Friday, August 03, 2007

Penner Pens with Oil

Well, if you could believe it... Kevin Lowe actually got his man yesterday. Dustin Penner ended up signing with the Oilers yesterday as the Ducks would not match the (overpriced) offer sheet for the young winger. Penner, 24, scored 29 goals in all 82 games with the Ducks last season and brings a big frame for in front of the net to the Oilers attack. His 45 points ranked him 169th in the pool rankings last season (121st among forwards) and should have a large responsibility increase coming to a team where he should fit onto the first line. With a guy like Penner in front of the net, Souray and Pitkanen should have a great time launching pucks from the blueline. You may just see another big year from Souray and Pitkanen could have himself a career year with a big body like Penner in front.

Dustin PennerShawn HorcoffAles Hemsky
Raffi TorresJarret StollFernando Pisani
Geoff SandersonMarty ReasonerMarc Pouliot
Patrick ThoresonRob SchrempRobert Nilsson
Sheldon SourayJoni Pitkanen
Steve StaiosLadislav Smid
Matt GreeneDick Tarnstrom
Dwayne Roloson
Mathieu Garon

The Oilers sure made a big upgrade up front with Penner. Well, size-wise anyways. It will be interesting to see what kind of line match-ups Craig MacTavish may employ at the start of the season. If the four lines above are something close, the Oilers may have a better shot at the playoffs this season. I'm not terribly sure if Penner is really going to make any of his linemates better, although he could be the guy available for the backdoor pass from a guy like Hemsky or Stoll.

We all know how much better the blueline became when Souray and Pitkanen came to town. Now that they are both under contract for the coming year, Oiler fans can rest easy when it comes to offense from the point. A few big shots gives a lot of options, especially on the powerplay.

In goal, Dwayne Roloson will return as the number one guy, but he'll get a bit of a push with the acquistion of Mathieu Garon. Garon couldn't quite fit in with the Canadiens or the Kings, but if Roloson can get along in the Oiler crease, you would think just about anyone could.

The $4.25 million that Penner will make brings their salary level up to around $46 million, which should keep them somewhat competitive in the West. It does leave them some space for a rental player, should they need one, and it won't break the bank of the ownership.

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