"Write your injuries in dust, your benefits in marble." - Benjamin Franklin
Season stats: 50 gp, 13g, 19a, 32p, +3, 39 PIMs
Playoff stats: 13 gp, 4g, 7a, 11p, +3, 8 PIMs
Month-by-month Pensburgh grades:
Contract status: Signed through 2011-12 season ($3,725,000 cap hit)...Unrestricted free agent summer 2012
Interesting stat: Over 107 regular and playoff games as a Penguin, Chris Kunitz has 75 points (.70 points/game). Over the rest of his NHL career he has 208 points in 352 games (.59 points/game).
The Good: While in the lineup, Kunitz has proven to be a valuable member of the first line. He forechecks hard, hits people down low, fishes out pucks in the corners but is also under-rated when it comes to dishing passes in open ice.
Staying in the lineup has been a problem; he missed the final four games of regular season (though he played all 13 of the playoff games) itwas revealed that Kunitz had a torn groin down the stretch. Despite that, he played admirably and still produced points at the same pace as last post-season.
The Not-so-good: Dating back to last playoffs and the start of the 2009-10 season, Kunitz scored exactly 1 goal in 35 games, drawing the ire of some fans. Durability and staying in the lineup has been problematic too, Kunitz missed 13 games in December/January for a lower body injury and then 15 more in February/March when he had abdominal surgery. Playing a rough style has gotten Kunitz into the NHL, but it's also taken it's toll and he hasn't been able to stay in the lineup every night.
Final verdict: When Kunitz plays, he's valuable. He might not have the best hands in terms of sniping goals, but he clears a lot of room for Sidney Crosby to be able to operate. At $3.725 million of cap room, Kunitz might be dragging a little too much cap space for his total value to the team on the ice, but there's no doubt he's proven to be a reliable scoring forward for the Penguins.
Question and Discussion: Penciled in on Crosby's line next season, what do you expect from Kunitz? His groin and shoulder should be about 100%, what do you hope he can do with what'll hopefully be his first full season of work with the Penguins?