SUN Hockey Pool

Penner finally moving in

Dustin Penner takes questions from the media after signing autographs at the Oilers' Hockey School...

Dustin Penner takes questions from the media after signing autographs at the Oilers' Hockey School in St. Albert, Alta., on Wednesday. (Sun Media/Darryl Dyck)

DEREK VAN DIEST -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:01 AM ET

Dustin Penner moved into Joffrey Lupul's house in California when the local product was traded to the Edmonton Oilers.

Now as a member of the Oilers himself, Penner will probably take up residence in Lupul's downtown condo.

"Hopefully I won't have to move into his place in Philly next year," Penner said.

That's unlikely.

With the five-year, $21.25-million deal Penner signed with the Oilers, odds are the six-foot-four, 245-pound winger will be here for more than just one season.

Along with the condo, Penner will also take over the expectations which got the better of Lupul and eventually led to his trade to the Flyers.

Yesterday, Penner and Geoff Sanderson were presented to the media for the first time since being acquired by the Oilers.

"I've been Joffrey's friend since I started playing with him in Cincinnati," Penner said. "We talk on a regular basis and I knew about his time here.

"But I think he's gone to a place now where he can have a really good year.

"I welcome the challenge of playing here and I'm excited to be in a really good place like this."

After winning a Stanley Cup with the Anaheim Ducks last season, Penner was a restricted free agent this summer, opening the door for the Oilers to table an offer sheet in July.

The Ducks had a week to match the offer and retain Penner's rights, but chose not to, deciding instead to take the Oilers first, second and third-round picks in next year's draft as compensation.

The wait left the native of Winkler, Man., in limbo.

"The wait wasn't that bad, I managed to keep busy. I was down in California spending some time with my friends," he said. "But maybe on that last day, the last 24 hours when it was crunch time, that was the hardest.

"With the information I had I thought it was a coin flip and it could go either way."

Last season - his first full year in the league - Penner had 29 goals and 16 assists in 82 regular-season games, with three goals and five assists in 21 playoff games as the Ducks claimed their first NHL title.

Last year Penner earned the NHL minimum $450,000. This year he'll make $4.25 million.

"The offer came as a surprise, it's a raise to say the least," he said. "It was unexpected, but I was happy to get it.

"The toughest part was leaving Anaheim. I made a lot of friends there and my heart was in Anaheim. I was part of that organization for three years, but now I'm an Oiler and I'm excited to be here."

Sanderson, 35, came with Joni Pitkanen in the deal for Lupul and Jason Smith.

Sanderson - who makes his off-season home here - was born in Hay River, N.W.T., and played two years of minor hockey in St. Albert.

"I've been an Oiler fan since I was a kid," Sanderson said. "I probably wished I was an Oiler a lot earlier in my career and in my life. However this is the way it worked out and I'm very happy to be here."

Oiler fans probably share that sentiment.

A draft pick of the Hartford Whalers in 1990, Sanderson scored 46 goals in his second NHL season, then scored 41 the next year.

Sanderson had 11 goals and 18 assists in 58 games with the Flyers last year.

Two years ago, he scored 25 goals with the Phoenix Coyotes, and 34 goals for Columbus in 2003.

"I still feel relatively healthy and I don't feel that I've lost much of my skating ability and some of the skill-sets around the net," Sanderson said.

"I feel like I can still do it (score). And it's a big year, obviously, for me to prove that I can."

Expectations won't be as high on Sanderson as they were on Lupul last season. However he's aware of how Oiler fans have a tendency to turn on their own.

"I know there have been a few younger guys that have been chased out of town," Sanderson said.

"But coming from Philly after the season we had last year I think my skin's pretty thick. I think I can handle anything.

"One thing you learn about playing is that all people want to see is effort and that's all you can give them really. I guess that's what I can bring."


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