At one point during the season, it didn’t look like Dustin Penner had much of a future anywhere in the league, let alone re-signing with the Los Angeles Kings this summer.
It’s amazing what a great playoff run can do, on both sides. The Kings re-signing Penner to a one-year deal, worth a touch over $3 million, to keep him in Los Angeles this season.
Since he was acquired from the Edmonton Oilers, the Kings didn’t really get what they were paying for. He constantly underperformed and contributed very little on the offensive end, serving as a healthy scratch on more than one occasion during the regular season. And who could forget his infamous pancake incident, when he was injured eating a pile of his now ex-wife’s flapjacks.
But during the Kings’ fantastic postseason run, things started clicking for Penner. He was a huge piece of the team during the Stanley Cup Playoffs, with 11 points on that second line for the Kings, including the game-winning goal that sent the Kings to the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
It will be interesting to see if Penner comes into the regular season with a performance that is as consistent as what he did in the postseason. If not, he’s only on a one-year deal, and took a pretty decent paycut in order to return, which tells you how much he wanted to be in Los Angeles, rather than seeking a bigger payday elsewhere.
With the Penner deal, the Kings have locked up all of their free agents, with the exception of restricted free agent Jordan Nolan. Both Jarret Stoll and Colin Fraser were signed to new contracts at the NHL Draft last weekend, while the team also locked up Jonathan Quick with a 10-year extension.
Dean Lombardi has done a brilliant job of keeping guys around after the Cup run, as well as locking up some of his core for a long time. With the exception of the free agent or two they may take a look at, the front office can almost kick back and relax at this point in the summer.