To many Pascal Dupuis is simply a role player and those people are right. Dupuis is simply a role player. He’s the best role player on the entire Pittsburgh Penguins roster and maybe even the entire NHL. He’s no longer the best kept secret in the league anymore, and that likely isn’t going to help Ray Shero re-sign him at a discount again.
Dupuis is a uniquely valuable commodity. He’s a player who can adapt his game to mesh with super star caliber players like Sidney Crosby. He can also cycle, muck and grind on the fourth line with guys like Joe Vitale and do everything in between. His speed and tenacity enable him to play up and down the lineup, find time on the Power Play as-well-as the Penalty Kill. So, if you’re Ray Shero, how do you put a fair price tag on such a versatile player?
The speedy winger has improved his game every season with the Penguins after being an afterthought in the Marian Hossa trade in 2008. Since coming to Pittsburgh, Dupuis has nearly 100 goals (94) as a Penguin and 45 of those goals have come in the past two seasons (technically one and a half seasons).
I would typically say that this would be Dupuis’ last opportunity for a “big deal,” because players who rely on speed and grit like Dupuis does tend to wear down drastically as they age. However, Dupuis is like a fine wine that continues to get better with time. He may actually be the real life version of Benjamin Button.
Dupuis likely would have shattered his season totals for goals, assists and points, had this been a regular 82-game season, granted he stayed healthy throughout it. If you project his goal total over an 82-game season, Dupuis would have had around 34 goals – almost ten more than his previous high just one year prior. Dupuis also led the NHL in plus/minus this season. You could say he is a beneficiary of Sidney Crosby, however, Crosby was injured for large parts of the past two seasons and Duper kept ticking without the Penguins captain.
Dupuis had a cap hit of $1.5 million the past two seasons, and was easily the biggest bargain in the entire NHL, given his numbers over that time span. His 81 Even Strength points over the past two seasons is good for fourth in the entire League behind Steven Stamkos (93), Martin St. Louis (85) and Phil Kessel (82). Dupuis had more points this season than James Neal, Evgeni Malkin, Jarome Iginla, Corey Perry, Jaromir Jagr, Ilya Kovalchuk and Marian Hossa. Let that sink in for merely five seconds and you realize how impressive of a deal Dupuis really is. That’s some mighty elite company.
Dupuis could cash in big time if he decides to become an Unrestricted Free Agent. It’s been speculated that Duper could receive something near 4.5 million per year and upwards of 6 million, if he tests the market. At that price, Shero would likely not be willing or able to match those offers, especially if it’s anywhere near that upper range.
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