Chris Kunitz, Welcome to Pittsburgh; Sayonara, Ryan Whitney!
Chris Kunitz is a 6'1, 198-pound, 29-year old left winger, who was born in Regina, Saskatoon.
Kunitz has played 315 career games in the NHL during parts of five seasons, all with the Anaheim (formerly known as Mighty) Ducks.
He set career highs in goals (25), assists (35), penalty minutes (81) and points (60) in 81 games with the Ducks during the 2006-07 season.
Last season Kunitz racked up 21 goals and 50 points while playing in all 82 games for Anaheim.
Kunitz played with and was coached by Penguins' IHCDB in Anaheim and Cincinnati of the AHL, respectively. This should make the transition to a new team a little easier, since IHCDB is familiar with Kunitz and what he brings to the table.
Basically, what the Pens get with Kunitz is a speedy, gritty winger, who should score some goals from the blue paint area and work hard along the boards on both ends of the ice.
A good comparison for Kunitz would be a smaller, faster version of Ryan Malone, with a little more offensive upside than Bugsy.
Oh yeah, and Kunitz has something else that Ryan Whitney doesn't have—a Stanley Cup championship ring.
Penguins' forward Chris Minard was placed on waivers to make room on the roster for Kunitz, who will be in the lineup when the Pens meet the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday night.
If Minard clears waivers, which he should, he will be re-assigned to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.
The second player in the Whitney deal was Eric Tangradi, a 20-year-old, 6'4", 221-pound centerman, currently playing for the Belleville Bulls of the Ontario Hockey League.
Tangradi trails only the projected number-one selection in the upcoming NHL entry draft, John Tavares, in scoring in the OHL this season with 87 points (38G, 49A).
The young centerman was drafted 42nd overall in the 2nd round of the 2007 NHL Entry Draft by the Ducks.
Tangradi likely won't see any NHL action this season, but will surely be present at the Penguins' prospect camp this summer, and might well land a spot in WB/S to start the 2009-10 campaign.
The only downside to Tangradi? He's from Philthadelphia.
Tangradi has been a beast in Juniors, but so was Max Talbot and a lengthy list of other current NHLers who have settled into roles as third or fourth line players.
I'm not saying that the same will hold true with Tangradi, but we won't really know just how good of a deal this was until we see the youngster on the ice in the NHL.
I would have been happy with a bag of pucks and a Chinese Buffet in exchange for Ryan Whitney, so Penguins' GM Ray Shero exceeded my expectations once again.
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