The Pittsburgh Penguins acquired Chris Kunitz and Eric Tangradi yesterday from Anaheim that sent defenseman Ryan Whitney to the Ducks.
It appears that Kunitz will indeed be a top-6 type of forward. Which line he will play has not been made definite yet, but it appears that he will likely see time on both the first and second lines.
A large part that went in to getting Kunitz was the fact that he and Penguins’ head coach Dan Bylsma used to be teammates in Anaheim (Post-Gazette). Along with his 16 goals and 19 assists, Bylsma said he is interested in the physicality that Kunitz bring to the ice every night.
Here are some of the things that Bylsma and GM Ray Shero had to say about the winger (Courtest of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette):
“He has 148 hits,” said Bylsma, the Penguins’ interim coach, “and still has about 50 more to get this season.”
“He’s going to be in that top-six area,” Bylsma said.
“He’s a guy who’s going to add grit to one of those lines.”
“He plays the style we want to play,” Shero said.
“He plays with grit and has good speed and has been a good leader [in Anaheim].”
“He goes to the net very hard. He is around the net creating chances for himself but also chances for other people to come in behind him.
“He’ll go to the net. In the NHL, you don’t score many goals if you don’t go to the blue paint [inside the crease]. And you will see Chris Kunitz in the blue paint.”
Chris Kunitz (LW): 6-1, 195 lbs.
62 GP — 16 G + 19 A, 35 Pts. +9 — 55 PIM — 148 hits
315 GP — 81 G + 111 A, 192 Pts. +57 — 299 PIM
He’s a guy that has the mentality of going straight to the net to get goals. The Penguins were most effective when they had Ryan Malone adopting that same mentality.
He’s not just offensive minded, though, as the hits this year allude. He is a guy that throws his weight around and isn’t afraid to drop the gloves. The Penguins have Matt Cooke and Eric Godard, who both like to rile opponents up. However, Cooke isn’t much of a fighter and Godard isn’t talented enough to log serious minutes.
Kunitz appears to have a little of both player. He has been a consistent goal scorer and a consistent fighter, which no player on the Penguins really is.
There’s really little quality video of him scoring on the internet (at least that I could find). However, finding his fights is no struggle. Here’s his only one of the year … against Sean Avery:
Coming over with Kunitz is Eric Tangradi. Many people looked at his name as just an add-on in the deal. Such is not the case at all.
This guy is second in scoring in the Ontario Hockey League right now with 38 goals and 59 assists in just 52 games.
97 points!? That’s not too shabby.
He’s a guy that Shero said won’t likely see time for a while, but he is a great prospect to throw in to the system.
This video is pretty weak, but I thought I’d add it because video of him is hard to find as well. Maybe you’ll find some joy out of watching this.
Chris | PPT