June 21, 2011 1:45 pm

Lombardi, on Penner’s improvement

Here’s what Dean Lombardi had to say about the importance of Dustin Penner…

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Question: When you talk about improving the offense, how much of a hinge, so to speak, is Dustin Penner? I mean, if you could count on him for 30 goals, that’s a big step toward solving your problem…

LOMBARDI: “It certainly helps.”

Question: But you just don’t know for sure…

LOMBARDI: “No, we don’t know, but in what we’ve seen so far this summer — and I haven’t had him his whole career — but it’s very clear that this is the most committed he’s been in his career. So I give him credit for that. But that said, I would still… Even if we had a crystal ball, and we knew that was going to happen. If you said, `Dean, I guarantee this is going to happen,’ I would still be looking to add to facets of our offense. Now, we certainly anticipate — if he continues the way he’s been going — that he is going to improve and contribute more like he’s capable. We want to solidify our playoff and move to contender status. There’s a difference. I would like to see both things happen. If we can add the right player, and Dustin Penner performs up to his abilities, I think it’s safe to say we would improve to contender status.”

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