RE 09-10: Dustin Penner

The curse of the big man in hockey is that his stride makes him look lazy. A little imp like Tie Domi used to excite the crowd with choppy little strides and a grimace, while Dustin Penner looks like he is lollygagging or that the wind just blew him in the right direction. Dustin Penner looks (like Peter Mahovlich and Joe Thornton and many others) like there should be another gear.

Penner ran up against a frustrated and angry coach last winter and when MacT got going the hits just kept on coming:

  • “When we signed Dustin we thought he’d be a top-two-line player.”
  • “We thought the contract ($4.25 million average for five years) was a starting point for him, but he views it as a finish line. I can’t watch it, certainly not for another 2 1/2 years.”
  • “You can’t throw gratuitous ice-time at a player that’s inconsistent.”
  • “It’s his competitiveness.”
  • “The frustrating thing for me is he has the game but he can’t find it and you have to put the work in. He has a great set of tools but his legs are inconsistent. He needs more horsepower.”
  • “He has to get his game to a level where he can help us. To this point, it hasn’t gotten there.”

I don’t think the coach was referring to the long stride mentioned above when saying those things, I think he was talking about results. Dustin Penner had played 16 games to that point and scored 3 goals: two on opening night and another on the 8th of November. 16gp, 3-1-4 +5 were his totals at that time and from that point on the big man went 62gp, 14-19-33 +2 through season’s end. We are a house divided when it comes to Penner, so it’s important we can agree MacTavish wasn’t ripping style, he was concerned about tangibles.

One more thing-the theme of this post is the following: he’s just not that good.

  • Boxcars: 78gp, 17-20-37, 61pims
  • Shots: 137
  • Plus Minus: +7
  • Corsi: +7.0
  • GF/GA ON: 45-32
  • 5×5/60: 1.71
  • 5×4/60: 3.15
  • Quality of Competition: 2nd level
  • Quality of Teammates: very good 2nd level
  • FO %: 47.4% in 114 sorties
  • 09-10 Cap Hit: $4.25M (capgeek)
  1. What do these numbers tell us? Despite appearances (and more than his share of defenders), Dustin Penner didn’t deliver enough offense to deserve the 1line. Further, I don’t know that he ever will; math never told us he would cover this bet, Kevin Lowe did. MacTavish had him on the feature line most of the time and the boxcars tell a strong story. We know Penner isn’t a creator of offense, but he needs to cash in more than he did this season and it’s not clear he has the ability. Underlying numbers that also tell some things are the 5×4/60 number–Penner should have had a much bigger impact on the powerplay–and a shot total that falls well short of new recruit Patrick O’Sullivan (who is poised to eat Penner’s lunch this winter unless Penner can impress Pat Quinn). On the positive side, Penner’s plus minus is the best available, as is his Corsi number. My own feeling is that he played with the two best forwards on the roster when playing the toughs, and faced the soft parade when he was in the doghouse. Shawn Horcoff had no such luxury, which is why his numbers look less impressive. Ditto (to a lesser extent) Ales Hemsky.
  2. How could the numbers be better? I’m not much for phrases like “compete level” or “his legs are inconsistent.” The math tells me he should have been better (Dustin Penner stopped shooting the puck last season) and he wasted a massive opportunity. However, it’s even more than that: Penner is the best of the current hands available, but he’s a complementary piece and based on the pricetag (money and picks) he should be a featured player in his own right. Penner is being paid to either spike that line with his own skill set (size, hands, intelligence) or to create on a line built around him. We need to agree: he’s just not that good. Now, that’s different than useless or a waste of a contract. However, he’s not building on that 29-goal season he had in Anaheim and we should acknowledge his linemates and toughness of opponents that season and that despite appearances there are better options for Horcoff and Hemsky out there and available. Dustin Penner is an option for the 1line this fall but he might not be the best one and if the Oilers are to make the playoffs this would be an area to improve.
  3. What about Gagner? Because of the offer sheet, because of the giant contract, Penner is going to get another chance and then another after that unless they can deal him. If not the 1line, then what line? I think Quinn will either move him to center with Cogliano (and say Nilsson) or possibly team him with Gagner.
  4. What about Quinn/Renney? Increasingly, and certainly since the Heatley inferno, the Oilers are pointing to the coaching staff as the big change in town. Experience tells us there will be a honeymoon period: the player saying “I’ve found a new life” and the coaching staff nodding their approval. The problem is you develop a past, and the instant the results aren’t there then we’ll be back to hearing about compete level and the jimmy legs. The answer (again) is that Penner was never a guy who could cover the bet.
  5. Will Quinn continue to play him against tougher opposition? Doubtful. I don’t think Penner will play a lot with Horcoff or Hemsky this season, and can’t imagine him forming a shutdown trio with someone like Pisani. That kind of role doesn’t play to his strengths anyway.
  6. What Else? I mentioned it in the reasonable expectations post about Penner a year ago and it applies at least a much now: center. Quinn has had success bringing along big centermen (Antropov) so maybe he can unlock the key for Penner. The good thing for Penner is that he has size and some skill so there’s no line he can’t play on. For instance, if it’s November and he’s once again deep in the doghouse, Quinn can place him at center on a “Coke Machine” like with Jacques and Stortini. I doubt it’ll come to that, after all he can score enough goals to stay in the top 6F and has been part of an outscoring unit. If only he could do that without being a complementary player on said line, then maybe the 4.25M number wouldn’t hurt so much.
  7. What Else Else? I’ve gone on record as being a MacT supporter but I think the coach crossed a line with Penner. This isn’t the old days when Al Arbour could rip Denis Potvin a new one and no one said a word, this is a different era altogether. I understand Dustin Penner is working very hard this summer on conditioning and hope he comes to camp and proves all the naysayers wrong. As much as the math tells us one thing, a quicker step and a confident start can make up for a lot.
  8. How Important is Penner to this team? The money is huge so they need production. More than that, this represents a mammoth fail for the Oilers as an organization. They gave up a first, second and a third plus millions and millions for a 17 goal scorer. Penner’s name must be a bile-causer for some of the suits in the Oilers employ. If Tambellini can offload him, he’ll be a hero. If Quinn can make a player out of him, they’ll build him a statue. If Dustin Penner can emerge from this season past as an actual NHL player, he’ll own the fucking city. Book it. But remember: the math has never told us he was more than he’s proven to be. There’s no Miro Satan in Cape Breton linescore on the resume. If Dustin Penner has a big season, it’ll be on a line that features the Oilers best players and a great big slice of the powerplay.

By The Numbers

  • 06-07 5×5 per 60m: 1.92
  • 07-08 5×5 per 60m: 1.34
  • 08-09 5×5 per 60m: 1.71
  • 06-07 5×4 per 60m: 4.01
  • 07-08 5×4 per 60m: 4.07
  • 08-09 5×4 per 60m: 3.15

Predictions Past 2008-09

  • Predicted: 82gp, 30-23-53 (.646 per game)
  • Actual: 78gp, 17-20-37 (.474 per game)

Prediction for 2009-10: 80gp, 20-21-41 (.513 per game)

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46 Responses to "RE 09-10: Dustin Penner"

  1. knighttown says:

    This player is polarizing so this should be an interesting topic. Two points:

    1. GF/On per 60 is a far more fair metric for Penner than actual points because he never gets the puck. What he does is screen the goalie which is far more important than the second assist in most cases. Is the PP better with him on or off the ice?

    2. I'm a little irritated that I can suggest Hemsky would have made a better center than right winger based on the math (very, very few wingers have a 2.5-to-1 assist to goal ratio) and I'm met with ridicule and scorn and not so much of a math based rebuttal yet you can suggest Penner as a center and have it accepted as a decent option. Penner doesn't look like a center, move like a center or play like a center yet it nakes sense b/c Quinn brought along Antropov (who I think plays wing)?

    Balance and looking at the idea rather than the poster is your forte LT and I know its gotten busy around here but be careful to try and keep it.

  2. quain says:

    1. I'd agree GFON/60 for 5×4 paints a picture that is probably a bit more fair to his Ryan Smyth-lite contributions to the powerplay… but if he never gets the puck, why are we paying him $4.25M to do that? Stortini could easily play that role if he's not expected to touch the puck. I'm ready to wash my hands of last season's special teams, both ways though; hopefully we see a near Top 10 PP this season, for the first time in forever.

    2. I'd say Penner at center makes more sense than Hemsky at center because Hemsky produces quite a bit at his natural position, Penner quite a bit less so… and Penner can win a faceoff. I don't support the idea of switching either, but of the two I'd pick Penner.

    And, I guarantee that LT dismissed the idea because he didn't like it, not because he disliked the poster. It's a fair bit rude to say anyone that disagrees with you doesn't respect/like you. Clearly I disagree with you, but it has nothing to do with your username.

  3. DBO says:

    Fair comments about Penner. Maybe it's the hope spings eternal thing, but I see Penner scoring at least 25 goals this year, if only that Quinn will not take him off the 1st PP unit since no one else duplicates his skills in front of the net. Penner has been a complementary player in his time here, but unfortunately for Penner he has had a few games where he played physical and dominated the game. Makes us all hope for the consistency in his game. i look at him like a Jason Arnott, who needed to get his helmet knocked off in order to play physical. Lots of if's for penner, but he's only 1 of maybe 3 or 4 players on this team who can legitimately score 30. maybe the grandfatherly Quinn can get it out of him. personally i like the idea of Penner on the 2nd line with Gagner. they play at the same speed, and penner has the hands to pot some goals. he'll get gravy minutes and will outperform the comp if that is his line.

    O'Sullivan-Horcoff-Hemsky
    Penner-Gagner-Pisani

    Pisani brings responisble play and some physical stuff to the second line, which allows Quinn to run them against anybody. i like O'Sullivan as much as LT, so let him shoot and run with the big boys.

  4. DBO says:

    also LT. You mentioned the Zherdev for penner thing before, but what is he really like? Would love to see a breakdown of his numbers. i wonder if he would actually be an upgrade on penner.

  5. Fake Craig McTavish says:

    Matheson reporting this morning the Oilers have no interest in Zherdev.

  6. B.C.B. says:

    "Quality of Competition: 2nd level
    Quality of Teammates: very good 2nd level"

    A question for you, LT, how do you do this ranking? When I look at QualComp or QualTeam, I rank them by position and games played: i.e. Penner would rank 2nd toughest QualComp for LW who played over 40 games (Moreau 0.009, Penner -0.003, Patty'O -0.024, and Reddox -0.042). I can't figure out how you do it, so thanks for taking the time to explain it to me.

    Lastly, if Penner doesn't work out this year, it will take packaging him with a good young player (say Cogliano) or another 1st round pick to move him. Should the team not look at a buy-out instead of wasting another 1st round on him?

  7. Scott Reynolds says:

    LT, I'm intrigued by your suggestion that Dustin Penner's contract makes him a featured player. I mean, at the time he was signed what role did the team have in mind for him? Pretty clearly, complementary wing on the first line. Looking at the pay structure of the first line, 83, 10 and 27 make 13.85M which is less than a lot of first lines around the league.

    So how do they do together? As a line, they're able to outscore against the toughs reasonably consistently. They're not dominant, but they're a very good option that gives the Oilers the ability to spend money in other areas to help the team win. In my view, it's that other spending that's really let them down.

    As others have said looking at the GFON/60 is probably more fair for a look at his PP role and Penner does well there. I think this team has much bigger problems than Penner who, when placed in the role that he was signed for, has actually succeeded quite well (i.e. a complementary guy to 83 and 10).

  8. SK Oiler Fan says:

    Just say no to Penner at C. He doesn't skate well enough to play C in the NHL! Size doesn't matter when you're a zone behind!

    Here's a novel idea: Get more than 2 actual NHL centermen! There are still a few out there: Malhotra, Betts, Goc, Moore.

    Tambo keeps complaining about all of these contracts they have. Well get rid of some then! Most other teams don't seem to have a problem doing this.

    I suspect the reason the Oilers are rarely able to offload contracts and salary is that management seriously overvalues their mid level to fringe NHL players. The cap space is more valuable than what these players bring to the table.

  9. mc79hockey says:

    I'd agree GFON/60 for 5×4 paints a picture that is probably a bit more fair to his Ryan Smyth-lite contributions to the powerplay… but if he never gets the puck, why are we paying him $4.25M to do that?

    I'm no NHL coach but this is what would have me enraged about Penner if I was. If you wonder why Horcoff was basically playing the Penner role in front of the net and then falling out to the side, I'd bet that it's because he can win a footrace to the puck.

  10. Lord Bob says:

    Horcoff: +0.4 Corsi, best QUALCOMP, best QUALTEAM, respectable numbers up and down the board
    Penner: +7.0 Corsi, second-best QUALCOMP, second-tier QUALTEAM, respectable numbers (except the boxcars, but the rates all hold up) up and down the board

    Horcoff: "Horcoff is the most complete player on the roster."
    Penner: "Penner is the best of the current hands available, but he's a complementary piece…"

    See, LT, I see what you're saying about Penner not shooting enough, and I agree, although it's tough to get a lot of shots off when MacTavish is yanking your icetime around like a marionette with a meth problem.

    (Mind you, Horcoff had one-third more shots and scored the same number of goals, and yet this is somehow an indictment of Penner.)

    Dustin Penner goes on the ice and the Oilers get significantly more offensive chances then they allow defensive chances. That's pretty much the entire idea. No, he won't outperform his contract and the offer sheet was dumb dumb dumb, but he's not even as bad as Steve Staios, to say nothing of Nik Khabibulin.

  11. Lowetide says:

    Lord Bob: Will it go round in circles? Is that the song? We're on our way!

    The debate about Penner being the best option available on last season's team is a non-starter. He was clearly the best player available for the chore.

    However, that doesn't mean there wasn't more offense available on that line. That's my point. Hemsky is more mature than the period when Smyth was on that line and we don't have a recent comparable who was a natural LW and worthy of the 1line.

    Suspect we'll have something to compare Penner's top line seasons to next summer.

  12. rickibear says:

    He scores 29 in his last year with Anaheim and averages 20 with edmonton. Says more about the "lone rangers he has had to play with as set-up men."

    The guy:
    1. Outscores tough comp:
    2. Makes his teammates more productive.
    3. Top ten in PPG production the two years before operation MacT sabatoge.

    What the **** do you need.

    The guy helps you win games.

    Lets list off 90 LW that don't!

  13. Bruce says:

    Goals 2007-09

    1. Hemsky 43
    2. Penner 40
    3. Horcoff 38
    4. Cogliano 36
    5. Gagner 29

    Powerplay Goals 2007-09

    1. Penner 18
    2. Souray 14
    2. Horcoff 14
    4. Hemsky 12
    5. Gagner 10

    There's no Miro Satan in Cape Breton linescore on the resume.

    Satan, Cape Breton, 1994-95:
    25 GP, 24-16-40

    Penner, Portland, 2005-06:
    57 GP, 39-45-84, +41

  14. Vic Ferrari says:

    knighttown:

    On Hemsky, I think the fact that Hemsky is the PP's playmaker on the side boards is skewing your numbers.

    Acoording to NHL.com, at EV Hemsky had 19 goals and 16 assists.

  15. Bruce says:

    Knighttown: I don't like the idea of Hemsky at centre because I don't think Ales is that adapatable. There's no math there because Ales has no history there, other than a very unpromising 0-4, 0% on the dot last season.

    It's a long jump from disliking an idea to disliking the poster. Please don't read more into things than are there.

    Can't speak for others of course, but while I don't like the Hemsky at C idea, I like you just fine. :)

    Peace, out.

  16. mc79hockey says:

    I'm ok with Hemsky at centre but really don't like knighttown.

  17. Vic Ferrari says:

    Yeah, a lot of people who usually agree about players are at loggerheads over Penner.

    I think that for a lot of the detractors it has to with the 'he should be better' sentiment. It does for me, anyways. Obviously the Oilers thought he would be a better player, maybe even an impact player, you don't give up that quality of draft picks and pay a fairly unproven player that kind of money unless you think this.

    If you look at player's influence on territorial advantage, as measured by corsi … which ultimately correlates with scoring chances in ovewhelming fashion …

    Penner does look fantastic, as Derek Zona keeps reminding us. And part of that it because the other LW options were terrible, as Lain keeps reminding us.

    If you attempt to spearate a player's results from his linemates, account for zone starts and competition (recursively, SEE Lupulsmid), my own Oiler player rankings at LW:

    Penner: .567
    O'Sullivan: .520
    Nilsson: .470
    Moreau: .452
    Reddox: .331
    MacIntyre: .280

    Everyone should feel free to disregard these numbers if they flatter a personal whipping boy or condemn a favourite.

    Still, the fact is that while moving Penner around the lineup didn't have much effect on the Oilers overall numbers on any given night … the line Penner left got worse and the line he joined got better, conistently (context considered).

    Part of that is because the other LWs were poor, territorially. But I believe in the predictive value of this stuff, so I have to begrudgingly give Penner props.

    Only Horcoff and Vis have slightly better scores at this, Hemsky and Grebeshkov are right there too, then a drop to O'Sullivan, Cole, Gagner and finally Brodziak at .500 with Gilbert and Cogliano just a bit below. Then you start falling into the Abyss.

    On Brodziak, the Oilers could ill afford to give up and 'average' NHL forward. Artificially take away the coach's sheltering and:
    Brule at .343
    Peckham at .397
    JF Jacques at .353

    Brace yourselves, Oiler fans. Cogliano and Gagner need to get better at speed, methinks.

  18. Lord Bob says:

    Hey, LT, I couldn't let my fellow fatso go undefended! Sure you understand that.

    However, that doesn't mean there wasn't more offense available on that line. That's my point.

    I agree with that entirely, by the way. If Horcoff and Hemsky had, to pick a name entirely at random, Dany Heatley playing with them, they would score more goals.

    Of course, if Penner and Horcoff had, say, Alexander Ovechkin playing with them, the same thing would happen. There's always more offense unless you're running Messier – Gretzky – Kurri or Francis – Lemieux – Jagr or something.

    As I said, Chubbs Pennerson is a poor bet to outperform his contract and he is not the perfect option. But he is a good hockey player who can and will make big contributions to winning teams. You seemed to accentuate the negative just a bit, LT.

  19. NBOilerFan says:

    mc79hockey said…
    I'm ok with Hemsky at centre but really don't like knighttown.

    Ha… thanks for the chuckle. First day back to work after vacation and I needed some humor.

    I don't spend much time looking at advanced stats, but I personally liked Penner on the 1st line from the other options available last year (until the trade deadline) and even more so on the 1st line PP.

    You may be right, he may not be the best option at #1LW, but I think he deserves the chance and he'll get it.

    I'd also be shocked if we didn't end up seeing all of Penner, O'Sullivan and Nilsson all audition for that role at various times throughout the season.

    I'm also looking forward to seeing O'Sullivan at that spot yet again. But I'm not that optimistic that he will strive their either. Just because he shots more often, is certainly not enough.

    I had wanted them to make a decent attempt at getting Kotalik resigned (behaps they did) because I liked his skill set in that role and we started to see some chemistry from him and Hemsky (plus they are buddies).

    I think the positive with Penner is this quote… "…he has size and some skill so there's no line he can't play on." I think Penner along with many players on this team, allow for lots of flexibility on the wings.

    And to clarify, when you (Lowetide) say that Quinn may move him to center, you just mean taking the face-offs, not staying in the middle, no?

  20. RiversQ says:

    Lord Bob, I think you've got a blog yourself that's ready for your own brand of wild optimism.

    Vic: I'm going to disagree with you a little here. I think the step down on LW has been considerable and these things didn't really bear out for Penner in 07/08.

  21. Lord Bob says:

    Lord Bob, I think you've got a blog yourself that's ready for your own brand of wild optimism.

    Sam Gagner is a first-line centre! Andrew Cogliano is Todd Marchant with hands! Rob Schremp isn't useless!

  22. oilersinsider says:

    LT,

    It's interesting to see our differing opinions on Penner. (I too wrote an article on him today).

    I'll never think that Penner is the answer that the Oilers want — although when they brought him in, they thought he could be the answer they needed. I voted to see O'Sullivan in the first line LW role.

    But I do think a lot of what happened last year is a direct reflection of the MacTavish going away party and a one off we won't see repeated this season under Quinn and Renney.

    That being said, if Quinn has a tendancy to move his players around the line-up like a U-Haul truck, we could see less than 20 goals for the big man.

  23. quain says:

    Sam Gagner is a first-line centre! Andrew Cogliano is Todd Marchant with hands! Rob Schremp isn't useless!

    I don't drink just for me! I drink because when I do the Oilers turn into a team that's going to the playoffs! I drink for all the children in Edmonton who clutch their Ryan Smyth jersies and weep, every night, as we lose another game to Calgary!

  24. shanetrain says:

    Penner showed minimal effort last year wich made it much more maddening to watch personally. For 4.25 are you fucking kidding me.

    I had no problem the way MacT handled Penner at all last year. It must have been that much more painfull to watch up close.

    There is too much glad handing , butt slapping atta boy crap going on in todays sports.

  25. LMHF#1 says:

    Does the fact that Penner's "advanced" numbers are fairly good condemn the coach and those that slag Penner or condemn the process which derives the numbers?

  26. SK Oiler Fan says:

    Zherdev becomes a UFA.
    Oilers apparently have no interest.
    Hello KHL.

  27. Vic Ferrari says:

    LMHF

    What's not to understand?

    a. The handling of Penner had a minimal effect on the team's results.

    b. Penner is the best LWer, territorially at 5v5, on the roster, and by some distance. But the competition for that honour is terrible. (Jury is still out of O'Sullivan, though he looked good in his brief Oiler stint).

    Both of those points were fairly obvious anyways, I think. We're getting into the "How Much's" here.

    So when you read a thread on the subject at HFboards, edmontonoilers.com, etc … now you know that the people arguing the extremes of opinion "Penner is useless!!!1!11!" or "The coach ruined Penner!!1!111111" …
    well now you know that they are BOTH likely talking nonsense.

    Intuitively that was fairly obvious anyways, I would hope, but now you have evidence.

  28. bookie says:

    Penner showed minimal effort last year wich made it much more maddening to watch personally. For 4.25 are you fucking kidding me.

    I had no problem the way MacT handled Penner at all last year. It must have been that much more painfull to watch up close.

    I would have had no problem if someone were handling MACT that way. There sometimes is a time when you look at your boss and realize the guy is useless and you essentially just go with the flow as opposed to working your ass off to overcome the shoddy management of things. Now, in some cases you, as the employee are wrong and in others you are correct and the boss is useless.

    MacT had become pretty useless and his 'management' of player assets like Cole and Penner was attrocious.

    We will see what happens this year. I think Penner will improve and earn his contract. He wont be a superstar, but he will be a heck of a lot better.

  29. Peter says:

    Options 1-3 for Penner (in order of likelihood)

    Option 1: Penner comes to camp in shape, gives a solid effort which translates to decent success over the course of the season, and plays splits time between the 1st and 2nd line, scoring 25+ goals and 50 points. We say he's still a tad overpriced, but definitely a useful player. We think about trading him in the offseason since he only has 2 years left on his deal and we can now get somewhat of a return on him.

    Option 2: He comes to camp out of shape and lethargic. He puts up another 15-20 goals and 35-40 points, cycling between the 2nd line and the 4th lines. He's worth nothing in a trade. Maybe we can get a 4th round pick for him, but we might just buy him out.

    Option 3: power forward who drives the net, plays on the first line and scores 33 goals, 60 points, whom we actually want to keep at season's end.

    I think he'll play like he did his first season – below the unfair expectations that were placed on him, but still potting a solid 26 goals and 48 points (if he plays 80+ games). I think he's better suited to playing with Cogliano and Gagner on the 2nd line and let a true sniper in O'Sullivan play with Hemsky. The main thing with Penner is getting his compete level higher, and having him in shape. I think he'll have a better year than next year, but I think his ceiling is somewhere around 30 goals and 50 points, unless he played with an elite #1 centre that we don't have on our roster. He'd probably put up 35 goals and 60 points if he was Holmstrom on Detroit's PP, but this isn't Detroit. He should be useful this year, but probably won't knock anyone's socks off.

  30. quain says:

    MacT had become pretty useless and his 'management' of player assets like Cole and Penner was attrocious.

    What the hell did he do to piss in Erik Cole's cheerios now? That stupid prick! He didn't pair him up with Eric Staal! It was obvious to everyone!

  31. dave says:

    As Horc took every d-zone draw Penner also suffered there. Penner is at least 25G this year. If Samwise does eat into Horc's PP minutes he could score 30. Hemmer doesn't look for Penner. He looks for Horc or Souray. SamG will get the puck to Penner.

    MacT's mis-handling of Penner is a big reason he was let go.

  32. Lord Bob says:

    You don't think his name coming up in the Heatley trade means the organization isn't exactly in love with Penner right now either?

  33. godot10 says:

    To get value for money out of Penner, one has to play him with players who are good at playing deep, which is where Penner is a superior player. The Oilers have very few such players.

    I'd actually like to see Penner on RW with Gagner and O'Sullivan. O'Sullivan and Gagner are both able and willing to play deep.

  34. Steve says:

    I'd actually like to see Penner on RW with Gagner and O'Sullivan.

    Then it's a good thing that Liam Reddox is sticking around, or the Hemsky line might find itself without a LW!

  35. Ribs says:

    Nah, Steve. I think Ryan Stone is the better fit.

  36. hunter1909 says:

    Penner is the type of player a cup winning team needs. He's not particularly dependable, but comes up with those bigtime goals out of the blue that you need if you want to win the cup.

    You don't want to have to count on him, ever.

    Who cares what MacT thinks, anyway? MacT got himself fired for gross incompetance last season. Oh I forgot. 2006. LOL. We'll always have 2006, right?

  37. godot10 says:

    //Then it's a good thing that Liam Reddox is sticking around, or the Hemsky line might find itself without a LW!//

    Why not try Potulny with Hemmer and Horc during training camp?

    Potulny, Horcoff, Hemsky
    O'Sullivan, Gagner, Penner
    Moreau, Pouliot, Pisani
    Nilsson, Cogliano, Stortini

  38. Woodguy says:

    I'd actually like to see Penner on RW with Gagner and O'Sullivan. O'Sullivan and Gagner are both able and willing to play deep.

    So put Cogs at 1LW?

    I don't mind that at all actually.

  39. doritogrande says:

    Woodguy:

    I love the idea of Cogs as our 1-line LW. It'd finally give Hemsky someone who could keep up with him on his port-side. Not only that, but you'd think he'd be a little more encouraged to move away from center if he was assured he'd be lining up with Hemsky from time to time. Solves a lot of problems it does.

    Completely off-topic, but olympic camp rosters were released today for Russia, Finland and Slovakia. Things I noticed right off the hop:
    - Nikoli "KHL express" Zherdev left off the roster.
    - Grebeshkov might be able to crack the defense for Russia
    - Finland has stupid depth at the goaltending position, and will have to make some very tough cuts.
    - Jani Rita no longer wows the Scandinavians.
    - If the Slovaks stay healthy and get goaltending they could go pretty far this year.

    Full camp rosters are here: http://www.ctvolympics.ca/hockey/news/newsid=13629.html?cid=rsstsn

  40. pboy says:

    You don't think his name coming up in the Heatley trade means the organization isn't exactly in love with Penner right now either?

    You have to give up something of value to receive something of value (unless it's a deal between San Jose & Boston of course). Do you think the fact that Andrew Cogliano was rumoured to be part of the deal implies the Oilers are displeased with him?

    Penner is a big body who has scored 20+ goals in 2 of his 3 full NHL seasons. He won a Cup on an Anaheim team which mostly assembled by Bryan Murray and Bryan Murray is now the GM of the Sens and it's real possible that he really like Dustin Penner as a player.

  41. Lord Bob says:

    Do you think the fact that Andrew Cogliano was rumoured to be part of the deal implies the Oilers are displeased with him?

    Well, for weeks the rumour around Cogliano was that the Oilers fought hard to keep him but couldn't make the deal work without him in it. That Smid wanted out for a more regular shift. And that Penner, well, there were no rumours around him so it was like they were too happy to ship him out and save big on the bacon budget.

  42. Jonathan Willis says:

    If the Oilers liked Penner, they wouldn't constantly have tried to replace him a 1LW.

    I don't think it's a MacTavish thing alone.

  43. oilswell says:

    Willis: they liked Horcoff but still went after Nylander. They can still like Penner enough as a top-6. Sure the choices for upgrades are questionable (Nylander!!!!) but I can't condemn them for spending most of their efforts trying to upgrade the top.

    VF: in my limited casual viewing of O'Sullivan, he is hella shot happy, while Penner seems to spend most of his time shooting from the blue paint. Assuming this is true, do you nick O'Sullivan's Corsi numbers?

  44. Ribs says:

    …while Penner seems to spend most of his time shooting from the blue paint.

    ?

  45. Bruce says:

    Penner: .567
    O'Sullivan: .520
    Nilsson: .470
    Moreau: .452
    Reddox: .331
    MacIntyre: .280

    Interesting stuff Vic. Not sure how you derive your numbers, but the ordering seems right to my eye, and their strength relative to .500 seems reasonable. Not sure what the upper end of the range is (Datsyuk = .700?), but presumably MacIntyre and Reddox are more or less defining the lower end.

    On Brodziak, the Oilers could ill afford to give up and 'average' NHL forward.

    Yeah, no kidding. I still have no idea what prompted them to dump him. He's cheap and useful now, and by the time his new three-year contract expires he could be "Manny Malhotra", the kind of guy the 'sphere covets to strengthen the back end of a roster.

  46. Racki says:

    I've got a post up on my blog about Penner's ability to make his linemates play better due to the ice he opens up. It's at: http://www.puttingonthefoil.com/?p=28 . There's no doubt he is overpaid, but since we're stuck with him (for now anyways), he should be used in the way that most benefits the team. Every player he played reasonable time with has a better GFON with Penner on the ice than without (except for Strudwick, but that's pretty self explanatory). Now he just needs to work on his OWN totals. But I think he can get 20+ from line 2 with Gagner.

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