FORMER FSU HOCKEY STANDOUT CHRIS KUNITZ TRADED TO PITTSBURGH
Kunitz Helped Lead Anaheim To The Stanley Cup In The 2006-07 Season
Former Ferris State University men's ice hockey standout, Chris Kunitz, will now be skating for a new National Hockey League (NHL) team as the left winger was traded today (Feb. 26) by the Anaheim Ducks to the Pittsburgh Penguins.
|Former Ferris State All-American Chris Kunitz is the newest member of the Pittsburgh Penguins following Thursday's trade from Anaheim. (Photo courtesy of Anaheim Ducks)
The most heralded skater in FSU's hockey history, Kunitz was traded to the Penguins along with a prospect for Ryan Whitney six days before the NHL's trade deadline on Wednesday, March 4.
Kunitz, a 2002-03 All-America First-Team selection at Ferris State, spent parts of five seasons (2003-04; 2005-present) with Anaheim and played a key role in leading the Ducks to a Stanley Cup title in the 2006-07 NHL season.
The 29-year old Kunitz had appeared in all of Anaheim's 62 games this season, registering 35 points on 16 goals and 19 assists to go with 55 penalty minutes and a plus nine efficiency rating. A native of Regina, Saskatchewan, Kunitz has accumulated 192 career points with 81 goals and 111 assists in 315 career NHL contests. The 6-0, 193-pound skater recently played in his 300th NHL outing on Jan. 17 at Minnesota. A season ago, he led the Ducks with six game-winning goals and ranked third on the team in goals (21), assists (29) and points (50).
Kunitz began his professional playing career in Anaheim after signing with the franchise as an undrafted free agent on April 1, 2003. He started off the 2005-06 NHL campaign with the Ducks, but was put on waivers and claimed by the Atlanta Thrashers where he appeared in two contests. Two weeks later, Kunitz was re-claimed off waivers back to Anaheim and would go on to set a club rookie point scoring record with 41 points on 19 goals and 22 assists in 67 games.
Kunitz was a member of silver-medalist Team Canada at the 2008 Men's World Ice Hockey Championships, which were conducted May 2-18, 2008 at Halifax, Nova Scotia and Quebec City, Quebec in Canada.
As a collegian at Ferris State, Kunitz made the most of his 2002-03 senior season by achieving American Hockey Coaches Association (AHCA) All-America First-Team kudos and was among three 2003 finalists for the Hobey Baker Memorial Award finalists, which is presented annually to the nation's top collegiate men's ice hockey player. A two-time (2001-02 and 2002-03) Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) First-Team pick, Kunitz became the first Bulldog skater to earn CCHA Player of the Year honors after leading the league in points, goals, assists, and plus/minus for the 2002-03 campaign.
Kunitz concluded his stellar career ranking tied for sixth in career points (175), second in goals (99) and 18th in assists (76) in 152 contests. He played an integral role in leading the 2002-03 Bulldogs to a school-best 31-10-1 overall record, the school's first-ever CCHA Regular-Season Championship title and the program's first-ever NCAA Division I Championship Tournament appearance. Kunitz was also recognized as the male student-athlete recipient of the 2002-03 Bulldog of the Year Award, which is presented annually to the most outstanding Ferris State student-athlete.
In reports by ESPN.com and NHL.com, Pittsburgh General Manager Ray Shero is pleased to be acquiring a player of Kunitz's talent.
"He's a top six-forward, wherever the coach wants to play him, he'll play him," Shero told ESPN.com. "Kunitz is going to be a good player for us. I love the way he plays. He's got character, leadership, he'll play a little bigger role here than I think he did recently [in Anaheim].
"I've watched him forever and [Penguins coach] Dan Bylsma coached him [in the American Hockey League] and played with him," added Shero. "He's a guy that can play with good players. He's got the speed, the hockey sense, the hands, we really like him."
Pittsburgh interim head coach Dan Bylsma knows all about Kunitz after having served as an assitant coach in Anaheim during Kunitz's time there. Bylsma can't wait to introduce Kunitz into the Penguins' mix.
"With Chris Kunitz coming here, heís got 148 hits and heís a top-six guy," said Bylsma. "He drives to the net and creates space for people. Heís a pretty speedy guy up front. Immediately thatís what you can expect from Chris Kunitz.
"I've played with him and coached him. Thatís what he does. Heís straight forward. He goes and gets pucks. He drives to the net. Heís around the net a lot so youíll find him there, getting goals and creating space for people."
Pittsburgh Penguins Official Website
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