Frozen Royalty: No Time To Lose For Dustin Penner To Figure Things Out
When Dean Lombardi traded for Dustin Penner at the trade deadline fans finally exclaimed “Deano finally made a good trade”. And, while Penner showed flashes of brilliance, his performance has since tempered off. Here, Gann Matsuda gets into what’s going on with him a bit more with quotes from Terry Murray and Dustin Penner. Check it out!
EL SEGUNDO, CA — With star center Anze Kopitar and right wing Justin Williams out of action with serious injuries, the Los Angeles Kings are struggling, even more than before, to score goals. As such, there is a ton of added pressure on their defense and goaltending to keep the puck out of their own net, knowing that their offense is sorely lacking.
Although he was brought in to play alongside Kopitar and create space to free Kopitar up to produce more offensively, left wing Dustin Penner was also expected to contribute his share of goals when the Kings acquired him in a trade deadline day deal.
Penner, 28, was acquired from the Edmonton Oilers on February 28, in exchange for defenseman prospect Colten Teubert, a first round selection in the 2012 National Hockey League Entry Draft, and a conditional third round pick in the 2012 draft (the pick becomes a second round pick in 2012 should the Kings win the Stanley Cup this season).
So far, things have certainly not gone as expected, or hoped.
To be sure, losing Kopitar and Williams have not helped Penner’s game. Nevertheless, as one of the Kings’ top six forwards, more is expected from him than the two goals and four assists for six points in 16 games since he joined the Kings.
Head coach Terry Murray noted that Penner is having difficulty learning the Kings’ system.
“I wish [his progress in learning the system] was further along,” said Murray. “I see some hesitancy in this game, and in reading the play without the puck. As an example, on the opening face-off last night [a 6-1 loss at San Jose on April 4], when we lost the face-off, our F1 [forward] on the neutral zone forecheck is our right winger, and [Penner, on left wing] jumps [instead].”
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