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.