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Kings Acquire a New Face, Resign a Familiar One

by Rich Hammond / Los Angeles Kings
The Kings made arguably their most significant move of the Dean Lombardi era on Monday morning when, shortly before the trade deadline, they acquired winger Dustin Penner from Edmonton for defensive prospect Colten Teubert and two draft picks.

In another significant move, completed hours earlier, the Kings signed winger Justin Williams -- who is tied for the team lead in goals -- to a four-year contract extension.

Penner, 28, is a four-time 20-goal scorer who already had 21 goals in 62 games with the Oilers this season. He will be expected to fill the oft-discussed void the Kings have for a top-six left winger and is likely to play on the first line alongside center Anze Kopitar.

Penner should be available for Thursday’s game against Phoenix at STAPLES Center.

Newly-acquired winger Dustin Penner should be available to against the Phoenix Coyotes on Thursday.
``We're pretty proud of our team, with the way we came out of that second slide,’’ Lombardi said, referring to the Kings’ struggles in January. ``It looks like we've grown, we've learned from our mistakes, and this is one of those times where you look at your team and you say, `You know what? They deserve some help' and strengthen our locker room and make us a better team.

``It's timing, when to start moving picks or prospects. I just felt that there was a little more urgency because of what the players had done to get us to this point. I felt they deserved it.'’

The deal, completed less than an hour before the noon Pacific time trade deadline, gives the Kings a former Stanley Cup champion in exchange for a piece of the future.

In bringing in Penner, the Kings were able to get a top-six forward -- one who is also signed through next season -- without giving up one of their goalie prospects or center Brayden Schenn, whose name had been breathlessly mentioned in baseless rumors.

The Kings did, however, give up Teubert, a large (6-foot-4, 195 pounds) 20-year-old defenseman with an admirable mean streak, but a prospect who has been trying to find his way in the organization since being drafted No. 13 overall in 2008.

Teubert had two goals and eight assists in 39 games with the AHL’s Manchester Monarchs this season. The Kings also gave up their first-round draft pick in 2011, and a conditional third-round pick in the 2012 draft is also a part of the deal.

Defensive prospect Colten Teubert, shown here with Team Canada at the World Junior Championships, went the other way in today's Dustin Penner trade.  Teubert was selected 13th overall in 2008.
``When I was down in Manchester, he has come a long way,’’ Lombardi said. ``I would say that he started off a little slowly, coming out of his draft year, but he arguably was one of our most improved players down there. I think, probably, the one reason I was able to do this is because we have Matt Greene. What I saw in Manchester was very much, in a lot of ways, a young Matt Greene. So I think Edmonton has got a good player here.’’

In recent days and weeks, the Kings had been linked to a laundry list of players presumed to be available in advance of the trade deadline, most notably Penner, Edmonton teammate Ales Hemsky and the Dallas Stars’ Brad Richards.

In the end, Hemsky and Richards both stayed put, and the Kings arguably pulled in the biggest fish among the pool of players that were moved in advance of the deadline.

``It's good to get a deal done,’’ coach Terry Murray said in an interview on NHL Network. ``Penner is going to be a real good fit for us. He's a guy that's going to bring us some offense. i think that's the one thing that we need to add to our hockey club. We're pretty good away from the puck. Our numbers show that, in the standings. We needed to add some offense, and here's a guy who has the potential to be a 35-, 40-goal scorer. So he's going to fit good on the left side with Kopitar.’’

Penner scored a career-high 32 goals with the Oilers last season. Edmonton signed Penner to a five-year contract in the summer of 2007, shortly after he won the Stanley Cup with the Anaheim Ducks, and there’s some inherent familiarity, as Penner was teammates with current Kings Matt Greene and Jarret Stoll while in Edmonton.

``Whenever you get a guy that has a Stanley Cup ring -- and was a big part of that team, in his own way -- that certainly bodes well for somebody that has been through the wars and understands what it takes in the playoffs,’’ Lombardi said of Penner.

``The one thing we've prided ourselves on here is becoming a team that's hard to play against. That's also why sometimes, when you go to the marketplace, I'm skeptical of certain things. This is a guy that would certainly fit that definition, of being hard to play against.’’

Justin Williams signed a four-year contract extension today, keeping him in Los Angeles through the 2014-15 season.
One of Penner’s new teammates will be Williams, who secured his future by signing a four-year contract extension. Williams, acquired from Carolina in a 2008 deadline-day deal, has regularly been a top-six winger during his time with the Kings.

``I'm thrilled,’’ Lombardi said of signing Williams. ``He's one of our most-skilled players. I think it would have been a massive hole, to lose his skill level. So he's as big a part of the last 48 hours as bringing in Dustin Penner. That's an important piece for us, and I'm thrilled that he took a reasonable (salary) number that works for us long term.’’

Williams, a three-time 20-goal scorer and two-time 30-goal scorer, would have become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.

``I've been here for two years now, and there's something to be said for familiarity and the direction of the team. This team is going in the real right direction, and I want to be a part of it when it gets really good, and be here when we make pushes in the playoffs and eventually win the Stanley Cup. Who knows when that's going to happen, but I hope to be here when it does.''

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