The Anaheim Ducks have signed winger Dustin Penner to a one-year, $2 million contract, while the Chicago Blackhawks have dealt forward Dan Carcillo to the LA Kings for a conditional draft pick in 2015.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Considering how slow things have been in the free agent market of late, today’s moves were a refreshing change. For Penner, he returns to the team where his NHL career began and where he won his first Stanley Cup before he was signed away by the Edmonton Oilers in 2007 to an offer sheet. After 2 1/2 seasons with the Kings, where he played for his second Cup winner, Penner was allowed to depart via free agency as the club put its focus upon re-signing younger talent. Once considered a promising power forward, Penner struggled in recent years amid concerns over his off-season conditioning and work ethic. Still, he was a clutch playoff performer for the Kings, and at 30, could prove a useful addition to the Ducks this season. His signing leaves the Ducks with just over $5.8 million in cap space, with Kyle Palmieri and perhaps Teemu Selanne to re-sign.
As for Carcillo, he’s an affordable depth pickup ($825K cap hit) who’ll provide an additional measure of energy and grit to the Kings roster. Carcillo won his first Stanley Cup championship with the Blackhawks last season, playing in four post-season games and 23 regular season contests. He’s been hampered by injuries in recent years, and had a reputation for undisciplined play, though he toned that down considerably with the Blackhawks. He will have to keep it that way with Kings coach Darryl Sutter. He’ll be reunited with former Philadelphia Flyers teamates Mike Richards and Jeff Carter, and his style of play should make him an affordable fit with the Kings.