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Kings bring Penner back with one-year deal

Sunday, 07.01.2012 / 3:42 PM / NHL Free Agency 2012

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Kings bring Penner back with one-year deal
The Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings resigned their most important unrestricted free agent Sunday, agreeing to terms with forward Dustin Penner on a one-year contract worth $3.25 million.

Dustin Penner could have dipped his toes in free-agent waters and likely secured a long-term deal. But the burly, affable winger wanted to return to the Stanley Cup champions.

Penner signed a one-year extension with the Los Angeles Kings worth a reported $3.25 million Sunday, the opening day of free agency. That means Los Angeles can return everyone from its regular lineup after the earlier re-signings of Jarret Stoll and Colin Fraser (winger Dwight King is a restricted free agent).

Penner, who took about a $1 million pay cut from what he made last season and will again be in a contract year, said he never got to free agency and worked it out with general manager Dean Lombardi beforehand.  He cited his infamous departure from the Anaheim Ducks after he won the Cup with them in 2007 and then signed an offer sheet from the Edmonton Oilers.

Dustin Penner
Dustin PenneR - 2011-12
Left Wing - LAK
GOALS: 7 | ASST: 10 | PTS: 17
SOG: 119 | +/-: -7
"My mindset was, I wanted to be on a championship team," Penner said in a conference call. "In the past, when I was in Anaheim, I kind of flew the coop early. I didn't get to be part of a championship team the following year, which is something that delayed my signing of the offer sheet because I wanted to be a part of that. It's a great organization here with the Kings … I wanted to be a part of that for another year."

Penner acknowledged, "I knew there was probably other teams that would have offered me more than a year," but reiterated he wanted to return to the same group. He made a reference to the movie "The Matrix" to describe his outlook.

"I had taken the blue pill last time," he said. "This time, I wanted to take the red pill … I wanted to see what it was like to be back on a team that I won a championship with. It's a great opportunity for myself, personally, to have the year I've wanted to have as a King. Last year wasn't anywhere near people's expectations, and especially my own. I look forward to having that opportunity to redeem myself further."

Penner, who will turn 30 in September, had a disappointing regular season with seven goals and 17 points in 65 games. He also went through a divorce and roomed with Stoll at one point. On the ice, Penner rediscovered his form as an impact power forward in the postseason, collecting three goals and 11 points in 20 playoffs games.
Penner moved to the second line for the Kings with Jeff Carter and Mike Richards in the second round, and the trio meshed well during the march to the Cup. Penner scored the series-clinching goal in the Western Conference Finals against the Phoenix Coyotes to put the Kings in the Stanley Cup Final for the first time since 1993.

Lombardi last month mentioned that Penner will need to have a procedure done on his wrist this offseason, and Penner indicated it wasn't serious.

"It hasn't affected my golf game much," he said. "It's not something that effects hockey, but something I'll have to get done in the near future."

Penner's re-signing was noticed by at least one teammate.

"Now that @Dustinpenner25 has signed on for one more year I stocked the team snack room," Kings captain Dustin Brown posted on his Twitter account, along with a picture of Kraft "Easy Cheese" containers.
Quote of the Day

You get the right the whistles at the right times, you can leave him out there. He's a beast when it comes to being on the ice. I thought [Saturday] he was a big man. That first period, he did that lateral cut and it was like three bowling pins bounced off him. There's not too many guys that can do that.

— Capitals coach Barry Trotz on Alex Ovechkin, who enters February tied for the NHL lead in goals