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Penguins sign Kunitz to three-year, $11.5 million deal

Jun 27, 2013, 8:56 AM EDT

UNIONDALE, NY - MAY 05: Chris Kunitz #14 of the Pittsburgh Penguins scores the overtime game winning powerplay goal at 8:44 against the New York Islanders and is joined by Sidney Crosby #87 (L) in Game Three of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2013 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on May 5, 2013 in Uniondale, New York. The Penguins defeated the Islanders 5-4 in overtime. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Penguins have announced that they have inked forward Chris Kunitz to a three-year contract extension worth $11,500,000.

Kunitz still has a season left on his current contract, so the Penguins have now locked him up through 2016-17. Kunitz’s new deal will come with only a mild annual cap hit increase of $125,000 annually.

That’s a nice break for the Penguins considering the 33-year-old had 61 points in 2011-12 and then took another step forward with 22 goals and 52 points in 48 games last season. Given what they have already committed to paying Evgeni Malkin, Sidney Crosby, and James Neal, the Penguins didn’t have the cap flexibility to give Kunitz a contract more reflective of the numbers he’s put up over the last two campaigns.

With Kunitz inked, the next big question for the Penguins is if they can re-sign Pascal Dupuis. He’s coming off a two-year, $3,000,000 deal and will be looking for a sizable raise after recording 38 points in 48 contests in 2013.

The Penguins would also probably love to re-sign midseason acquisition Jarome Iginla, but getting such a contract under the cap would be very difficult for Pittsburgh.

  1. jeffersonkostilnick - Jun 27, 2013 at 9:03 AM

    What’s that Dupuis? You want 4-5 mill? Well Kunitz just signed for less, your market is set.

    • steelpenbucs87 - Jun 27, 2013 at 9:16 AM

      Has he asked for 4-5? I hadn’t seen any reports of numbers being traded. I love Duper, but if that is the case he will be either a) disappointed, b) wearing another sweater next year, or c) both.

      • jeffersonkostilnick - Jun 27, 2013 at 9:18 AM

        It was from his agent Allan Walsh who was trying to make a case that he is a 5 mill a year player.

      • jeffersonkostilnick - Jun 27, 2013 at 9:19 AM

        http://insidepittsburghsports.com/story/source-dupuis-agent-initially-went-into-talks-eyeing-5-million-per-season/59318/

      • Tyler - Jun 27, 2013 at 9:34 AM

        Reports indicate that Dupuis will sign a 5 year contract paying him $15/hr plus benefits along with use of company car.

      • steelpenbucs87 - Jun 27, 2013 at 9:50 AM

        Well let’s hope that’s just posturing then. $5 mil a year is steep (for us – not for his talents). I was hoping we’d be able to get him for around $3 mil

      • jpelle82 - Jun 27, 2013 at 10:37 AM

        dupuis does more than kunitz in the ways of the penalty kill and he’s faster despite being older (1 year not a big deal though) but kunitz gets the pp time. dupuis had more even strength goals than anyone in the league this year…. in an abbreviated season, this was his best. he should be poised for a big payday and this is probably his last shot at a big payday in free agency…but….he loves it in pittsburgh and he knows he wont play with the likes of crosby anywhere else. he will probably take a discount and sign right under 4m per year like kunitz but i dont blame his agent for doing whats best for both of their (his and dupuis’) pockets.

  2. steelers88 - Jun 27, 2013 at 9:03 AM

    Why?!?!?!?!?

    • jeffersonkostilnick - Jun 27, 2013 at 9:11 AM

      This says loud and clear we won’t be giving Duper anymore than 3.5m or so a year.

    • steelpenbucs87 - Jun 27, 2013 at 9:14 AM

      I meant to reply directly to your comment, but I posted it below – it starts with “I am convinced that you have no knowledge of hockey.” Shouldn’t be hard to find.

  3. jpelle82 - Jun 27, 2013 at 9:11 AM

    great deal, he couldve gotten more after next year elsewhere. shero does it again. i expect a very similar if not the exact same deal for dupuis here shortly.

  4. steelpenbucs87 - Jun 27, 2013 at 9:12 AM

    I am convinced that you have no knowledge of hockey. This is a great deal. Kunitz has played fantastic hockey since arriving in Pittsburgh, showing the versatility to thrive on any role you put him in. His cap number will BARELY rise, and even that won’t kick in until the season after next when in all odds the salary cap will also be rising – in effect he’ll be the same price if not cheaper from a % of cap situation.

    Solid move by the Pens, but the work isn’t done yet. Still have to work on Duper, Letang, and make a decision (even if its to do nothing) on the goalie situation.

    • steelpenbucs87 - Jun 27, 2013 at 9:15 AM

      This was meant to be a reply to Steelers88. Not trying to say anything to anyone else.

    • jpelle82 - Jun 27, 2013 at 9:23 AM

      there’s not much work to be done with letang as much as there is FOR letang. this deal for kunitz is just another nail in the coffin for 58 in pittsburgh. i’m more concerned about what will happen with 24 and 27 as i’m convinced letang has played his last game as a penguin.

      • steelpenbucs87 - Jun 27, 2013 at 9:54 AM

        Agreed – my guess is they try to keep them both, but Cooke at a lower cost maybe.

        With the Lightning buying out Vinny they all of a sudden have a lot more cap room – could be a trade partner for Letang. Gets him out of the division at least, and they have that young goalie prospect (Alexander Marki-something)… could structure something there.

  5. drone501 - Jun 27, 2013 at 9:20 AM

    good signing

  6. steelers88 - Jun 27, 2013 at 9:33 AM

    Do any of you know how old Chris Kunitz is? His 33. By the end of the contract he will be 36. The reason why I question this is I thought the Penguins wanted to get younger and what about signing Letang, Dupuis, Iginla, and Cooke.

    • Tyler - Jun 27, 2013 at 9:36 AM

      Unless Iginla takes a ridiculous discount, or he just -really- wants to stay in Pittsburgh, I think we’ve seen the last of him.

    • steelpenbucs87 - Jun 27, 2013 at 10:14 AM

      So you’re complaining about Kunitz’s age in one sentence, and then saying how you wanted us to sign Dupuis (who is older), Iginla (who is older), and Cooke (who is older)?

      You’re a hoot dude – like I said, no idea what you’re talking about.

    • 19to77 - Jun 27, 2013 at 10:54 AM

      Three of the players you just named are older. None of them can match his scoring pace. And Shero’s already said Letang’s likely not staying, not at the ridiculous price he seems to want. Iginla’s old, slow and looked out of place constantly, and Cooke’s a career third-liner who will go for less than $2m a year if he wants to keep wearing that sweater. Don’t be an idiot, this is great value for a guy who puts up points like Kunitz does.

  7. myroncopesflask - Jun 27, 2013 at 9:41 AM

    A point per game player for a little over 3.8 a year? I will sign up for that every day and twice on Sunday! 1975

  8. sjsharks66 - Jun 27, 2013 at 9:59 AM

    The pens are going to lose some core guys this off season. Guys who make a big impact like Cooke, Dupuis and Letang.

    • steelpenbucs87 - Jun 27, 2013 at 10:17 AM

      Yeah – they have 7.8 M in cap space left. Maybe you can get Duper for the same hit as Kunitz, which leaves 4 mil to get the rest of the team. 2 mil will go to TK for the qualifying offer which they already said they would do, and then that leaves you a couple mil to make up the rest of the team.

      Moving Letang becomes a must if you sign Duper to this type of a deal. Sad to see him go (I think he gets a bad rap sometimes), but if we can get a solid second line DMan at around 2.5 mil in return that would be helfpul.

  9. kingsforever - Jun 27, 2013 at 10:12 AM

    This guy would be nothing without Crosby.

    • jpelle82 - Jun 27, 2013 at 10:26 AM

      except he had his best season playing primarily with malkin…but still. kunitz knows it thats why he took this deal, thats why dupuis will do the same.

    • 19to77 - Jun 27, 2013 at 10:59 AM

      And? He HAS Crosby. And Malkin. Those are the centres he plays with. And we’ve seen the numbers he generates with them. You’re right – but whether or not he could do it without them is entirely irrelevant. He’s obviously not going to have to for the next three years.

  10. steelers88 - Jun 27, 2013 at 10:20 AM

    My gut feeling is Letang is gone, Cooke is gone, Iginla gone, Morrow gone, Murray might be gone but the Pens really can’t afford to lose him. I think Dupuis stays and Adams stays.

    • jpelle82 - Jun 27, 2013 at 10:27 AM

      this is the most sensible thing you’ve ever posted

    • steelpenbucs87 - Jun 27, 2013 at 10:45 AM

      With you up until the Murray part. I disagree that the Pens “can’t afford to lose him” – the Pens have a ton of young DMen who could make the roster next year, including Despres and Bortuzzo, but also Harrington and Dumolin too. I also believe that a part of the Letang deal would include a DMan coming back the other way to replace him (similar to the Staal trade last year). You could roll with:
      Martin-Orpik
      Niskanen-Letang Replacement
      Then some combo of Despres, Borts, Harrington, and Dumolin

      • jpelle82 - Jun 27, 2013 at 11:45 AM

        i wouldnt be surprised if they find a way to keep murray, but i agree they dont have to bend over backwards to do so. he was a good player for the pens in the playoffs but he’s hardly necessary to the plans. you can factor in the attrition and probably expect to see doumolin this coming year and maybe even harrington if it gets bad injury wise. i think bortuzzo and despres will be regulars and they will be competing daily for the 2nd pair spot letang will vacate. i also wouldnt be surprised if engo is consistently back in the bottom pair for most of the year.

      • hockey412 - Jun 27, 2013 at 12:23 PM

        Murray’s speed became an issue late in the playoffs – Bylsma seemed to cut his minutes a good bit. I doubt he’s there. I hated Ference in a B’s jersey, but wouldn’t be opposed to seeing him come back for a year. Despres needs the playing time (full time) next year, Martin and Orpik obviously are solid. Niskanen scared me away from thinking he’s a line 2 Dman late in the playoffs, but we’ll see.

  11. pdmjr - Jun 27, 2013 at 10:32 AM

    Letang can play for 3.5 next season, he then can become a UFA and sign a big deal.

    • jpelle82 - Jun 27, 2013 at 10:39 AM

      i think they are gonna get value for him and shed his cap room than just letting him go for free next year

  12. steelers88 - Jun 27, 2013 at 10:51 AM

    I think shero really wants to get deal done with Letang this offseason if he can’t I think Letang will be traded. If I were the GM and I couldn’t get a deal done I would trade Letang I would rather get something good for Letang than let him leave in free agency.

  13. steelers88 - Jun 27, 2013 at 11:01 AM

    What would be nice is if we can get some young forwards in a Letang trade the Pens really young forwards in the system.

    • hockeyflow33 - Jun 27, 2013 at 12:41 PM

      How many times can you post singular comments on one article?

  14. jtowme - Jun 27, 2013 at 11:34 AM

    Could get a lot for Letang and I’d be okay with his leaving. But if you get a lot for him, then you’ll pay money for those players too. One of the many reason’s I’d suck as a GM.

  15. jtowme - Jun 27, 2013 at 11:34 AM

    Could get a lot for Letang and I’d be okay with his leaving. But if you get a lot for him, then you’ll pay money for those players too. One of the many reason’s I’d suck as a GM. Good job on Kunitz.

  16. devilsarethebest - Jun 27, 2013 at 4:09 PM

    I didn’t know Crosby can have two contracts. I guess it’s part of the new CBA.

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