Story & Photo Courtesy Of The Pittsburgh Penguins
Big Rapids, Mich. - The National Hockey League's (NHL) Pittsburgh Penguins have re-signed forward Chris Kunitz, a former Ferris State University hockey standout, to a two-year contract extension, it was announced today (Oct. 13) by executive vice president and general manager Ray Shero.
The deal begins with 2012-13 season and runs through the 2013-14 campaign, and has an average annual value of $3.725 million.
Kunitz, 32, has played in all four games this season for Pittsburgh, tallying one assist. Last year he had one of his best NHL seasons, ranking second on the team with 23 goals – the 2nd-highest total of his career – and adding 25 assists for 48 points in 66 games.
The 6-foot, 193-pound forward has spent the past three-plus seasons with Pittsburgh, helping the team capture the Stanley Cup in 2009. Kunitz has appeared in 140 regular-season games with Pittsburgh, totaling 99 points (43G-56A), a plus-25 rating, 12 power-play goals and two shorthanded tallies. He has 26 points (6G-20A) in 43 postseason contests.
A native of Regina, Saskatchewan, Kunitz was acquired from Anaheim on Feb. 26, 2009 with Eric Tangradi in exchange for Ryan Whitney. Kunitz finished that season with 18 points (7G-11A) in 20 regular-season games, then added 14 points (1G-13A) in 24 postseason games as the Penguins won the franchise's third Stanley Cup.
Prior to joining the Penguins, Kunitz played parts of five seasons with Anaheim, where he twice surpassed the 20-goal and 50-point plateau. His best season with the Ducks came in 2006-07 when he established career highs offensively in goals (25), assists (35) and points (60), as Anaheim won the Stanley Cup.
Overall, Kunitz has appeared in 455 career games with Pittsburgh, Anaheim and the Atlanta Thrashers since signing with Anaheim as an undrafted free agent, totaling 124 goals, 167 assists and 291 points and a plus-82 rating. He has added 42 points (10G-32A) in 78 postseason games.
As a collegian at Ferris State, Kunitz excelled during his 2002-03 senior season by garnering American Hockey Coaches Association (AHCA) All-America First-Team honors and was among the final three 2003 finalists for the Hobey Baker Memorial Award as college hockey's top 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.