Winger Chris Kunitz has signed a one year deal with the Tampa Bay Lightning after spending his last nine seasons with the Pittsburgh Penguins. The AAV for the new contract is $2 million but also has a potential $1 million in bonuses.
We have signed Chris Kunitz to a one-year contract worth $2 million. https://t.co/MJOkwN0fbv
— Tampa Bay Lightning (@TBLightning) July 1, 2017
Chris Kunitz Signs with the Tampa Bay Lightning
Kunitz was an unrestricted free agent going into this off-season. There were many questions about whether the Penguins would bring him back for another year or two since he’s been there for nine seasons. It didn’t work out that way and now he’s with Tampa Bay.
Kunitz is a former 30 goal scorer for Pittsburgh. He also went to the Olympics in 2014 when Team Canada selected him on the roster. It had a lot to do with him playing with Sidney Crosby for many of those years.
Kunitz doesn’t have that scoring touch anymore; he hasn’t had more then 20 goals in a season since 2013-2014, but he’s still a valuable player for the team. He had just nine goals and 29 points this year, but added 11 points in 20 playoff games. He ended up sending the Penguins back to the Stanley Cup Final this past year after scoring the game-winning goal in double overtime against the Ottawa Senators in the Eastern Conference Final. It was his second game-winning goal in the playoffs as a member of the Penguins.
Kunitz can still drive possession and is best suited for a bottom six role, since he’s now 37 and past his peak years. He’ll also serve as a leader for some of the younger players on the team. Signing Kunitz should be a low risk move that could produce envious rewards. Kunitz should be a great fit for Tampa Bay as he’s entering the likely final years of his career.