Dustin Penner was a fan favorite during his time with the Los Angeles Kings as despite his regular season struggles he was a clutch playoff performer. Penner’s contributions during the 2012 Stanley Cup run were immense as mere weeks after getting lambasted for hurting himself eating pancakes (seriously), he scored the overtime goal that propelled the Kings to the Final. After stints with both the Anaheim Ducks and Washington Capitals last season, Penner is still unsigned despite having what many would consider to be a “bounce-back season”.
Penner stills lives in Southern California and was even featured prominently by the Kings at a few playoff games that he was in attendance at this year. Despite the Kings having plenty of depth, there is absolutely no doubt in my mind Penner would jump at the opportunity to rejoin the team. The only question is, would the Kings want him back?
During his two years under Darryl Sutter, Penner was a constant in Sutter’s doghouse and underachieved regularly. Bringing him in to play a more limited role, although intriguing in so many ways, goes against the way the Kings built their most recent championship team. Penner’s size fits the Kings’ mold, but his lack of anything resembling foot speed would make him a bad fit in the team’s bottom six forwards. The way the third and fourth lines abused defenses on the forecheck in the playoffs would be harder with a cement footed player like Penner out there.
If Penner is still unsigned during the season don’t rule out him returning to the Kings in an off-capacity, as I am sure there would be mutual interest. Having said that, it is safe to say Penner has played his last game as a King, something that might not be the worst thing for either party.