Sunday, October 26, 2008

Improperly Utilized

Dustin Penner is a big man that casts a large shadow on opposing goaltenders. He isn't a sniper, he isn't an incredible playmaker, he isn't a prolific hitter, but he is a useful player when properly utilized.

What Penner is at this point in his career is a respectable defensive player who can do damage against opposing teams 2nd and 3rd defensive pairings at even strength, and against anyone on the PP.

Make no mistake about it, this guy was and is Ryan Smyth's replacement. We should start thinking of him as such. A guy for the front of the net who is a specialist. He can play on any line, but unless it is with players who can cycle well and shoot the puck with him wreaking havoc in front of it, we will be wasting our teams 3rd highest paid player in a less than ideal situation.

He does well with Horcoff, but not Hemsky. And it could also be said that he doesn't play too well with any 2 of Nilsson, Gagner, and Cogliano. So what do you do? You have a guy that makes $4.25 million and is signed for 3 more seasons after this one. IMO you change the teams way of thinking. Horcoff and Hemsky maybe better off on separate lines. Either that or it's time to get some skill playing with Penner in a lesser role.

Here are a few options...

#1-Separate Horcoff and Hemsky


#2-Bring in more skill to roll with 3 true scoring lines and a checking line


#3-Drop him onto a line with less responsibility


The bottom line is that we are wasting at least 1 players talent every time that Stortini and MacIntyre suit up, or even if just 1 of them suits up.

A Dustin Penner that pots 20+ goals from the bottom 6 would greatly improve the Oilers. Why fight the abundance of skill and try to turn offensive players into checkers? This is a player that 2 seasons ago had 20 even strength goals for Anaheim. Simply add more offensive players to get that kind of production out of him again. I can think of a few guys on the farm that would be chomping at the bit to play in an offensive role in the NHL.


Jonathan said...

I can't disagree that Penner's been misused - for starters, on this team he should be a lock as the number one LW option on the powerplay, no ifs ands or buts.

Where I dod iodsagree is how he plays with Hemsky - there were sequences last year where he looked dynamite with Horcoff and 83, and I think he could again. As to separating 10 and 83, the only other centre on the team who I would trust to read Hemsky without a massive adjustment period is Gagner.

Bryanbryoil said...

IMO Hemsky really never gave Penner his just due. IMO Horcoff was the glue that held that line together. Enough of a grinder to compliment Penner, and enough skill to compliment Hemsky.

Stoll and Reasoner were by no means in the same caliber of Horcoff, but Hemsky and Penner never had a decent 2 man game going in spite of their anchors down the middle. That lines production died without #10 in the fold.