The Oilers signed the massive forward to a five-year, $21.25 million offer sheet, which the Ducks refused to match, sparking a rather hilarious war of words between Lowe, and then Ducks general manager Brian Burke. If you'll recall, Burke called the signing "an act of desperation by a general manager who is fighting to keep his job." Classic.
Anyway, the Oilers aren't even two years into Penner's contract, and they're already having a rather strong case of buyers remorse. Well, more accurately, head coach Craig MacTavish seems to be.
Through the first 16 games of the season, the 26-year old Penner has scored just three goals and was a healthy scratch in the Oilers 3-2 loss to Colorado on Saturday. Hopefully he found himself a nice, comfortable spot in the press box, because he's going to be sitting there again tonight when the Oilers travel to Detroit.
MacTavish was brutally honest when talking about Penner's benching, and assessing his play as a member of the Oilers. From Derek Van Diest of the Edmonton Sun:
"He's not competitive enough or fit enough to help us, so why put him back in? He's never been fit enough to help us," said Oilers head coach Craig MacTavish. "We signed him to be a top-two line player and that's kind of where it ended. The difference was we thought the contract was a starting point, and he's viewed it as a finish line. "It's been one thing after another. I can't watch it for - certainly not another two and-a-half years."Wow. That's going to leave a pretty significant mark. Of course, while Penner hasn't lived up to the huge contract the Oilers signed him to, he simply signed the contract he was offered. Would you turn down that much money if it was offered to you? Of course not.
It was the Oilers, Lowe in particular, who felt it would be a wise investment to throw $21 million over five years at a guy who had played just one full season in the NHL, recording 45 points. If anyone deserves to be thrown under the proverbial bus, it's the man sitting upstairs in the general manager's office. Penner is what he is: a decent player signed to a really, really bad contract.