doesn't).

My favorite part about these 3 clips is how there is absolutely zero hesitation. Penner jumps all 3 guys. When was the last time we saw Eager or any Oiler jump a player in response to our of our kids getting smashed.

Given our soft as butter perimeter play and the kids getting pushed around I'd take a shot in the arm right now. If he could be got for dirt cheap with a few months on a contract, there is virtually zero risk.

I actually agree with every single thing you said, except for the idea that Dustin Penner (sitting in the press box again for the Kings) is that guy now.

I'm all for no more smurfs or lunkheads that can't play (Hordichuk, Macintyre, Laraque), but to paraphrase my ole pal Spec, "If Penner is the answer. It must be a pretty crappy question."

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