Penner leads FAs enhancing their value

Updated: May 2, 2012, 11:57 AM ET
By Craig Custance

Last year it was Joel Ward and Sean Bergenheim. They were two players who seized the moment when the spotlight was on them during the postseason and produced when the games meant the most.

Then they got paid.

When it comes to being an unrestricted free agent, timing can often be as important a piece of the equation as anything else. And right now, we're learning that Dustin Penner's timing is impeccable.

His first full season in the league, he scored 29 goals for the Anaheim Ducks and won a Stanley Cup. That summer, he signed an offer sheet worth $21.25 million to play for the Edmonton Oilers. That contract expires this July.

Until now, his time with the Los Angeles Kings, after being acquired at the trade deadline in 2011, has been frustrating -- for him and for the Kings. In 65 regular season games, Penner had just seven goals. Until the playoffs began, he had just nine goals in 81 regular season games since the Kings traded for him.

That frustration is starting to lift.