Dustin Penner rejoins the Ducks: ‘I’ve always wanted to come back’
Dustin Penner spoke of something being “rekindled,” his comfort with old friends and teammates, and his scoring touch being foremost in his thoughts as the former King signed a one-year contract to rejoin the Ducks on Tuesday.
Penner’s contract is worth $2 million, according to a hockey official not authorized to comment publicly.
“Just past experiences … more times than not it can happen again,” said Penner, referring to his 29-goal season in 2006-07 alongside Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry when the team won the Stanley Cup.
“I remain good friends with Getz and Perry. I’ll show up at camp and see where the chips fall,” the 30-year-old left wing said.
A vacancy alongside Getzlaf and Perry was made more glaring by the recent trade of Bobby Ryan to Ottawa.
Ducks General Manager Bob Murray said he and Coach Bruce Boudreau “really hope” Penner can join Getzlaf and Perry and provide “stabilization” to what has been a revolving door.
“It would sure make things easier for us,” Murray said. “He’s motivated and has made it through some tough situations we talked about at length” before the signing. Murray declined to reveal what those situations were.
Last season with the Kings, Penner had two goals and 12 assists while being paid $3.25 million. He scored 11 regular-season goals in his two-plus seasons with the team after averaging 25 in five seasons before that with Edmonton and the Ducks combined.
Penner admitted Tuesday he had been reluctant to leave Anaheim, taking two weeks to sign an offer sheet with Edmonton in 2007. He then struggled to live up to the expectations attached to that contract, and was traded to the Kings in February 2011 in exchange for Colten Teubert and two draft picks.
“I wish I could’ve contributed more,” Penner said of his stay with the Kings. “But winning a Cup in a city that hadn’t won a Cup was something I’d never trade.”
Penner scored three playoff goals for the Kings as they reached the Western Conference finals this year. He has 35 points (22 assists) in 78 career postseason games, with a plus-19 rating.
“Obviously, it was a tough season for me and it’s tough to leave a team that I won a Cup with,” Penner said of his time with the Kings. “But it’s nice to come back to a team I won a Cup with.”
The 6-feet-4 and 240 pounds, Penner said the size the Ducks can throw at opponents with a possible first line of him, Getzlaf and Perry is encouraging, although he said nothing’s been promised.
“I’m excited about having a chance to play with those guys again,” Penner said. “I’ve always wanted to come back, I have so much familiarity with the area. I still think I can play at the level I did in Edmonton, I just needed a different situation and hope this is the one. Time will tell.”
The Kings acquired tough forward Daniel Carcillo on Tuesday from the Chicago Blackhawks for a conditional pick in the 2015 draft. Carcillo, 27, played in 23 regular-season games and four postseason games for the Stanley Cup champions.
Carcillo has led the NHL in penalty minutes twice in his career, and has played alongside the Blackhawks’ first-line with Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews, creating space and providing better speed than expected from such a physical player.
The challenge for the hot-tempered Carcillo under Kings Coach Darryl Sutter will be avoiding the reckless penalties tthe coach dislikes.
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