Takes and trash talk from both ALL sides of the NHL's most obscure PATHETIC* rivalry

* Thanks, Kevin Lowe!

Friday, July 27, 2007

A few more thoughts on Dustin Penner

I went home last night to think through this Penner offer sheet a bit more, but I don't think my conclusion has changed. Here are some stats I've gathered that indicate that Penner should not be Anaheim's highest paid forward next year:

  • Of all the Ducks that played more than 15 games this year (regular season + playoffs), Penner had the worst even-strength goals-against average on the team, and he wasn't even facing the opposition's best scorers.

  • On the power play, Penner was 7th on the team in minutes and 9th on the team in scoring. His PP points-per-hour were the lowest for any forward not on the Pahlsson line.

  • In his NHL career (reg. season + playoffs), Penner has scored a total of 69 points over 135 games. Five other Ducks surpassed that points total last year alone.

  • Despite the Ducks' success in the playoffs, it is interesting to note that Dustin Penner was shut out completely for the month of May (10 games).
All that said, I don't predict Burke very well and I don't think I'd crucify him if he decided to match. It certainly would stretch the budget thin, but despite his flaws, Penner finished second on the team in regular-season goals as a rookie, and certainly should improve his game in the coming years, especially if Bertuzzi can effectively tutor him. Next summer, re-signing Getzlaf and Perry will be a pain regardless of where Penner plays this year, but Burke has shown an ability to ditch salary capably when he's needed to.

If Burke does match, then Penner and Bertuzzi would represent the team's top two salaried forwards, which is strange since neither is naturally assured a top-line spot. I'd probably have to use this nonsense price-per-pound metric to make sense of the salary structure:


Avg. SalaryWeight*Price per pound

Todd Bertuzzi


242 lbs.


Dustin Penner


243 lbs.


Andy McDonald


185 lbs.


Chris Pronger


220 lbs.


Mathieu Schneider


191 lbs.


J.S. Giguere


200 lbs.


Scott Niedermayer


200 lbs.


* Player weights taken from NHL.com

So I dunno, my take is still that Burke should take the picks and let the Oilers pay Penner, but I don't feel as strongly about it as I did yesterday. All offseason, I have been excited to see the first instance where Pronger throws a snapshot through a Penner-and-Bertuzzi 485-pound double-screen, so maybe that's clouding my judgment some.

In any event, I still should poke some fun at the L.A. Times online edition, who added a silly picture-question to their Penner story:

Uh, nice proofreading, guys, but I'm going to go out on a limb and predict that Francois Beauchemin stays...


Anonymous said...

O-H M-Y G-O-D, that price per pound metric is so funny. Classic!!

dbushik said...

What is Bert going to effectively tutor Penner in exactly? Is it beating a dead horse to suggest maybe he'd only be good for teaching youngsters how to break other people's necks and then feel sorry for themselves about it?

I'm kind of mixed on this offer sheet thing. First, the salary cap has made salaries really wacky. Well, the cap and other CBA changes.

It isn't just about how much a guy is worth. It's about what you have room for this year or next or the one after that, it's about how much a particular guy or kind of player is worth based on your particular team make-up, and with offer sheets it's about what your rivals feel they can get away with making you overpay to retain a guy.

And funny thing is, it doesn't seem to be keeping a lid on rising salaries so much and pushing up the salaries of 20 somethings with pottential and making the average length longer on all deals in general.

Roy just signed for $4M per, and that was without the competition factor of an offer sheet. Is he somewhat comparable to Penner? Horton just got $4M per. Is he comparable? Hartnell got $4.2M per. I can give examples of players I think are both a touch better and a touch inferior to Penner, who also just signed, and there appears little correlation between how good they are and where their salary sits. All pretty much right in the same ball-park though.

It's interesting for me as a Kings fan because of Cammalleri obviously. Not so much the offer sheet drama, but just in general what these guys are getting paid and what factors it seems to connect to. I mean should he be getting Andrew Brunette money ($1.6M) for being a point per game or should he be getting Marleau or Tanguay kind of money ($4.5M / $5.4M)?

I honestly think all the talk of Lowe going into taboo territory here is pretty silly. Not so much what is said here in particular, but just in general with all the, "ohhhh, Burke is going to go total bitch-cakes on Lowe" drama aspect of the media coverage.

Just like last year when Clarke went after the guy from VAN. Hey GMs, you wrote the rules, this is the system you designed, this is the way you decided to make the trade-off between free agency and hard cap. How the hell can anyone be suprised or angry that people are out there working within those rules to do what they think is best for their team?

I honestly don't know about Penner in particular though. With the way salaries are going for guys of that general age and potential, it sure seems like the trend will make $4.25M for a 30 goal guy seem reasonable. I sure hope that isn't the way the league is going, but that is the direction all indicators point.

I think if you really have faith in Penner to develop further and improve on what he did last year, you match. Really not sure if I have that faith in the guy, but have no clue on the reality and what Burke thinks. I'm not 100% sure I would have matched the Vanek offer myself.

Earl Sleek said...

Is it beating a dead horse to suggest maybe he'd only be good for teaching youngsters how to break other people's necks and then feel sorry for themselves about it?

Not yet on this blog it isn't.

You make a lot of good points, dbushik, but maybe the bottom line is $4M spent this year seems to have swung pretty wildly from what $4M bought you last offseason or even during the lockout. And it's tough to make heads or tails out of it going forward, too. Stupid variable future!

Another wrinkle even has to do with the players themselves--I could see Penner being worth $4M to some teams and not to others, depending on what roles need to be filled or on what style of game is being played.

I'm with you in one regard, though. Despite what everyone keeps saying, I really don't see Burke being explosive or angry whenever he addresses this. Sure he'll be amusing and edgy maybe (it is Burke), but he's had to have seen this coming for weeks now. And frankly, even though Burke might play the "victim" card a bit here, I bet secretly he's salivating about how best to use a new player-acquisition mechanism.

I'd guess Burke reads a prepared statement, answers some questions quickly and vaguely, and that's it. Those who are expecting a red-faced podium show I think will be let down.

Marie said...

Why is the LA Times so unbelievably retarded? That newspaper is such an embarrassment, well, with exception of Helene Elliot.

Rick said...

Some players signed through 08-09 or beyond that are paid in the vicinity of $4.3m per that could arguably be had for Bryzgalov, and a 1-2-3:

Milan Hejduk, Ales Hemsky, Henrik Sedin, Daniel Sedin, Brendan Morrison, Mattias Ohlund, Jere Lehtinen, Mike Modano, Sergei Zubov, Shane Doan, Jonathan Cheechoo, Henrik Zetterberg, Tomas Holmstrom, Alexei Zhitnik, Bobby Holik, Eric Staal(!), Jason Arnott, Doug Weight, Glen Murray, Daniel Alfredsson, Chris Phillips (scored a big goal for the Ducks in the final...), Jason Blake, Tomas Kaberle, Brian Gionta, Bill Guerin.

I'm not saying they're all on the trading block, or that they are all better than or have more upside than Penner, but just in case he walks, this is what you could possible get with the picks and the money in trade.

Let him walk.

Earl Sleek said...

That newspaper is such an embarrassment, well, with exception of Helene Elliot.

Yeah, especially in the offseason, where I'm lucky to see 100 words a week on hockey, even if there's a defending cup champ within circulation.

Strangely, despite her popularity, I hold a very strong indifference to Helene Elliot's writing. I dunno, but it never really inspires me nor never really pisses me off. I'm glad people like her, but it's never fully made sense to me. To me, her stories feel just about the same as anyone else's.

dbushik said...

Helene Elliot is a mixed bag for me also. The LAT doesn't much cover hockey, but I can't say I much blame them. They do reflect what their audience is interested in. Won't miss anything happening with the Lakers.

I kind of gave up on the paper a long time ago in favor of the Daily News. Long Beach Press Telegram used to cover the Kings well also, so if you're a Kings fan I'd suggest those local sources. Heck, just stick with Rich Hammond's blog and you will be in great shape for Kings info. Hope they keep him on that beat...

Oh yeah, Elliot. The problem I have with her is she is way too obvious. It's not like what she reports or what take she puts on the reporting is going to suprise you. Fans unhappy? Expect her to slant that way. We made the playoffs? Expect her to gush.

What is really annoying with her, and many many other hockey writers, is that they simpley do not do their homework. They regularly state simple facts incorrectly because they just didn't do the research.

When you tell me that Dafoe was a Kings draft pick or that Roenick was a UFA signning, it just irks me because I know it's factually incorrect and I'm not getting paid to do the work or given 40 hours a week to dedicate to it yet still could do a better job of getting it right.

For that reason alone I pretty much think if you're a Kings fan you should just write off the LAT. Occasionally they'll have something worth reading, but if you even casually follow a good fan message board or blog, you'll more than likely see links to the better stuff and not have to fight through all the crap.

MacS said...

Earl, I heard that Burke just did his conference call and basically called Lowe out on being a desperate fool, but that he might actually match the offer. Can you confirm at all?

Earl Sleek said...

Read your Kukla's Korner. They got you covered.

Not much to report, though. Burke will consult ownership on Sunday, and dropped a couple of insinuations at Lowe.

At first I thought the conference call was about going to be about retirement, but on second thought I realized that a retirement or non-retirement announcement is probably going to happen in front of a lot of cameras.

Danny said...

He is a good pickup, but not at that price! They should have just went with what they had, or tried Parise.

Marie said...

it never really inspires me nor never really pisses me off

Usually whenever I read her articles they don't piss me off which I can't say about the others. She is a bit bland but she's female and our kind aren't normally funny or inspiring....hmmm...did I just write that?

Anyway, I do go to Rich Hammond's blog because it is the most professional of the three that I know about (mine included, which is no where near professional considering I make shit up for my own enjoyment). The only thing I can't stand about his blog is the majority of the commenters. Whenever I read the comments I'm reminded of why people hate LA: we sound like incompetent fools.

Back to Pennersquee: I say there's a 0.01% chance that he'll be in a Ducks jersey this upcoming season.

dbushik said...

Well, as we wait for more news on this, I thought I'd point people to Spector's comments on the offer sheets. Burke actually kind of had me thinking sympathetically about how what Lowe is doing is bad from his telecon, but after thinking on it more and reading Spector's take, I think Spector hits the nail squarely on the head.

"Forgive me if I don't have any sympathy for either Regier or Burke.

As I noted in my recent Foxsports.com article, Burke had plenty of warning that Lowe was trolling the offer sheet waters when the Oilers GM made his seven-year, $50 million pitch for Vanek. He could've re-signed Penner to a more affordable $2-$2.5 million per season contract (comparable to former Duck Joffrey Lupul), or taken Penner to arbitration thus making him ineligible to receive an offer sheet.

But Burke didn't do those things, so he's got no right to huff and puff about it. I think he's just ticked because it was his buddy Lowe who did this. Burke's one of the better GMs in the league but this time he got caught napping.

As for Regier, there was widespread speculation back in May that Vanek could be a target for an offer sheet, but he didn't use that time to re-sign Vanek to keep him off the market. Rather than paying the talented forward a more affordable salary, say, comparable to Carolina's Eric Staal, Regier is now paying Vanek over $7 million per season for the next seven year.

Yes, Lowe's offer sheet efforts will drive up the salaries of comparables, but it's his right to do so under the current collective bargaining agreement.

You know, the "owners" CBA? The one that guys like Burke and Regier claimed in 2005 would make it possible for their respective teams to be competitive.

As Chrissie Hynde once sang: "It is time for you to stop all of your sobbing"."

Just in case you're not familiar with Mr. Richardson, here's his trade rumor site and blog. Pretty much quality daily reading for any fan of this league IMHO.


Earl Sleek said...

But Burke didn't do those things, so he's got no right to huff and puff about it.

I see your point dbushik, except I think Spector's going overboard a bit here. I don't think Burke's been complaining at all about the process, or that Penner should be off-limits.

Essentially, the only things I heard out of Burke was that (a) the timing sucked, and (b) the dollars were high. I don't think he was asking for our pity in any sense, but Spector seems to have written that despite Burke's actual quotes, not in light of them.

I dunno--it's amazing how much has been written about Burke's supposed anger here; it's as if the entire hockey world has conveniently forgotten how Burke talks to the media.