Tag Archives: Chris Kunitz

Unsung Heroes

Overtime, Game 7; these are the games as hockey fans we love. Thursday night, the Penguins defeated the Senators 3-2 in double overtime to clinch their bid to the Stanley Cup Finals vs the Nashville Predators. The game winning goal coming from 37-year-old Chris Kunitz, which was his second goal of the night. This entire playoff, and regular season has been filled with unsung heroes. Yes, we have the three-headed monster in Malkin, Crosby, and Kessel leading the way in playoff points. But there are a few guys pulling some of their own weight. Names that stand out are Jake Guentzel, Chris Kunitz, Bryan Rust, Olli Maatta, and Brian Dumoulin.

 

Jake Guentzel- 2016-17 Regular Season– 40 GP | 16 G | 17 A       2016-17 Playoffs– 19 GP | 9 G | 7 A

What an amazing rookie campaign Jake has put together. Those who watched Jake play in WBS before being called up knew the type of impact he could have in the NHL, and what an impact he has made. Some may ask why he made this list of surprise players these playoffs, but I don’t think anyone expected a player with 40 NHL games to be in the top 5 of playoff scoring. Not to mention 3 GWG this postseason.

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Chris Kunitz- 2016-17 Regular Season- 71 GP | 9 G | 20 A |         2016-17 Playoffs- 14 GP| 2 G| 3 A |     

Chris Kunitz, what a guy. This is a player that Penguins fans have wanted to be dealt out of town for the last three years at least, and I am guilty of criticizing him as well. But with Kuntiz you know what type of player you are going to get. He’s the type of guy to battle in front of the net, finish his checks, and hey, even score goals when reunited with Crosby. Kuntiz has scored the most important goal of these playoffs so far (2OT ECF) so how could he not be a hero?

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Bryan Rust- 2016-17 Regular Season- 40 GP | 12 G | 4 A |            2016-17 Playoffs- 17 GP | 6 A | 1 A |

Rust is a player that really emerged last season when the Pens were faced with injuries and he made a similar impact that Guentzel is making this year. Rust is another guy that will finish his hit and grind in front of the net, but also comes up with some very timely goals. This post season, Rust has 2 GWG those goals being Game 5 vs CBJ, and game 7 vs Washington. Rust plays big in big games, so keep an eye out for him the Stanley Cup Finals.

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Olli Maatta2016-17 Regular Season- 55 GP| 1 G | 6 A |              2016-17 Playoffs19 GP | 2 G | 5 A |

Maatta has been criticized time and time again, and granted he has not been the player the Penguins expected, he has held his own. Some unfortunate injuries have slowed Maatta’s growth, but minor things such as foot speed seem to be an issue for him. To Maatta’s credit he has played well this season, especially vs the Sens. Scoring two goals in as many games, and one being a GWG in the 7-0 victory, Maatta seems to be finding his way as of late.

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Honorable Mention: Brian Dumoulin- Dumo gets my honorable mention for this list. Next to Ian Cole, he may be the best defensive defenseman the Pens have. Logging 20+ minutes in almost every playoff game, he is faced with the task of shutting down teams’ top offensive lines. He is a valuable player to this Pens roster that often goes under the radar.

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This Penguins team is filled with superstars as we all know, but there are a ton of depth/role players that are just as important as Crosby or Malkin are. Role players play a key part in winning teams, and the Penguins have built their team using high end role guys. They played a huge part in the 2016 Stanley Cup Run, and will again be a key factor in the 2017 Stanley Cup run.

Chris Kunitz Enjoying Success At 37

When the Penguins traded defenseman Ryan Whitney to the Ducks to acquire left winger Chris Kunitz and prospect (at the time) Eric Tangradi back in 2009, no one expected the Penguins to win the Stanley Cup. They did just that.

At that point, they were clamoring to find a guy who could play with Sidney Crosby. Trading a guy like Whitney for Kunitz, both of whom were under control for 4 and 3 years respectively, seemed like a no-brainer to former general manager Ray Shero. His replacement, Jim Rutherford, is reaping the rewards 9 years later.

Kunitz isn’t the player he once was at 29 when the Penguins acquired him, but he’s still a very productive player for the role he serves. Playing recently on the fourth line, Kunitz’s production has amounted to 6 goals and 23 points in 45 games.

Kunitz’s career high came at age 34 when he scored 35 goals and racked up 68 points in 78 games. He posted 22 goals in an abbreviated season the year prior.

To give you an idea about how impressive those number truly are…

  • In his age 34 season, Jaromir Jagr scored 54 times. Granted, Jagr’s role has always been a sniper. Kunitz has always been considered the grindy type who MIGHT put up 20 goals.
  • In Erik Cole‘s age 33 season, he posted a career best 35 goals.
  • In 2012, both Teemu Selanne and Patrik Elias were both over 35 years of age. They scored 26 goals a piece.

Needless to say, this kind of production has been done before but Kunitz has sustained pretty good numbers even for a guy who’s playing bottom six minutes, which is normal for anyone at his stage of his career. But, if the need presented itself due to a rash of injuries, Kunitz could undoubtedly fill a top-six role. He wouldn’t put up the production he did five years ago but playing with someone like Crosby or Evgeni Malkin would allow for him to play at a higher level than he does with guys like Matt Cullen, Tom Kuhnhackl, or Scott Wilson.

What’s all the more impressive is that Kunitz’s type of a player, a grinder that can still score if needed, usually become less effective once they hit 30-32. The dominant player type such as Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin will likely still be able to put their team on the back at age 34 and beyond.

Kunitz is 37.

His most productive years have actually come during the portion of his career where the numbers start to decline. Of course, he spent those years playing on Crosby’s wing as opposed to playing in Anaheim with a center who wouldn’t be of Crosby’s caliber. Although, who is?

Currently, his cap hit is $3.8 million and is in the final year of the current deal. If he decides to return to Pittsburgh, it will be a well-below market value deal that can allow the Penguins to sign other necessary free agents to continue their Cup window. If he hits free agency, he could make north of $2 million. At this point of his career, Kunitz would likely rather want to go out as a winner. The only way he would leave, in my opinion, is if he headed to an up-and-coming team with young stars like Edmonton (see Connor McDavid).

As the Penguins embark on their journey into the playoffs, Chris Kunitz would love to win his fourth Stanley Cup in NHL history. If he were to do so, Kunitz would be the only active player in the NHL to have won more than three. Unfortunately, the same goes for most of the Chicago Blackhawks roster. So, let’s keep Chicago out of the picture.

    COLUMN: I Was Wrong About Chris Kunitz

    You don’t know what you have until it’s gone. I don’t often admit when I’m wrong (because I’m usually right), but I’ll admit I was wrong about Chris Kunitz. For those of you that may follow me on twitter, when I live-tweet games, I usually have a Kunitz complaint or two in there. I am primarily an optimist, but I’m also a perfectionist and can easily pick apart someone’s game. I even do it to myself in my own hockey games. I could have a four-point night and get a win, but I’ll find ways to beat myself up over some missed opportunity. When Kunitz started to lose a step a couple of years ago, I immediately became way too hard on him.

    I guess it’s my own fault. I tend to have high expectations of a lot of Penguin players, after all, we do have the best in the world and other plethora of talents, ripe for the plucking. I saw Kunitz play a huge role on the 2009 Cup team, and saw the year Kunitz had in 2011-2012 when he was primarily on a line with Geno and James Neal and watched that line dominate. Kunitz was by far the third-best scorer on that line, but it was other parts of his game that helped make that line so dangerous, and helped pave the way for Geno to score 50 goals and Neal to score 40. He also had enough speed to be an offensive threat on the fly with Geno, and then again with Sid after his return and Mike Johnston put Crosby between Kunitz and Dupuis. Kunitz has always been a physical guy, willing to play hard in the corners and in front of the net, but also was equipped with a good scoring touch. When his scoring numbers went down, a lot of people started to dump hard on Kunitz. They were being unreasonably hard on him. People have these expectations that if you play with Sid, you should be an elite scorer. Chris Kunitz never was that and never will be. That isn’t his MO.

    I started to pull my support of Kunitz over the last couple years when I put together several factors. 1) His age was starting to show. He was losing a step that he had, and while he maintained his physical presence, it began to really become clear that his scoring touch had diminished, and that leads to my second point. 2) He was still playing on scoring lines with Sid or Geno. Now that’s more on the coach, but it was frustrating to see playmakers like Crosby and Malkin are set up guys for high quality scoring chances and not see them get buried in the net. This particular one leaves me baffled:

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    I mean, wow. That’s the epitome of one too many passes. It’s become a joke on twitter now between Pens fans, but I still can’t believe that. That’s about as close as it comes to a sure goal.3) I thought for a player on the decline, paying him $3.85 million could have been used elsewhere to get some help of defense or bring in another guy with some kind of scoring touch, especially since the Penguins are always right up against the salary cap.

    But these past couple of weeks have made me realize something. As I’ve watched more and more hockey played the game more and more myself, I’ve learned more about the game. I’ve learned that while the whole point of the game is to outscore the other team (which means you need scorers, defense, and good goaltending), it doesn’t mean there can’t be valuable players on your team that don’t light up the scoresheet. Guys who do the dirty work in the corners or get screens in front of the net, they don’t always get on the scoresheet, but what they did on a particular play is the main reason why a goal was scored.

    Does Kunitz have the scoring touch he used to? No. On arguable the fastest team in the NHL, does Kunitz look the slowest he ever has? Yes. Does he go through stretches where he may drive you crazy? You betcha. So why have I changed my mind? Why do what so few men can do; admit I was wrong?

    He’s by far the most physical forward the Penguins have. Hornqvist is up there too, and Horny has more of a scoring touch, but Kunitz lays the boom down all over the ice. He’s usually the top forward in hits. He plays hard in the corners. He does a lot of the things on the ice that go unnoticed. He’s a veteran guy, a really good leader to compliment great leadership in Crosby, he’s a great guy in the room who has the respect of his teammates and coaches, and he has a high hockey IQ. Listen, he plays an ugly game. You know what, for hockey, that’s perfectly fine. You need guys who play ugly games, especially on a team that’s filled with speed and skill guys. You don’t necessarily need an enforcer, but you need a couple guys that play hard and physical. The Penguins have that in Kunitz and Hornqvist. And man, their absence was very noticeable when they were injured.

    For the people that still don’t like Kunitz, go back and watch the games while he was out. It’s not the same team that scored 8 goals against Ottawa. They needed his physicality, his leadership, and most of all, his experience. The team has a lot of young players. They need guys to go to that can teach them more and more about the game at the NHL level. Kunitz has won three Cups with two teams. Been there, done that.

    I’m not saying to put him in the Hart trophy race, but he’s more valuable than people give him credit for. He’s not going to score 30 goals, and yeah, he’ll pass it one too many times again. But you know what you get when #14 steps out on the ice every night. Consistency is key to success. Yep, I was wrong about you, Chris. I won’t make that mistake again.

    Pride, Passion, Pittsburgh…Penguins?

    For those of you who love Pittsburgh’s baseball team, I apologize. This phrase doesn’t really apply to your team anymore. This really applies to Pittsburgh’s hockey team. The one at the ‘Paint Can’ on 1001 Fifth Avenue in Pittsburgh.

    In a game where all hope seemed further than than the distance between California and Pennsylvania, a few players poked there heads out and did some big things when their team needed them the most.

    Scott Wilson took a puck that bounced away from a hit in the corner and scored. It looks as though Chris Kunitz may have pushed home a shot that rang off the post. The hitter and shooter off the post happened to be Patric Hornqvist.

    Hornqvist just had one of his patented games tonight. He actually dumped the puck in on the play where he hit Brendan Dillon in the corner and then forced Braun to turn it over right onto Wilson’s stick for a goal. He pounced on a rebound with his net front presence and banged it off the post. He was given credit for the goal but upon second look, Kunitz may have finished it into the net.

    Horny was in front of the net making Martin Jones’ night as hard as he possibly could. When Jones had a puck slide under his pad in the third, Hornqvist went in hit and shoved and shoved hoping he’d lodge the puck over the goal line. It didnt work, but he showed the heart and hustle. That’s what Patric Hornqvist does. That’s what Patric Hornqvist brings. Tenacity.

    That’s just one man. There are four guys who deserve the spotlight tonight.

    “No pressure.”

    Those were the words uttered by Mike Sullivan to the four defenseman on the Pens roster for the night who were healthy enough to go back out for the third period. Those four defenseman include: Brian Dumoulin, Trevor Daley, Ian Cole, and Justin Schultz.

    With Kris Letang already out for tonight, Olli Maatta and Derrick Pouliot, playing in his first game since only playing 34 games last season, both went down with injury. This left the four aforementioned names to be left out to die in the third.

    Except, the Penguins turned a two goal second period deficit into a 3-2 victory. This happened with FOUR defenseman. Incredible stuff.

    Run it by me and I’ll tell you that’s some pride. That’s some passion. Without Letang and captain Sidney Crosby, the Penguins lead an impressive comeback on the Sharks further proving that their victory last year was just that. A simple, overmatching victory.

    The Sharks peppered Marc-Andre Fleury with 34 shots tonight. He only cracked on two occasions. Martin Jones was very stellar and then an inspired third period happened. The Pittsburgh hockey team lit him up for three goals in that period.

    “We can win them ugly,” Ian Cole said after the game to reporters around his stall. That you did, my friend.

    So the next time the Pirates try to shove that “Pride. Passion. Pittsburgh Pirates.” slogan down your throat, just know that it’s really the Penguins who exemplify that.

    Something About Kunitz And Not Fitting In Anymore

    For many years now, Chris Kunitz has been a part of the Pittsburgh Penguins. Nine years if we are being exact. In those nine years, the Penguins have won two Stanley Cups. You can’t say that he didn’t have an impact, especially for the first cup run, but I wouldn’t say he was vital to the Penguins team. Let’s take a look at Kunitz’ career with the Penguins.

    At the trade deadline of the 2008-09 season, former Penguins General Manager Ray Shero sent Defenseman Ryan Whitney to the Ducks and brought in Chris Kunitz and Eric Tangradi. Kunitz would play 50 games for the Penguins that season wrangling 39 points and became one of Crosby’s right hand men. If you noticed, that same season the won the Stanley Cup, giving Kunitz two rings (the other was in ANA).  In that post-season he scored one goal and 13 assists on the way to the cup.

    He scored over 60 points twice with the Penguins, one of those a total of 68 points with 35 goals in the 2013-14 season. Since then, he has scored 40 points twice. There are a few factors into that. Kunitz plays a sort of “old-school” style of hockey. A hitting total of 1,254 should explain that well enough. Most guys who play like that tend to not age pretty well, along with the guys that they are hitting. That leads into the other factor, he’s kind of getting old. Kunitz is now in his 13th NHL season, and his 37 years old. The fact that it has taken him this long is a huge testament to how great Sidney Crosby is.

    Now, the Penguins system of play has changed. They used to put rough and tumble guys around stars Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, but GM Jim Rutherford has changed the style. They have shifted into putting raw speed and skill around the stars. Youth has been a huge part of this with the rise of Conor Sheary and Bryan Rust. Also, new trade additions Trevor Daley, Phil Kessel, and Carl Hagelin are all excellent skaters. This leaves Kunitz, an aging player who doesn’t have the legs to keep up with the young guys. It is only a matter of time until they begin to outscore him as they learn the ropes of the NHL. The fact is, the game is changing to the opposite direction of Kunitz play.

    What does this mean for his career? Well, Kunitz is in the final year of his contract with the Penguins. Though he doesn’t really fit in with the system anymore, the Penguins likely won’t trade him. His contract will run out and the Penguins will not resign him. For the rest of his time here, he can serve as a mentor for the young guys. The rest is completely up to him. He has the choice to either retire as a Pittsburgh Penguin or try to sign with a team just trying to hit the salary cap floor, but his career with the Penguins ends at the conclusion of the season.

    All stats are according to www.hockey-reference.com.

    Penguins Preseason Q&A

    Hello, Pens fans! We are back for the 2016-’17 season and it’s going to be a great title defense. Without further ado, here are your questions answered below:

    I don’t think resting veterans is a terrible idea. Now if we are talking Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin level players, no.

    Guys like Chris Kunitz and Matt Cullen surely should get some days off to stay fresh. The Penguins are going to have a ton of depth this season and a lot of them will be young guys.

    Guys like Conor Sheary, Tom Kuhnhackl, Scott Wilson, and potentially Oskar Sundqvist may be the ones who will have to rotate in and out of the lineup on a consistent basis due to everyone being healthy now. I’d love to see some of these guys mix in so I’m hoping there will be some rest for veteran guys. 

    LW- Chris Kreider, Max Pacioretty, Zach Parise, James van Riemsdyk

    C- Tyler Johnson, Nick Bjugstad, Paul Stastny, Ryan Kesler, Derek Stepan

    RW- Phil Kessel, Patrick Kane, Blake Wheeler, Joe Pavelski

    D- Dustin Byfuglien, John Carlson, Justin Faulk, Ryan McDonagh, Kevin Shattenkirk, Ryan Suter

    G- Ben Bishop, Jonathan Quick, Corey Schneider

    The USA team was limited with the whole Team North America BS. Obviously, eligible players such as Kessel and Bishop were glaring options that were left untaken.

    The Penguins actually have a better prospect system than the eye catches. Outside of Pittsburgh, hockey fans don’t realize the potential this group has.

    In no specific order, I’d go: Daniel Sprong, Jake Guentzel, Tristan Jarry, Teddy Blueger, Ethan Prow.

    As you’ll realize, I stayed with guys who have very little to no NHL experience.

    Sprong has the potential to be a prolific scorer for years to come. He revived little playing time under Mike Johnston, which didn’t help his development so he went back to juniors for a season. He’ll likely begin his season in the AHL when he returns from injury.

    Guentzel is a natural center but given the team’s depth down the middle and their intent to resign Nick Bonino, it’s likely that next year’s, and likely year’s to come after that, center core will be Crosby, Malkin, Bonino, and Sundqvist. So Sullivan has said Guentzel will be a left wing. It’s a position the Penguins may need to fill in upcoming seasons and Guentzel will be part of that audition.

    It’s never a bad thing to have three NHL capable goaltenders, especially if two of them are still on entry level deals. The Penguins have that with Tristan Jarry. Jarry has always been projected to be a solid goalie and his preseason performance says no different. He’ll back up Flower to start the season, but what will become of that when Matt Murray gets back?

    Blueger is a similar player to Guentzel but maybe a little less talented. Regardless, it’s still a great pick up for Pittsburgh. He’ll be a center though as well so he may need to add some versatility to his game if he wants to succeed with the Penguins or any NHL team.

    Finally, we’ve come to Ethan Prow, who is actually the most intriguing in my opinion. Prow is a smaller player but has great offensive intangibles and a skill set. Prow can succeed despite his size if he can continue to refine his defense. The Penguins prized college free agent signing this offseason could be a Penguin sooner rather than later.

    I’d also like to honorably mention Stuart Percy in this conversation. The Penguins signed him off of free agency this offseason when Toronto had decided he wasn’t worth a contract compared to their other contracted rookies. He’s a pretty sound defenseman already on both sides of the puck. Expect for him to see some NHL ice time this season if some injuries occur on the blue line. If the Penguins move on from Derrick Pouliot, I’d expect either Percy or Steven Oleksy to fill the seventh defenseman role.

    For Matt Murray the sky is the limit. There won’t be a ton to improve upon for him besides a few kinks to work out in his game. I personally see Scott Wilson being the most improved.

    He was great in his 24 games last year and he could see substantial playing time if he impresses his coaching staff, which I don’t see as a problem.

    Wilson has the best finishing ability of all of these players and won’t go forgotten in Mike Sullivan’s high pace-high scoring offensive scheme.

    Personally I don’t think so. I think the Penguins want to experiment with Hagelin and potentially Kessel on Sid’s wing at some point when all are healthy.

    I think they want to spread the lines out a little and see if they can’t find a combination that hits.

    With that being said…

    Come playoff time, you can bet your bottom dollar the ‘HBK’ Line will again emerge to give the Penguins the most lethal line in hockey.

    This is a tougher question because the Pens are so deep that really only injuries are going to give someone a promotion.

    My list of people we should for sure see in the NHL would be Oskar Sundqvist, Jake Guentzel, and Carter Rowney.

    These three will likely be guaranteed some NHL time this season if an injury occurs. With Sid’s injury, it’s likely we’ll see Sundqvist take Sid’s roster spot down the middle.

    Guentzel and Rowney fit the Penguins’ “long term plans” according to Mike Sullivan. But they’re an injury or two away from making their NHL debuts.

    Defenseman Stuart Percy is one that I like. He probably won’t get NHL time because of the depth at defense and it’s likely David Warsofsky would get the call before Percy due to his seniority with the club.

    I don’t think anyone is complaining about the jersey design. They’re absolutely gorgeous. I love them.

    As for the Stadium Series jersey…

    It’s tough to speculate. The Penguins obviously went with the modernized old-school 1990’s look with their new home and away’s. The blue uniforms could always return.

    Being it’s the 50th anniversary, the Penguins will likely stay with the throwback theme instead of trying to create a brand-new jersey for the Stadium Series.

    Opening Graphic done by @goodkdmaattacty

    Impressions To Be Made

    Rosters are almost trimmed down to the opening day size of 23. Excitement for the fringe players who will make it. Disappointment will hang over those that don’t.

    It seems the Pens roster won’t be hard to decipher heading into the season, but there are some guys with something to prove.

    Four Penguins on the roster stick out to me as either bubble guys who have a chance to impress or guys who can cement themselves as an NHL regular.

    My first one (in no specific order)…

    1.) LW, Chris Kunitz


    It’s quite obvious if you check my twitter feed from last season that Chris Kunitz does not rank amongst my favorite Penguins’ players. I don’t know why, but I can’t stand the guy. Did he have an alright season last year given the circumstances? Yes, he did.

    The body banging Kunitz will give it a go this season. Quoted saying he feels better than he has for any season in recent memory, he’ll look to keep his body churning through an 82-game schedule (plus the hopefully guaranteed playoffs) without much more than the bumps and bruises that come along with his style of hockey.

    The 37 year old will be the likely candidate to start the season with the same man he’s flanked for years, the one and only Sidney Crosby. It’s also very likely that he won’t be pried from that line unless things go completely awry. Crosby is too familiar with him and likes him way too much for the coaching staff to break that up.

    Entering the final year of his contract in which he will make close to $4 million dollars this season, Kunitz plans on continuing to play beyond this season. Whether the Penguins give him a short term deal with much less money will be determined with time.

    One would assume Kunitz will be on a mission to make sure his team can be a contender for another Cup. The biggest question is what does he have left in the tank to help get the Penguins there?

    2.) LW, Scott Wilson


    The second name on this list is the most intriguing to me.

    Scott Wilson proved last season that he can finish. He’s quite possibly the best finisher out of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton wave of players from last season. He’s a pure goal scorer and a possible eventual replacement for Kunitz on the Crosby line due to his finishing ability.

    Wilson had a very promising beginning to his career. So much so that he signed a two year contract extension alongside Tom Kuhnhackl and Bryan Rust last season. Unfortunately, injuries shortened his season to just 24 games.

    He scored five goals in that span but did a ton to prove he’s got the ability to bury some goals in the back of the opposition’s net and that’s something that’s always coveted by general manager’s and coaches.

    There’s not much doubt that Wilson makes the opening day roster. It’s likely he’ll have to wrestle playing time away from other winger options but if he gets to plant himself into the lineup on a nightly basis, the coaching staff shouldn’t regret confiding in him.

    3.) D, Derrick Pouliot


    It’s pretty hard to disagree that Derrick Pouliot might have more to prove than anyone in the entire Penguins organization.

    It’s going to be hard enough to find playing after the Penguins brought back almost their entire D-core. The loss of Ben Lovejoy moves Pouliot up a spot on the depth chart to the seventh defenseman.

    Pouliot has vastly disappointed the expectations set for him years ago and continues to struggle in this season’s training camp. Head coach Mike Sullivan expects Pouliot to stand out amongst his AHL competition but he just hasn’t done so.

    He looks like an entirely different person this season and dedicated himself to getting into hockey shape. He needs to translate his skill to ice.

    It’s almost as if he’s playing scared, which at this point seems pretty impossible to break. If Pouliot can let the game come to him, he can be an elite offensive talent. The defense still could use work, but the offensive talent potential he’s got isn’t teachable. He’s got to find a way to put it together if he wants a spot in Pittsburgh, or on any NHL roster, for that matter.

    4.) G, Tristan Jarry


    This is sort of a Wild Card play right here, but Tristan Jarry has done some incredible things this preseason.

    With Matt Murray out for four-to-six weeks with a broken hand, the Penguins will turn to Tristan Jarry to handle backup duties behind Marc-Andre Fleury until Murray can return.

    Jarry enjoyed a nice campaign in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton last season and is expected to do the same when Murray gets back.

    It’s likely Jarry doesn’t get a start at the NHL level while Flower likely will get every start due to the impending goalie competition looming. If the coaching staff however does find an opportunity along the way for Jarry, it would be his first career regular season start.

    Not that one singular start can determine the career of any NHL’er, but a solid season from Jarry in WBS could prompt the Penguins to call his name if perhaps a goaltender is traded at the trade deadline or before next season’s expansion draft.

    Jarry was originally considered a better goalie than Murray until Murray’s AHL dominance jumped him ahead of Jarry. It’ll be interesting to see Jarry’s level of compete knowing he may be tasting consistent NHL action, albeit as a backup, within the near future.