Dustin Penner signed a one-year deal with the Anaheim Ducks over the summer, and the motivation behind the deal was simple: Get back to where the success began. It was with the Ducks that Penner had played his best hockey, and in his younger years he’d formed one of the most dominating lines in recent memory alongside Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry.
After four years with the Edmonton Oilers and another three with the Los Angeles Kings, Penner seemed to be at a crossroads in his career. With no contract offer coming from L.A. and a reputation for being on the lazy side (true or not), Penner was in a position where he had to take less salary to land with a contender.
He found his new home where his career began in Anaheim.
General Manager Bob Murray would be the first guy to tell you that the $2 million dollar contract he handed to Penner was a risk. He was banking on the player rekindling chemistry on a line with Getzlaf and Perry. A line that hadn’t been intact for seven years. The risk is proving a worthy one for both player and team.
Penner has revitalized his floundering career in Anaheim and currently leads the NHL is plus-minus. The Ducks have never had an offense perform this well out of the gate—the team has scored 62 goals through their first 18 games—and the Penner-Perry-Getzlaf connection has been one of the top lines in the league through the first several weeks of action.
The NHL is chock full of stories about failures and players not living up to faith or expectations. It’s nice to see a guy like Penner turn his career around on a dime and reward a team for its confidence for a change.