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Dominik Kahun’s speed is a major asset when it comes to avoiding the penalty box

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The newest member of the Pittsburgh Penguins has quite a reputation for staying out of the sin bin.

New York Rangers v Chicago Blackhawks Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

As the dust continues to settle on the Olli Maatta for Dominik Kahun trade, we are starting to learn more and more about the versatile, young winger. In addition to the many positives that have already been discussed about Kahun such as his speed, youthfulness, and small cap hit, one attribute that may not get enough attention is his ability to play clean hockey.

Here’s a section from a Chicago Tribune article on Kahun and the rate at which he took penalties while playing in Germany:

Kahun rarely went to the penalty box during four seasons in Germany’s top league. In 157 regular-season games with EHC Red Bull Munich, Kahun had 16 penalty minutes, including just two last season.

“I just try to skate as much as possible so I don’t need to hook somebody or trip somebody,” Kahun explained. “Sometimes if it happens, it’s just because there’s no other way. I never do much penalties.”

This article was published back in February, but by the time the 2018-19 regular season came to an end, Kahun had only amassed six penalty minutes over the entire 82-game schedule. That is impressive, and another reason to be excited about the young Czech.

If Kahun can continue to let his speed do the talking while in a Penguins sweater, it can go a long way in helping them improve from being the 18th-ranked team in total penalty minutes from last year’s campaign.

Kahun also had a positive first impression with a recent phone conversation and welcome to the team from Mike Sullivan.

“He seems really, really nice,” Kahun said. “He just talked about how they want to play, how the Pittsburgh style is. It’s a fast and skilled game they want to be play, and I think I can be a good fit for that.”

The first thing Sullivan will have to decide is what position Kahun will play. He grew up as a center but played primarily on the wing with the Blackhawks last season. A left-handed shooter, he said he leans toward his off wing.

“It really didn’t matter for me where I’m going to play because all that mattered is I wanted to make the team and play wherever I can and wherever the coach needs me,” Kahun said. “But I would say I prefer the right wing because I play most of the season.

“Right wing is probably my better spot if I play on the wing, but it doesn’t really matter for me if I play right, left or center. I think I can do a good job everywhere. I’m confident with that.”

Sullivan emphasizing speed and skill certainly is a good thing, as that was the main tenets of how the team won the Stanley Cup in 2016 and 2017 before admittedly changing a philosophy to chase adding heavier and slower players the past few seasons.