I really enjoy your blogs and you seem to have some very good hockey connections to go along with your insight, but I think you have lowered yourself to the level of the critical masses on this one.
First off, Edmonton is a nice city, not flashy, but nevertheless a good place to live (and anyone who complains about the cold needs to toughen up). Those who bash it can only plead ignorance IMO.
Next, the Oilers and their fans have handled some situations poorly but find me an organization with a perfect record. Pronger was unjustly villified by the public for basically a poorly timed announcement days after losing the Cup final. Comrie and Smyth appeared victims of greed, imposed either by self or agents.
As for Penner, of course he is not a 4M + player today, however the true value of this deal will not be known until years 3-5 of the contract. Let it be known Lowe's finger prints are on the best current deal in the league, being Pronger's 6.5M x 5yrs that at the time was thought to be a tad pricey.
The argument that Penner will be playing with inferior linemates doesn't have a leg to stand on. Perhaps those who don't see the Oilers often aren't aware, but Ales Hemsky and Shawn Horcoff are just as good if not better than the Getzlaf/Perry combo. Getzlaf may have a slight edge over Horcoff, but Hemsky is considerably better than Perry. Penner's role with the Oilers would be similar to Smyth's: dig the puck out from the corner and get in front of the net. Penner will also bring a larger physical presence than Ryan could. Most would say Smyth is a better player now, but in 3 years when he is on the downside of his career and Penner is on the way up making 2M less, this offer is going to look much different.
From my perspective Kevin Lowe is looking like a very cunning and calculated manager, while those who are quick to accuse him of desperation and overpaying clearly don't have the wherewithal to see the big picture.