2006-07: Penner spent the season with the Dauphin Kings (MJHL), scoring nine goals and 53 points in 45 appearances. He also got a nomination to the MJHL All-Star team.
2007-08: Penner completed an outstanding freshman season at the University of Alaska, playing in all 35 games this season. The Steinbach. MB native was second on the team in defensive scoring with 12 points (five goals, seven assists), as well as tying for second on the team in penalty minutes with 49. Penner opted to leave college after completing his freshman season. He signed with the Bruins and joined their AHL affiliate in Providence for a brief stretch at the end of their season.
2008-09: Opting out of collegiate play, this was his first season as a pro. Penner suited up for 80 games with the Providence Bruins (AHL). He tallied 10 goals and 28 points in his rookie season with the club.
2009-10: In 68 games for the Providence Bruins, Penner scored 7 goals and added 28 assists for 35 points. He also saw his first NHL action with the Boston Bruins, going scoreless in 2 games.
2010-11: Penner skated in 10 regular season contests and 5 playoff games for the Houston Aeros after being acquired from the Bruins organization in Feburary 2011. In 15 games with the Aeros (including playoffs) he had 8 assists and was +3 with 10 PMs. Penner played 57 games for the Bruins' AHL affiliate Providence prior to the trade and was +10 with 5 goals, 14 assists and 30 PMs. He was re-signed by the Wild to a one-year contract as a restricted free agent in July 2011.
Penner is a small, mobile offensive-minded defenseman. His skating is one of his greatest attributes. He possesses very good foot speed and skates with smooth strides with really nice edges. His transitioning and lateral movement are also quite good. Penner also has very good offensive abilities. His distribution of and poise with the puck is very good, but he could stand to be a bit more patient with it. He possesses a good hard shot with a very quick release. He can get shots to the net and will shoot as often as the opportunity presents itself. He also moves well with the puck.
Penner plays a simple defensive game and follows plays well. However, he’ll need to work on bettering his defensive positioning and containment, particularly against bigger opposing forwards to be successful at the pro level. Adding strength to his 5’10 frame will also help.
Penner could become a NHL defenseman if he can overcome his size deficiency. More likely, he'll be a depth player.