It took Chris Kunitz a couple seasons after being traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins before he became a fixture on the Penguins’ top-line.
Since 2011, Kunitz has scored 229 points (106 goals and 123 assists) in 274 games, and despite this productivity, he is not recognized as an elite left wing.
In a recent article posted on NHL.com, their experts voted to determine the current top left wings in the league. A link to the article is below.
Top 14 Left Wings in the NHL – according to NHL.com
You will notice that Kunitz misses the top-14 players, but he did recieve two votes for the last spot. A big reason why Kunitz is not recognized for his level of play is he skates alongside one of the games’ best playmakers in Sidney Crosby. Many experts in the league view Kunitz as someone who has great chemistry with the Penguins’ centers, but is incapable of making plays without them.
Now, I personally disagree, and believe that Kunitz is an elite two-way left wing, but I doubt he will ever be credited for his skill. Kunitz is going to be 35 this season, so his best years are probably behind him, and his chance of making this list will be greatly reduced.
I think Kunitz will still continue to be productive for the remainder of his three-year, $11.5 million dollar deal – per CapGeek.com – but his time on the top-line might be ending soon.
Some of the players who are ahead of Kunitz, I frankly don’t think are better players than him. It’s the luxury Kunitz has playing with stars that reduces his recognition, and there is nothing he can really do to change that.
Tags: Pittsburgh Penguins