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Monday, September 1, 2014

Dustin Penner on a Professional Try-out?

On Sunday , the rumors were swirling on the social media that unrestricted free agent Dustin Penner, who is still without a contract, was looking to get a professional try-out from several NHL teams in order to land a gig for the upcoming season, and the Montreal Canadiens would be one of the interested teams.

The hulking left winger scored 14 goals and 21 assists for 35 points in 67 games between the Anaheim Ducks and the Washington Capitals, posting a +25 plus/minus rating in the process along with 30 penalty minutes. Penner had much more success before the trade, posting a 0.65 PPG ratio in Anaheim before recording a putrid 0.16 PPG pace with Washington.

The 31-year-old winger is looking for a last chance to prove he still belongs to the NHL after seeing his offensive numbers decrease over the years, having his best offensive season in 2009-2010 with the Edmonton Oilers when he potted 32 goals and 31 assists for 63 points in 82 games. The 6'4'', 242-lb is exactly what the Habs need in their bottom-six as Penner's former teammate, Travis Moen, is now a shadow of his former self.

Bringing Penner to the Habs' training camp would also be a very inexpensive option to challenge other players vying for a roster stop, especially rookie Jiri Sekac and inconsistent winger Rene Bourque. The native of Winkler, Manitoba would give everything he can to land another professional contract and the worst that could happen for the organization would be a disappointing showing. Should that happen and Penner doesn't live to the expectations, they could simply release him before the season and Ta-dam, no harm's done!

On the other hand, if Penner plays very well and finds chemistry with someone like Lars Eller, then Marc Bergevin would have the option to sign him at an affordable one-year contract and try to trade a more expensive contract such as Travis Moen (owed $1.85M/year over two years) or Rene Bourque (owed $3.33M/year over two years).

Fun fact:
Did you know that Dustin Penner and former Hab winger Richard Zednik have one thing in common? 

They have the same ex-wife, actress Jessica Welch, who is a native of Montreal! Penner and Welch even tied the knot in Montreal during the 2011 All-Star break so Dustin is very familiar with the area.

Penner, who is a pretty colorfoul player on Twitter (@dustinpenner25), would certainly be a fan favorite in Montreal, much like Mike Weaver since his arrival last season.

Do you think Penner will trade the pancakes for the poutine if the Canadiens offer him a contract?

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