Kings General Manager Dean Lombardi wanted to add something enticing to his surging team without giving up top prospect Brayden Schenn. Dustin Penner was the answer, and although he came at a steep price -- including a top defense prospect and a first-round draft pick -- Lombardi appeared tired but in good spirits after making what was arguably the day's biggest splash.
Penner comes to Los Angeles from Edmonton in exchange for 2008 first-round pick Colten Teubert, a first-round pick in 2011 and a conditional second-round pick in 2012.
Penner had 21 goals and 39 points in 62 games with the Oilers this season. He scored a career-high 32 goals and 63 points this past season.
Los Angeles enters its game Monday against Detroit as the fifth-place team in the Western Conference with 76 points. The Kings have won three in a row and 11 of their last 15 games.
It is unlikely Penner will play Monday night because of travel issues.
"It looks like we've grown, we've learned from our mistakes and this is the time when you look at your team and say, you know, they deserve some help and strength in our locker room to make us a better team," Lombardi told reporters at the team's practice facility, according to the Kings' website. "I just felt there was a little more urgency because of what the players had done to get us to this point. I felt they deserved it."
Lombardi reportedly inquired about Ales Hemsky, but Edmonton wanted Schenn, so he backed away. He reportedly made a cross-country phone call to Florida to talk to Dale Tallon about David Booth, but again, no deal.
Penner, he felt, was the right player at the right price. The fact that he's not just a rental also played a role in the deal. Penner is signed for one more season at a reported cap hit of $4.25 million, a number Lombardi said is "not a cost-prohibitive contract."
Lombardi also said he could afford to give up Teubert, the No. 13 pick in the 2008 Entry Draft, because he has Matt Greene signed through 2013-14 and believes he and Teubert are similar players.
"What I saw in (AHL) Manchester was in a lot of ways a young Matt Greene," Lombardi said of Teubert, who had 10 points in 39 AHL games this season. "If we didn't have Matt Greene on this team, and hopefully Greener is going to be a here a while, this is something I would be more hesitant on."
The Kings filled their need for a scoring left wing. Penner figures to slide onto the top line alongside Anze Kopitar and Wayne Simmonds. Brad Richardson was playing there, but he'll likely move down to a bottom-six role.
Penner also has ties to the Kings, having played with Greene and Jarret Stoll in Edmonton during the 2007-08 season. He also won the Stanley Cup with the Anaheim Ducks before signing a highly publicized five-year offer sheet with the Oilers that Anaheim chose not to match.
"When you get a guy who has played on a Stanley Cup tam and was a big part of that team in his own way, that certainly bodes well," Lombardi said. "The one thing we've prided ourselves on here is becoming a team that is hard to play against, and this is a guy that would certainly fit that definition of being hard to play against."
"I think he'll get a boost of energy. I think it'll be a good fit for him."
Lombardi said he knew any chances of acquiring Brad Richards from Dallas died last week, and he didn't have any desire to trade either of his goalies, Jonathan Quick or Jonathan Bernier. In fact, he had no desire to move anyone off the roster.
"It's about making this team better right now," to fill a hole, and creating a hole to do so didn't make any sense.
As for Schenn, the Kings' top pick in the 2010 Entry Draft, Lombardi said, "That was a non-starter. We never had to agonize over whether we were going to do something."
Lombardi's other big move of the day was re-signing forward Justin Williams to a four-year contract extension worth $14.6 million ($3.65 million cap hit). Williams could have become an unrestricted free agent on July 1, but Lombardi said signing Williams was as important to the Kings now as the trade for Penner.
"That's huge. I'm thrilled," Lombardi said. "He's one of our most-skilled players. I think it would have been a massive hole to lose his skill level. Our team would have possibly gone backwards before it went forward. He's as big in the last 48 hours as bringing in Dustin Penner. I'm thrilled he took a reasonable number that is good for us long term."
We want to make sure that whoever makes our team really makes our team by earning it and not putting them in situations where they get preference because of their status as a first-round pick or whatever it might be. That's not going to happen. Everybody has to earn their way on our team.
— Columbus Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen on the team's prospects at development camp