NHL NEWS & NOTES
Kunitz named NHL second star of the week: For the week ending February 3rd, Penguins left winger Chris Kunitz was named the NHL’s second star, the league announced today. Thomas Vanek took home the No. 1 star and Roberto Luongo was named No. 3 star of the week. Kunitz tallied eight points (five goals, three assists) in four games, including a pair of game-winning goals, as the Penguins (6-3-0) won three of four games to take the Atlantic Division lead. Kunitz recorded one assist in a 4-1 loss to the New York Islanders Jan. 29, tallied one goal, two assists and a +4 rating in a 5-1 win over the New Jersey Devils Feb. 2 and he finished the week with the first four-goal game of his NHL career on four shots in a 6-3 victory over the Washington Capitals Feb. 3. Kunitz has a club-leading six goals in nine games this season.
Rupp traded to Minnesota: Former Penguin Mike Rupp has been traded to Minnesota. The Wild sent forward Darroll Powe and minor-league forward Nick Palmieri to the Rangers in exchange for Rupp.
It’s pretty much a role player for role player swap addressing needs for both teams. The Wild looking to get bigger and tougher upfront, address that need with Rupp who is also an excellent fit in the locker room. The Rangers looking to add more versatility on the 4th line, get that with Powe who adds speed and is a gritty forward that makes the Rangers a quicker team and he can also be a factor on the penalty kill. Powe blocked 91 shots last season, which ranked second among forwards.
I like this deal for the Rangers as it’s been evident against teams like Pittsburgh they’ve lacked speed on their third and fourth lines. The Rangers are also bringing up 2011 1st round pick JT Miller who has the potential to become a good all around NHL player. As for Rupp, he’s in the second year of a three year deal worth $4.5 million, carrying a $1.5 million cap hit. There had been some chatter the Rangers have felt Rupp’s knee’s are wearing down and that might have been another reason they were looking to move him.