DENVER — Left wing Dustin Penner, who signed with the Ducks as a free agent over the summer, will be a healthy scratch and won’t play in the team's season opener Wednesday night against the Colorado Avalanche at Pepsi Center.
During Penner's tenure with the Kings he was sometimes demoted to the fourth line or held out of the lineup altogether because of a lack of fitness or lack of goal production. The Kings didn’t have the salary cap space or patience to bring him back this season. The Ducks, hoping he would be revived by being reunited with Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf, his linemates early in his NHL career and on the Ducks' 2007 Stanley Cup championship team, took a chance on him with a one-year, $2-million contract.
Patrick Maroon beat out Penner for the spot at left wing alongside Getzlaf and Perry.
“We really are counting on Dustin to be a big part of this club,” Ducks Coach Bruce Boudreau said after the team’s morning skate. “And I just think you have to reward certain people for having good training camps and you have to make a point of, if you don’t have a great training camp that this isn’t just given to you. Everything’s given to you.
“So that was the case. And in Dustin’s defense, the last 10 days he’s worked extremely hard. He’s not quite where he wants to be but he’s getting closer, a lot closer than when he first came into camp … Maroon earned the first game.”
Getzlaf was reluctant to say much about Penner being scratched. “That’s not up to me that’s up to them,” he said, referring to the coaches.
“We’re trying not to let this be a distraction. We’ve done enough talking about Pens being here and all that kind of stuff. He’s got to work his way into the lineup, like everybody else.”
Right wing Jakob Silfverberg was activated off injured reserve and is scheduled to play on the Ducks’ second line Wednesday, alongside Mathieu Perreault and Teemu Selanne. Winger Devante Smith-Pelly was assigned to Norfolk (Va.) of the American Hockey League to open a roster spot for Silfverberg, whom the Ducks acquired from Ottawa in the Bobby Ryan trade.
One more note: This will be the final opening night for Selanne, the Ducks' 43-year-old right wing, who has said he will retire after this season.
“Every day is going to be fun,” he said. “You look at things different when you know this is going to be one of the last days here …. We have a good team and it’s a big challenge for us this year.”
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