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Penguins

Penguins' 4th-line stalwart Tom Kuhnhackl 'would do whatever it takes to stay in Pittsburgh'

Chris Adamski
| Wednesday, May 9, 2018, 6:06 p.m.
The Penguins’ Tom Kuhnhackl moves the puck towards goal during their second game of the Stanley Cup Playoff inside of PPG Paints Arena on April 13, 2018.
Nate Smallwood | Tribune-Review
The Penguins’ Tom Kuhnhackl moves the puck towards goal during their second game of the Stanley Cup Playoff inside of PPG Paints Arena on April 13, 2018.

One of four season-long Penguins regulars who is set for restricted free agency this summer, fourth-line winger Tom Kuhnhackl didn't do his agent any favors in upcoming negotiations.

"I would do whatever it takes to stay in Pittsburgh," Kuhnhackl said Wednesday, "and continue to be around this great group of guys and this great organization."

During the final formal team gathering of the 2017-18 season, Kuhnhackl termed himself "100 percent" happy he's with the Penguins. A former high-scoring threat in juniors, Kuhnhackl adapted his game for the NHL into a reliable bottom-six, penalty-killing and shot-blocking presence on a championship-caliber team.

Coach Mike Sullivan game Kuhnhackl more than 11 minutes of ice time for six of the Penguins' 12 postseason games, rarely shying away from deploying him in high-leverage roles. The Penguins' 51.20 shot-attempt percentage ranked eighth among the 14 forwards the Penguins used during the playoffs.

At a salary of $625,000 this past season and not unrestricted to enter the open market, there's little reason to believe he won't be back in 2017-18.

Kuhnhackl said that while of course he'd rather be playing, he will welcome the longer offseason to heal up. He won't play for his native Germany in the World Championships as a result.

"My body is real banged up form a long last couple seasons," Kuhnhackl said, "and I would just like to heal up and just get ready for the next season."

Chris Adamski is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at cadamski@tribweb.com or via Twitter @C_AdamskiTrib.

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