Manitoba's Dustin Penner could be another Todd Bertuzzi.
That's the comparison Anaheim Ducks GM Brian Burke made on the eve of tonight's series opener between the Ducks and Vancouver Canucks.
Speaking on an NHL-sponsored conference call, Burke was asked about Penner, the 6-foot-4, 245-pound forward from Winkler who's coming off a 29-goal rookie season.
"Dustin is a very rare specimen," Burke said.
"To have a man that big with those hands and those feet is very unusual. I said this before -- he has a part-time job as a wall. I had Todd Bertuzzi as a player. I think Dustin has that same capability." Bertuzzi has scored more than 200 NHL goals, including a career-high 46 with Vancouver in 2002-03.
Penner has taken a much different route to the NHL, though.
Where Bertuzzi was a first-round draft pick out of junior, Penner was never drafted, was cut by Tier 2 junior teams and wound up going to a small college in North Dakota, before playing one season at the University of Maine.
That led to a free-agent contract with Anaheim and two years of seasoning in the AHL.
After recording nine points in last year's playoffs, Penner had a goal and two assists in Anaheim's first-round win over Minnesota.
"He's worked hard to turn himself into a hockey player," Burke said.
"There's plenty of big guys who can't play at this level. We're fortunate that he's got the skill set to play at this level, plus he's big enough he can bang and make things happen in front of the net."