Leading up to July 5th, the first day of NHL free agency, we will be profiling various free agents that we believe the Predators could or should pursue. Today we continue with Los Angeles Kings forward Dustin Penner…
Position: Left Wing
2012-13 Stats: 33 GP, 2 G, 12 A, 14 PTS, -2
2011-12 Stats: 65 GP, 7 G, 10 A, 17 PTS, -7
Previous Contract: 1 year, $3.25 million
Projected Cap Number: From $2-3 million
Why the Preds should pursue: With five roster spots to fill and just a little over $6 million in cap space, the Kings are likely to say goodbye to Penner, leaving him open to the highest bidder. His price tag should come down considerably after underperforming the past few seasons. With Nashville likely in need of another left-winger, Penner could fill the gap and give Nashville some depth in the lower end of its list of forwards. Penner also has great puck possession and this will be key against teams that feature high-flying offenses where it is hard to enter their zone.
Why the Preds shouldn’t pursue: Penner is a risk. In the past he was a solid 20-goal scorer (and even scored 32 in 2009-10 for Edmonton), but since going to Los Angeles he has a grand total of 11 goals in 117 games for the Kings. Are his best days behind him? He will turn 31 before the 2013-14 season starts and may not be the best fit with Barry Trotz. Penner may be open to the highest bidder, but just how much are you willing to pay a guy that hasn’t had a 20-goal season since 2010?
Where he would fit: Ideally, Penner would provide secondary scoring on the third line for Nashville. Penner could also add some size. At 6-feet-4, if Penner was on the wing of, say, Paul Gaustad (also 6’4″), Nashville would start to look a little tougher to play against. No matter where he was slotted in the lineup, how could a guy who hurts his back eating pancakes not fit in?