From the Point Too
by brianmetzer on 10/13/11 at 11:54 AM ET
Speculation had been running wild for a couple of weeks that the Penguins and Chris Kunitz were talking contract extension. It wasn’t a matter ‘if’ something would get done, so much as ‘when’ and that when came this morning as general manager Ray Shero has announced that the sides have reached an agreement on a two-year contract extension.
The contract will kick in during the 2012-13 season and runs through the 2013-14 season. The deal brings an annual cap hit of $3.725 million annually and works well for both sides.
“This is a great core of young guys,” Kunitz told the Tribune Review last week. “It’s a great bunch. I love playing with them.”
That bunch clearly likes playing with him as well. He was an important part of the team that won the Stanley Cup back in 2009 and has been an integral part of a very successful first line over the years with Sidney Crosby and Pascal Dupuis.
Though he might not put up as much offense as some would have hoped upon his arrival in town, he is one of the hardest workers on the team. He creates chances on nearly every shift and is the type of player that is always around the puck.
“It’s how hard he works,” his line-mate Pascal Dupuis told the Trib. “You know exactly what you’re getting out of him on every shift. It’s nice to play on a line with a guy like that.”
Kunitz, 32, has played in all four games this season for Pittsburgh, tallying one assist. Last year he had one of his best NHL seasons, ranking second on the team with 23 goals – the 2nd-highest total of his career – and adding 25 assists for 48 points in 66 games.
The 6-foot, 193-pound forward has appeared in 140 regular-season games with Pittsburgh, totaling 99 points (43G-56A), a plus-25 rating, 12 power-play goals and two shorthanded tallies. He has 26 points (6G-20A) in 43 postseason contests.
Kunitz will be an important part of this team’s success moving forward and is just the latest to ink an extension with the team. He joins an already potent core that features Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Tyler Kennedy, Kris Letang, Brooks Orpik, Paul Martin, Zbynek Michalek and Marc Andre Fleury.
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