EDMONTON — Dustin Penner’s love-hate relationship with Edmonton hockey fans came to an end Monday when the hulking forward was traded by the Oilers to the Los Angeles Kings for defenceman Colten Teubert and two draft picks, including a first-rounder this year.
Penner came to the Oilers in 2007 — accepting an offer as a restricted free agent that Anaheim Ducks didn’t match — and he has often been the target of the fans displeasure, especially after signing a US$21.25-millionm, five-year contract.
“There were ups and downs,” Penner said of his time in Edmonton. “I had a decent first year. The second year was something I think a lot of people would like to forget. The last two I’ve enjoyed thoroughly.
“I came here with a big contract … that also comes with big expectations and if I tried to meet everyone’s expectations I would drive myself insane. So I focused on becoming more consistent and a player who could play every position. I think I’m on my way to that, I’m not there yet and it’s too bad I won’t be able to do it here.”
Penner was having one of his better seasons in Edmonton with 21 goals and 39 points in 62 games. He has one year left on his contract at $4.25 million.
Team captain Shawn Horcoff said the club will miss Penner’s presence on and off the ice.
“He’s such a good teammate and it’s tough to see a friend go,” said Horcoff. “At times it’s been a challenging situation for him. His second year was as difficult a time for him as for any player and I was so impressed with how he handled that.
“With his size, there are not a lot of guys can do what he can do on the ice.”
Penner returns to California where he still has a house and said going to the Kings will be easier since he knows some of the players there as well.
“It’s probably one of the better place I could go as far as having a house down there and a car.”