Pascal Dupuis Absence Weighing Heavy On Pittsburgh Penguins


Let me first start out by saying what most people know but rarely will talk about, Pascal Dupuis is an average NHL player. His play and production have been easily replaced by newcomers like David Perron, Patric Hornqvist and even Blake Comeau to some extent. Former GM Ray Shero also signed Pascal Dupuis to a contract that not only was too much, but too long as well. When this deal was signed I, like many, were more than questioning the decision to resign the aging wing to a long deal. 

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It is tough to really accept it but the veteran journeyman Dupuis is not a special talent. Much of his production and elevated level of play has been due to the time he spent on the Pittsburgh Penguins top two lines. Specifically playing with Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby.

However, there is one factor in Pascal Dupuis’ contract that many had undervalued and that is his leadership. Pascal Dupuis will never make highlight worthy goals by himself, he will never be the best checker or the fastest skater. It is the intangible things that Dupuis did so well which most likely was a big reason why Shero decided to sign him to a long deal. Pascal Dupuis is a vocal leader on the ice, in the locker room and public. He was the heart and soul of the Pittsburgh Penguins.

This season Pascal Dupuis was coming back off of a season ending injury and through the first 16 games he netted 11 points (6 G – 5 A). His strong start showed he had not lost a step and was fighting against father time. Despite his remarkable recovery and heroic work ethic, it was announced that Dupuis had a blood clot in his lung and would be forced to miss the remainder of the season.

Oct 28, 2014; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins right wing Pascal Dupuis (9) reacts after scoring a power play goal against the New Jersey Devils during the third period at the CONSOL Energy Center. The Penguins won 8-3. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

It is no coincidence that when Pascal Dupuis left the Penguins lineup, the play of the team began to slowly worsen. Before he went down the Pittsburgh Penguins were flying with a record of 12-3-1, had the league’s best powerplay and looked to finally have a chance to win the Stanley Cup.

Since Pascal Dupuis left the team their record stands at 14-9-7, hardly that of a championship caliber team. Much of that mediocre record was due to a large number of injuries to many key players. Yet despite players returning to the lineup the level of play has not recovered. The one common denominator was Pascal Dupuis, he was the leader of the Penguins and never truly appreciated.

Now we sit here wishing he still was playing and hoping the Pittsburgh Penguins can find a leader to rally the team. The old phrase “You never know what you have until it’s gone” is ringing true, now more than ever.