"The victories of good warriors are not noted for cleverness or bravery. Therefore their victories in battle are not flukes because they position themselves where they will surely win, prevailing over those who have already lost." - Sun Tzu
Season stats: 81gp, 13g, 6a 19p, +5, 120 PIMs
Playoff stats: 11gp, 0g, 0a, 0p, even, 8 PIMs
Month-by-month Pensburgh grades:
Interesting stat: In his previous three seasons all with the New Jersey Devils, Mike Rupp scored a total of 12 goals (212 games). His first season with the Pens, he scored 13.
The Good: When the Pens signed the rugged forward, he was expected to add size, physicality, the occasional dropping of the gloves and he did all of that, by leading the forwards in hits (198) despite playing just 9:02 a night, easily the lowest among regular forwards. Rupp's 12 fighting majors were another category that he lead the team in.
As mentioned, even though Rupp only played in small doses -only got more than 12:00+ minutes six times all season (including 0 times in the playoffs that he went over 10:00) -- Rupp made the minutes count with all those hits and the occasional goal.
The Not-so-good: It's difficult to harp to hard on a pure 4th liner that exceeds expectations, but the scoring touch went cold for Rupp, who scored just 3 goals in the 51 games he played in the 2010 portion of the 09-10 season. Also when a player only receives a handful of minutes a game, there's probably a reason that he can't effectively carry more of the load.
Final verdict: Rupp hit more than any Penguin forward, fought more than anyone and scored goals at a remarkably high rate. What's not to like? Rupp's skating and pure hands may hold him back from being anything more than an NHL 4th liner, but his willingness to be physical, forecheck, hit and fight makes him a valuable member of the club.
Question and Vote: Do you think Rupp can replicate his production for next season? What would you like to see him contribute (if any more to help the Pens get back to the Stanley Cup finals?