The Anaheim Ducks will be facing the Washington Capitals tomorrow at the Honda Center. It would be appear to just be another game, but this time Dustin Penner will be on the ice in a Capitals jersey. It is going to feel weird to see him on ice in red and white.
We know the Ducks front office was trying to get Ryan Kesler from the Vancouver Canucks or Thomas Vanek from the Buffalo Sabres. The day before the trade deadline Ducks GM Bob Murray sent Penner to the Capitals for a draft pick and then sent that pick to Dallas for Stephane Robidas. The day of the deadline Murray tried to get Vanek or Kesler and neither deal went through.
Now there is a hole on the top line to fill. Bruce Boudreau has put Kyle Palmieri, Patrick Maroon, and even Teemu Selanne on the top line in the last four games. Penner played in 49 games this year for the Ducks and had 13 goals and 19 assists. This was one of his better years lately. He was reunited with Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf, who were on the same line in the 2007 Stanley Cup Champion year. So why with his point totals and chemistry did he really get traded?
I believe Penner was traded because there were questions about Penner’s work ethic this season. Locals had seen Penner out partying in south Orange County during the Olympic break. Another blog writer even saw him at a bar and took photos with him. We all know Penner to be a jokester on Twitter as well. Penner was a healthy scratch some games this season and maybe his casual and comedic attitude was too much for the Ducks front office.
Regardless the reasons, I completely disagree with the trade of Penner. Every team needs a guy that can break the tension in a locker room with some comedic relief. The Ducks front office traded Viktor Fasth to the Edmonton Oilers for two draft picks. The Ducks could have used those two picks to go after Vanek or Kesler and maybe even get another defenseman too. You don’t trade Penner without getting a player to fill his role.
The Ducks should have kept Penner on the team and top line for the rest of this season and playoffs. Penner usually does even better in the playoffs. Chemistry between line mates is an intangible that is difficult to replace sometimes. If Penner stayed on the team and did poorly in the playoffs, then maybe there would be a reason to trade him. Now we will never know how he would have done on the top line this post season. I just hope this trade doesn’t come back to bite our team come playoff team.
(6/21/14) UPDATE: At the Open House event at the Honda Center on June 20th, Getzlaf and Murray revealed Penner was traded due to off ice activities and his game being inconsistent. Ducks Updates from Open House
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