Monday, February 28, 2011

Kings Acquire Penner And Extend Williams

Don't Pay Any Attention To Those Two On The Right; Dustin Penner Is A Stanley Cup Champion
I woke up this morning to the news that the Kings resigned Justin Williams to a four-year extension.  Then an hour later my friend texts me: "Four more years of Williams?"

My response: "Two years too long."

Behind Kopitar, Justin Williams is our second-most skilled player.  This probably speaks more to the lack of offensive creativity of our forward core than the skill of Williams.  Regardless a four year deal worth $14.6 million with a manageable cap-hit of $3.65M makes sense for both parties.

DL has to be praying to the hockey gods that Williams injuries are well behind him.  After playing in only 130 games over the past three seasons; Williams has appeared in all 62 games this season.  He's second on the team in scoring with 49 points and tied for the team-lead with 20 goals.

It has to be a good day for Williams considering all that's been through over the past year.  Broke his leg in December of 09, worked his tail off to get back into the lineup for the stretch run and postseason only to be benched and healthy scratched by Terry Murray and now a year later he's signed a $14.6M extension.

I thought DL was done.

I never thought Dallas could afford to trade Brad Richards within their own division.  And if Steve Tambellini wasn't moving off his demand of Brayden Schenn in any deal for Ales Hemsky there just weren't too many deals to be made out there.

Then BOOM! Dustin Penner traded to the Montreal Canadiens for Jared Tinordi and a 1st round pick.  Oh wait.  That didn't happen.  Twitter is a place full of fake NHL Insiders apparently (and I'm not even talking about Eklund or Matthew Barry...).

Then about half an hour later.  Dustin Penner was a King.  The Kings sent 2008 1st round pick Colten Teubert, a 2011 1st round pick, and a conditional 2012 pick to Edmonton.

I had Penner highlighted as my #3 target on my Trade Deadline Shopping List.  The 29 year old Penner has 21 goals and 18 assists on the year and gives the Kings five 20-goal scorers.  He's under contract for one more season at $4.25 million and is young enough to grow with this core going forward.

Losing Teubert doesn't hurt me one bit.  He didn't impress during any of the Development Camps and didn't physically dominate the WJC's like I expected him too.  He still has plenty of time to develop into a strong NHL defenseman but the Kings still have a number of top defensive prospects.

Losing a first round pick in 2011 doesn't seem like DL's style but considering that many are calling this one of the weakest draft classes in a decade; the Kings could afford to sacrifice the pick.  According to Pierre LeBrun the 2012 pick goes from a 3rd round to 2nd if the Kings win the Cup.  I sure hope it's a 2nd!

Kings fans have to be excited about acquiring Penner considering that DL didn't move anyone off the current roster.  Although it may sting a bit if you were a big fan of Marco Sturm during his short tenure in L.A.  Wayne Simmonds?  STILL HERE.  Kyle Clifford?  STILL HERE.  Kevin Westgarth?........still here...

What's Penner bring to the Kings?

A left wing with size.  Listed at 6-4, 250 Penner is a big body.  He's a decent skater for his size but lacks the foot speed to make him an elite power forward.  He possesses good hands around the net and is good in the corners.  Penner can be extremely dangerous when he's engaged and willing to play the body but his inconsistent effort can frustrate coaches and fans alike.  He's extremely durable, only missing four games over the last four seasons.


On a good team, Penner is a second-liner.  Terry Murray will certainly try Penner on the first-line but it's anyone's guess how long he'll stay there.  He'll add another big body that can help cycle the puck in the corners.  Unfortunately, the Kings still lack that player who will carry the puck from the cycle to the net.  Hopefully, Terry Murray will be able to bring the best out of Penner.

Don't expect Penner to instantly turn the Kings offense around.  He's more Alexei Ponikarovsky than Eric Lindros.  Penner doesn't put the Kings on par with Vancouver or Detroit but it's another solid acquisition by DL without giving up any core players.  I would have liked to see Penner and Sturn in the lineup for the Kings but it wasn't meant to be.





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