By: Melissa Esing (Off_thepost)
Throughout the 2013-2014 NHL season, I’ll be posting player features each Friday. This week, we’re going to take a look at Chris Kunitz.
At the age of 34, fan favorite Chris Kunitz has seen two Stanley Cup Championships. He was with the Anaheim Ducks for the franchise’s first Stanley Cup Championship win in 2007, and he saw his next Stanley Cup victory once he was traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2009. His arrival in Western Pennsylvania was where he found an irreplaceable chemistry.
You’ll find Kunitz on the first line along with Sidney Crosby and Pascal Dupuis. The three form one of the most dangerous trios in the NHL, and they possess a phenomenal chemistry. Kunitz is a well-rounded player that is quite complimentary when it comes to Crosby with his physical game.
“Having chemistry with Dupuis and Sid, you can go out and enjoy offensive success and still play good defensively,” said Kunitz in an interview.
When Crosby was injured in past seasons, Kunitz skated alongside James Neal and Evgeni Malkin on the first line, yet again forming another dominating trio with an intense chemistry. Their styles mesh very well together.
Not only can Kunitz be counted on for being the complimentary type of player to star teammates, but he has blossomed into a player that is very reliable offensively. Although it’s hard to stand out on a team with such incredible depth, Kunitz is arguably one of Shero’s smartest acquisitions.
Along with finding him on the first line, you can always count on the fact that he’s somewhere close to the front of the net. So far this season, he’s had 13 goals.
When it comes to players aging, that doesn’t seem to be a problem with Kunitz. The older he gets, the more he improves. In last year’s shortened season, he started to put up at least one point per game. He ended the season with 52 points, which was second to Crosby’s 56 points.
This season, he’s been consistent with 26 points in the 27 games he’s played. Tonight, Kunitz defends his 7-game point streak against the Tampa Bay Lightning.