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Pascal Dupuis, More than Smiles

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Pascal Dupuis might have been one of two wingers to play alongside and bring comfort to Sidney Crosby but he's more than just smiles during intermission breaks with Dan Potash on Root Sports, he's the example of what you want in a hockey player, especially on the Penalty-Kill.

Joshua Lindsey-USA TODAY Sports

Simply put, Pascal Dupuis is the ultimate team player.

Dupuis wasn't exactly a knight in shining armor prospect as a young man starting his career.

He played four seasons in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League starting out with the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies during the 1996-97 season and then traded to the Shawinigan Cataractes the following season. He finished his QMJHL career with 229 games played, 105 goals, 142 assists, 247 points, and 283 penalty minutes.

Those numbers didn't excite NHL scouts so he went undrafted.

After the Wild signed him as a free agent in 2000, he'd play four plus seasons in Minnesota until a trade during the 2006-07 sent him to the Rangers. He played four games in New York before being shuffled off to Atlanta to finish the season.

The following season in 2007-08, Thrashers traded Marian Hossa and Dupuis to the Penguins for Colby Armstrong, Erik Christensen, Angelo Esposito, and a first round pick. The Penguins would lose to the Detroit Red Wings in the Stanley Cup Finals and after the season, they'd lose Hossa via free agency to those same Red Wings.

All that remained for the Penguins was Dupuis.

Yeah, 'all' that remained, as if he was just some toss-in relegated to being a bit player on a good team.

What Dupuis turned into was more than what anyone could have ever imagined.

All anyone ever talked about is how the Penguins didn't have a winger for Sidney Crosby, yet there was Chris Kunitz and Dupuis skating alongside the young center.

Dupuis brought comfort to Crosby, who is about as routine and methodical of a player as there comes in the NHL.

There was always a good laugh between intermission breaks as 'Thanks Daaaaan' would be the finish to the interview conducted by Dan Potash with Dupuis.

Yet, there's more to Dupuis than those smiles and shifts alongside great talent like Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.

For the last five seasons (2009-2010 to 2013-2014), Dupuis has been one of the NHL's best players. It is remarkable for the last five years, Dupuis was ranked second among the 27 forwards that played in 300 games and averaged 1:97 short-handed time on the ice per game.

To figure out the value of Dupuis while short-handed, I downloaded the shorthanded player table for those five years at War-on-ice.com, then based on the criteria of 300 games played and Dupuis' 1:97 SH TOI, it would result in 27 forwards remaining.

From there, I took Rob Vollman's 2013 article describing the best way to measure a defensemen's value while on the penalty kill was to basically take (SH CORSI Plus/Minus) divided by (Total SH TOI  divided by 2 minutes). In Vollman's article on forwards, he said "The two primary statistics of choice are how much they play, and how well the team does at preventing attempted shots when they're out there."

The average value was -2.886 for the 27 players.

Name Value Rank
Patrice.Bergeron -2.341 1
Pascal.Dupuis -2.485 2
Jordan.Staal -2.510 3
Alex.Burrows -2.526 4
Ryan.Kesler -2.613 5
Matt.Cooke -2.621 6
Kyle.Brodziak -2.649 7
Maxime.Talbot -2.706 8
Frans.Nielsen -2.710 9
Tomas.Plekanec -2.801 10
Travis.Moen -2.841 11
Jarret.Stoll -2.868 12
Craig.Adams -2.875 13
Jeff.Halpern -2.876 14
Chris.Kelly -2.891 15
Drew.Miller -2.949 16
Daniel.Winnik -2.950 17
Ryan.Callahan -2.976 18
Brandon.Sutter -3.060 19
Michal.Handzus -3.089 20
Jay.McClement -3.090 21
Paul.Gaustad -3.141 22
Shawn.Horcoff -3.184 23
Lauri.Korpikoski -3.191 24
Brooks.Laich -3.242 25
Vernon.Fiddler -3.352 26
Nate.Thompson -3.389 27

In order to look at how things were going for the players this season, my criteria was 7 games played and at least 2 minutes SH TOI. 58 players remained.

Worst PK: Max Talbot -4.25

Best PK: David Backes -1.27

Penguins Rating (Rank)

Marcl Goc  -3.71 (51st)

Craig Adams -3.26 (35th)

Brandon Sutter -2.83 (21st)

Pascal Dupuis -2.51 (12th)

Keep an eye out for Nick Spaling as he's at -2.27

As the season progresses, we'll take a further examination of how Head Coach Mike Johnston is using his players on the penalty kill and how those results compare to others in the NHL.