Thursday, June 27, 2013

What the Kunitz Signing Means for Pascal Dupuis

By Artistry

Keeping our Twitter avatar relevant for years to come, the Penguins today gave Chris "Hands" Kunitz a three-year contract extension. Hey, we love Hands. But make no mistake about what his new contract means: Pascal Dupuis is almost certainly gone.

I can't tell you what's been happening in the Dupuis negotiations, and I'm not going to act like I know, because I'm not Rob Rossi. But I would speculate that Dupuis is asking for the moon, the moon being 4 years, $18 million. And that's too rich. Look, if you have two guys you love of comparable value -- and who are both important complementary but not core players -- looking for deals in the $4 million a year range that will take them through the age of 38, you need to pick one and let the other go. As we've said repeatedly, aging all-star teams don't win in today's NHL. The Pens need an infusion of youthful swagger. So don't you prioritize the guy with the body of a 28-year-old and the legs of cheetah? I would.

Kunitz, for all his attributes, has considerable mileage on him and is much less durable than Dupuis. It's not like the Pens are guaranteed additional years of 2013 Chris Kunitz. They just signed up for 2017 Chris Kunitz. And they had two other very good options that they just took a pass on: make another run at the Cup with both guys and evaluate Kunitz next summer, or trade Kunitz now for a good return. Why extend him today?  Because some other things are probably beyond their grasp.


  1. I suspect that you are right that 14's new deal means that Duper is asking for more than the Pens are willing to give. And you can't keep all the vets, both because of money and, well, inertia, for lack of a better word. So you let Sid keep whichever of his wings jumps on a reasonable deal.

    But I think it's also worth pointing out:

    1) The only asset Duper has above Kunie is speed (frankly, I think Kunie has been pretty durable, even if Duper is ridiculously so). And speed is the first thing to go with age, regardless of the shape you are in. Always. You need the other skills to make up for it, and Kunie is the better hockey player.

    2) We need a left wing more than a right one (yes, I know Duper could play both, but he's generally on the right). Sunshine is a better right wing than left and looks way more comfortable there. He obviously can't play right with Geno(and didn't look to have any special chemistry with him anyway). I'd really like to see 14-87-19 to start the season. My gut tells me BB is more a Sid than a Geno winger. Doesn't help with the perpetual whole on Geno's left side - but at least we don't have two.

    In any case, it's going to be an interesting summer.

    1. Good points. But from an asset management perspective, I think if Dupuis would have signed the same deal, you probably sign him and trade Kunitz now, when you can get a good return. Agree that in a vacuum, Kunitz may well be the better signing. But I would not gamble on him being more effective than Duper at 37-38. He's small and plays like the Brooks Orpik of forwards. We'll see.