Ray Shero’s Best Moments As Pens GM

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5.  Adding Forward Chris Kunitz

Kunitz during a March game versus the New York Islanders. Credit: Bruce Bennett, NHL Getty Images

Date: February 26th, 2009

Official Trade: Ryan Whitney to Anaheim Ducks, Chris Kunitz and signing rights of Eric Tangradi to the Pittsburgh Penguins

The Pens were on their way to another playoff berth, making it their second in a row for the 2008-2009 season.

After losing Marian Hossa to Detroit in the offseason, the Penguins were looking to trade for a forward when it came close to the trade deadline.

What they needed was to find someone to play with Sidney Crosby.

And they found that with forward Chris Kunitz.

At the time, the 28-year-old was a cornerstone talent for the Ducks and he proved to be just that when he was acquired for the Pens.

After acquiring Kunitz, the Pens had a record of 15-2-3 for their remaining scheduled contests and in those 20 regular-season games for the Pens he tallied 18 points (7G, 11A).

Kunitz was just as valuable for the Pens in the playoffs as well.

In their 2009 Stanley Cup run, Kunitz garnered 14 points (1G, 13A) for the team.  The line of him, Crosby and Bill Guerin proved to be the best trio of skaters for the Pens during that postseason.

The trade was also successful because Ryan Whitney was struggling during the regular-season.

Whitney only played 28 games (due to injury) and while Whitney did have 13 points in those games, he had a disappointing minus-15 rating.

It almost seemed necessary to get rid of such a liability like Whitney.

Looking back at this trade, Shero successfully got rid of a struggling defenseman, found a good offensive talent, and gained a prospect in Eric Tangradi — who at the time had a promising outlook.