(Alright, enough of songs from the ’70s being used for headlines. The song was kind of cool when I first heard it in “Highlander.” I digress.)
So the debut of Dustin Penner has come and gone, with a 1-0 against the Phoenix Coyotes.
Five hits, no shots (hm) in 22 shifts spread over 16:45. But he acted as the traffic cone and roadblock in front of Ilya Bryzgalov in the game’s lone power play goal, scored by Jarret Stoll. Penner had a good couple of connections with Anze Kopitar as well, and distracted three Coyotes crossing the blue line while Drew Doughty stole the loose puck and sped behind Bryzgalov for a scoring chance in the first period.
So there’s some interesting potential seen, one game in.
Going back a few days ago, when I read the Kings dealt off a defenseman or prospect (or defensive prospect), these guys immediately popped up in my head from the franchise history: Butch Goring, who was traded to the New York Islanders and was one of the pivotal components of their ’80s reign. And this guy came to the Boston Bruins via a draft pick the Kings traded to them:
But I highly doubt Colten Teubert will be one of those kind of guys. Teubert was perfectly expendable, as the Kings are stocked on defense at the moment and other defensemen such as Drew Doughty (drafted ahead of the Edmonton-bound prospect) and Alec Martinez have blossomed ahead of him.
And according to the pundits and scouts, the next draft will be weak, and the Kings would have been looking at a draft pick somewhere in the 20s.
And for those still worried, remember the Gretzky trade and all the draft picks in a gift basket Edmonton got? Can you name them?
Finally, the other guy mentioned in trade grapevine rumors between the Kings and Oilers, Ales Hemsky, is out for the next couple of weeks with a rotator cuff injury.
So the Kings add a guy without disrupting the locker room chemistry. Penner is still in his prime years, has playoff experience (17 points in 34 games), and most important of all, has a nose and the will to hang around the net. That’s why I like Ryan Smyth (though the Injury God and Father Time are both watching closely, I feel), and when Wayne Simmonds does the same, he tends to score. It’s a thing the Kings have lacked in the decades I’ve watched them. The Kings also hope that as Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf fueled Penner’s early career, so can Anze Kopitar and whoever strikes Coach Terry Murray’s fancy on the right side. Simmonds started the contest paired with Kopitar and Penner, Justin Williams was later hooked up with the duo in the third.
Penner’s strikes are he’s inconsistent. Accused of being lazy at times, Penner is sometimes absent on defense and doesn’t play to his size. His first two seasons in Edmonton were disappointing, though he rebounded to a 63-point season with 32 goals in 2009-10. In theory, LA could provide more interest in the game than the rebuilding Oilers (and have less pressure on him in comparison to the Canadian media and fans) for Penner, who last held a Stanley Cup when he suited up for a certain Southern California team that was modestly successful in 2006-07.
Still, there are doubters. Caught a sense of that from FakeChrisKontos posting promising obtained blokes in Kings history at The Royal Half. But with those negatives said, take note of what they’re saying in the Great White North. I was amused by this quote from Oilers’ fan site JeanShorts and Bagged Milk:
Good God, you would think that Dustin Penner was Wayne Gretzky with how pissed off some Oilers fans are. What is funniest, to me, about this whole situation is that almost all of you that are super pissed today were just as pissed about Penner as a player over his tenure as an Oiler. If [Edmonton Oilers GM Steve] Tambellini had made this trade before the start of the 2009/2010 season, how many of you would have been calling for a bronze Tambellini statue?
Well let’s be honest, LA wins this trade right now because they got the best player. The only way Edmonton comes out on top is if Penner walks after next season and tests out the UFA market OR the Oilers get a steal of a player with LA’s first.