Kevin Lowe has signed LW Dustin Penner to an offer sheet. 5 years, 21.5M in exchange for the Oilers’ 1st, 2nd and 3rd round picks.
It’s an awful bet. I didn’t like the Vanek offer sheet, and this one is worse. Vanek has had one impact season in the NHL and is a candidate to go backwards.
Dustin Penner? He’s about to turn 25 years old, has had one good NHL season and is being rewarded for one good year as handsomely as anyone in memory. He is an undrafted college player who put up a quality number in the minors and had a nice NHL season.
He played against the soft parade (572/676 according to Desjardins’) and he played with two of the most kickass young linemates God has invented this century. Let’s start with the ballpark numbers:
- C Ryan Getzlaf 82gp, 25-33-58, +17 (11-20-31pp)
- LW Dustin Penner 82gp, 29-16-45, -2 (9-7-16)
- RW Corey Perry 82gp, 17-27-44, +12 (4-16-20)
That -2 clearly was gained when playing on another line. Let’s look a little deeper. Can we agree than Even strength scoring/60minutes is a nice way of making the playing field level in terms of evaluating quality?
- Ryan Getzlaf 1.95EV/60
- Dustin Penner 1.92EV/60
- Corey Perry 1.81EV/60
Remember, this is against the soft parade (although Penner did play tougher competition during the regular year, as Perry and Getzlaf ranked 664th and 665th out of 676 players ranked by Desjardins) and that Penner was not as effective when he wasn’t out there with the two kids (-2 versus +12 and +17).
1.92EV/60 is almost exactly what Raffi Torres did this season, but Raffi was playing tougher opponents (67/676) and had a -7 plus minus result. So although Penner surely would play with Horcoff and Hemsky (and against tougher opponents than he did a year ago unless the Oilers adopt a new system) it’s not clear he’s a better player than Raffi (save for PP results, see below).
On the powerplay, Penner delivered about 4-points-per-60 minutes. This is slightly below both Shawn Horcoff and Jarret Stoll, who added to Ales Hemsky mean that Penner is taking someone’s minutes off the PP (unless they use Stoll on the point and then why bother signing all those defensemen?). I’m not going to argue about Penner on the PP, it would seem to be a good fit.
Penner’s selling point for Oilers fans is that his skill set is not duplicated on the roster. He’s a big, big man who would have to be considered one of the biggest powerforwards going right now (he’s basically what the Oilers would have had if one of those Coke Machine draft picks had turned out). He’s effective down low, can’t be easily moved and he has at least decent hands.
On the other hand, he’s not a fast player (which I thought was a big consideration re:Hemsky, wasn’t the problem with Sykora foot speed?) although he’s not Yvon Lambert either, and Penner really should clobber more people based on his size.
Plus he’s going to cost the Oilers their first round pick in a deep, deep draft. A pick that could be a lottery selection. Are you going to be happy if the Oilers lose an impact player rolling out past 2020 for this guy? I know the answer will come back “these picks are a crapshoot” and I call Bull Durham. The Oilers are (from my pov) a team with an excellent shot at a top 10 pick WITH Penner, and that pick goes to Anaheim should Burke pass on the opportunity to match. That pick in this draft should mean an outstanding prospect, easily the best in the Oilers organization.
If the Oilers opened the season tonight, the forwards might be:
It’s better than they had at the end of the season, but the fact remains that signing Ryan Smyth last summer was the better plan and this is really just Kevin Lowe using the only available assets left (money, draft picks) to put together a roster that won’t get killed every night.
The Edmonton Oilers have some nice things, but they aren’t going to win the division and they aren’t going to make the playoffs. And THEN we’ll get to watch as Brian Burke drafts a fine young piece for his Anaheim Ducks who will play long past Dustin Penner.
As bad as it felt to lose the SCF, or endure Pronger being dealt, or even to watch Ryan Smyth crying at the airport, this takes the cake. Kevin Lowe has mortgaged the future in his search for mediocrity.
If you like average, you’ll love the Oilers.