A JACK JOHNSON FOR DUSTIN PENNER TRADE MAKES LITTLE SENSE FOR THE KINGS

Fellow blogger Matt Barry wrote an article today on the merits of a Jack Johnson for Dustin Penner trade. He also posted on his twitter account, “Dustin Penner being shopped – Kings very interested.”

Here is the premise Barry advances:

I was told the Kings “will make a deal” either during camp or before the start of the season. They are still looking for a top line left winger.

With a defensive spot ripe for the taking, Davis Drewiskie, Thomas Hickey and Viatcheslav Voynov could make Jack Johnson expendable.

I know, I know, here we go again with the Jack Johnson talk. Why would you trade one of your core? Simple. Cost.

The Kings are going into this next season having to sign BOTH Johnson and Drew Doughty. Not an easy task. If Drew Doughty signs for 6-7-8 million a year, what does that make Jack Johnson worth? If I’m Jack Johnson and his agent, I’m worth 4-5 million. If I’m a fan and Kings management, I’m thinking, “Why pay Johnson when I have Hickey, Voynov, Muzzin, Campbell and Teubert” in the wings.

The Edmonton Oilers, who have been trading partners with the Kings in the past, could be partners again. Dustin Penner is a player that fits the Kings and Lombardi mold. Big winger, finally had a breakout year (can he do it on a consistent basis?). Johnson would easily and affordably fill Sheldon Souray’s shoes (once he is waived or dealt). Kings fans will cringe at a Johnson for Penner swap but as fans, we always overvalue our players.

If Scott Hartnell was willing to waive HIS no trade clause to go to Edmonton in a swap for Souray as been recently reported, how much stronger would the Flyers defense be with the addition of Johnson? 1-6, their defense would be the best in the league top to bottom. How much better would the Kings top line be with the gritty Hartnell skating with Kopitar?

All of these questions will be answered in the coming weeks as training camps open. Can Hickey and Voynov remain healthy?

Here is why I disagree:

There is a very small market for top 4 defensemen. We grabbed the best one left in Willie Mitchell. That means before any general manager decides to trade one of his, he better know there is someone within the organization ready to step in those shoes. Do the Kings have such a defenseman in the system? In a word, not yet. Thomas Hickey has proven nothing to date. He has remained injured nearly throughout his AHL career and flashes of good things when he has been healthy does not replace a top 4 defender on the roster this season. Voynov has not played a single game in the NHL. While he shows promise, that won’t help the Kings this season or next. For Teubert to even be in this discussion is unfair to him. At 20 years old, all indications are that he may be a late bloomer if he blossoms at all. Add to that what I still consider to be an important handicap for him to overcome (skating) and Colten doesn’t figure to play a role anytime soon in the Kings’ defense. Campbell? Come on. Muzzin? I am probably highest on this kid but a practical analysis tells us it is too soon to decide especially given his injury history. So, what do the Kings really have in the pipeline? Potential and then only with arguably two of the players in Voynov and Muzzin and possibly Hickey if he can remain healthy. So, who replaces Jack Johnson? Nobody.

That brings us to injuries. They are part of the game. The Kings have a potentially high octane and balanced defense going into the season with two offensive top 4s (Doughty and Johnson) and two defensive stalwarts (Scuderi and Mitchell), as well as a solid number 5 in Greene. All of that changes with an injury to any of the top 4. Now, imagine an injury to our top 3 and Johnson gone? You get the point.

We then come to Jack’s ceiling. He is 23 years old. He too has had injury issues and there are still questions about his ability to play a defensive game, but we have yet to see Johnson’s potential. He has shown on the big stage of the Olympics and the playoffs that he is a prime time performer. I was as impressed with Jack as I was with Doughty in the Vancouver games. Further, we saw Jack take his game to another level come playoff time. He and Drew both had 7 points in 6 playoff games and Jack showed us that when it counts the most, he can be counted on to perform on both ends of the ice.

If you are tempted to bash Barry, don’t. He is a loyal Kings fan, a long time season ticket holder and invests time, money and energy into this passion. Is he a little nuts? Yes. So am I and if Dean could pry away Dustin Penner for, hypothetically, one of our defensive prospects and a pick or a similar package, then that would be a trade I would support each and every time. We are, after all, talking about a 6’4″, 245 pounds left winger with speed, toughness, a scoring touch and who has no fear of going to the net.



Categories: L.A. Kings News

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11 replies

  1. I’m sure the Kings are interested in Penner, but if they ask for Jack, I sure hope Dean hangs up laughing.

    Dean will go for a top 6 with picks and prospects. Elias anyone? I hear they are in cap trouble over in Jersey.

    I know he isn’t the sex pick, but Elias would be awesome skating with Kopitar and moves Smyth to the 2nd line where he belongs. Smyth would still prove his worth in front of the net on the top PP unit.

  2. I would rather they go for Elias than Penner. Elias has long since proved his worth, both during the regular season and, very importantly, the playoffs. I just doubt that Elias could be pried out of Jersey for picks and prospects.

  3. “The Kings are going into this next season having to sign BOTH Johnson and Drew Doughty. Not an easy task. If Drew Doughty signs for 6-7-8 million a year, what does that make Jack Johnson worth? If I’m Jack Johnson and his agent, I’m worth 4-5 million. If I’m a fan and Kings management, I’m thinking, “Why pay Johnson when I have Hickey, Voynov, Muzzin, Campbell and Teubert” in the wings”

    Funny how he combines these two here. Fan and Kings management. As if because the other side is JJ and his agent, any fan would automatically care more about what money Johnson demands than about having a better top 4 without relying on a rookie.

    I guess Cap Space went from being a 30 goal scoring LW to a top 4 defenseman. Good to know.

  4. Funny that you might mention Penner. He would be a good fit. And, our worst prospects are so valuable that Edmonton should beg LA for one or two (except Shenn of course!) in exchange for Penner.

    Penner would certainly be a fine addition. Yet you talk of giving up defense in exchange at the very moment the Kings defense seems to be positioned to perhaps be one of the most effective cores LA has seen in years, if not in a decade.

    With the D more or less settled and promising what logic dictates breaking it up?

    Openings to improve a club with players like Mitchell and a long shot like Penner is every reason to wish New Jersey good luck and move on.

    IMO, deal with the forward situation with out tampering with the current defensive lineup.

    And, if a Penner situation develops certainly offer some picks or prospects (Schenn-not) along with Harrold and/or Drewiske (Like Edmonton would even return that call!).

  5. Penner has scored an above average amount of goals on shitty teams. I think he is over rated and a trade for Jack J. is absolutely rediculous.

    I agree that Jack’s best days are in front of him. He elevated his play in the Vancouver series. I would like to think he will continue to improve. Not everyone plays at a high level (e.g. Doughty) this early in their career, most have to develop into that. Tow things JJ needs to work on 1) Clearing passess–he made a lot of bonehead ones last year and 2) Getting his shot on the net.

    Jack is a much more valuable commodity than Penner will ever be. Don’t do it Dean…

      • Man that is scary good! Now tell me what the next Mega millions Loto numbers will be so I could retire and spend the rest of my life at Staples Center watching Kings Hockey and Lakers basketball. Sorry Clippers but I can’t stand you guys being in the same building, no offense.

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