We’re nearly a week into the unrestricted free agent market and Dustin Penner is still available. He’s far removed from his days as a clear top-six forward, but Penner still had two goals and 14 points in 33 games last season while averaging just 12:42 minutes of ice time.
He saw his playing time increase during the Kings 2013 playoff run and of course he’s been with the team through one of their best stretches in the franchise’s history.
So does Kings GM Dean Lombardi have any interest in bringing Penner back? Maybe, but it’s not likely to happen.
“It’s one of those cap things,” Lombardi explained to LA Kings Insider, “and I guess it’s safe to say I have a limited amount of cap space left, and there certainly isn’t going to be enough to – I mean his requirements. I talked to him the other day, and I just told him. I talked to his agent a couple days ago and [said] ‘This is where we’re at. I’ve only got X amount left.'”
The Kings have a little over $5 million in cap space left, according to Cap Geek, but they still have to re-sign several restricted free agents, including defensemen Alec Martinez and Jake Muzzin, as well as forwards Kyle Clifford, Jordan Nolan, and Trevor Lewis.
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Kyle Turris was far from an accomplished NHLer when he requested a trade out of the Coyotes organization. In fact, when he was dealt to the Senators in 2011, the third overall pick in the 2007 draft had just 46 points in 137 NHL games.
Since then, Turris has emerged as Ottawa’s top center, with the promise of a big payday in the summer of 2018 when his current $17.5 million deal expires and he becomes an unrestricted free agent.
It’s for that very reason that he can understand Jonathan Drouin‘s position with the Tampa Bay Lightning.
“It’s tough,” Turris told the Tampa Bay Times. “Everyone has mixed feelings, and especially not being an established player. Then people are doubting that you’re doing the right thing, you really have to have confidence in yourself and your ability to do it.”
Though Turris, now 26, took a “lot of heat from the media…and people within the organization” and recalls the time after his trade request was made public as a “tough, tough go,” he believes the opportunity he received with the Sens “saved” him.
As we’ve written in the past, you don’t have to agree with how Drouin is handling things — maybe it ends up hurting him; he still has a lot to prove — but there have been young players who have chosen similar paths, and it’s worked out well for them.
Drouin, by the way, has 40 points in 89 NHL games.