As was first reported by Pierre LeBrun, and confirmed by Lisa Dillman, Dustin Penner has chosen to forego the potential riches of the free agent market to re-sign with the Los Angeles Kings. It is a one season contract for $3.25 million.
This is exactly the kind of signing I wanted to see. Here's why:
- Gagne is back, but as we saw last season, depth at LW is useful. Even if everyone stays healthy, it's good to have options.
- The contract is a low-risk one for LA. They have more than enough cap space for a gamble such as this. If it doesn't work out, they aren't tied up long term. If it does work out, they got a top 6 LW at a bargain price.
- Penner's career shooting percentage is 12.5%. Last season, it was 5.9%. That makes him a prime candidate for a rebound -- especially if he gets some power play time in front of the net.
After the Kings won the Cup, Penner said that he wanted to return and would take less to do so. Lombardi seemed cautious up until their meeting last Wednesday. This is a great "show me" contract that bridges the gap.
All in all, it shows just how much the Kings' free agents wanted to come back into the fold. Penner likely could have gotten a longer term and more money elsewhere. Instead, he wanted a chance to prove that he belongs.
Let's hope we see that forest of a playoff beard thrive again. And a handlebar mustache too.