Chris Kunitz of Penguins can relate to trade deadline | wholesale jerseys

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Chris Kunitz has become a beloved member of the Pittsburgh Penguins wholesale jerseys. He has helped them win the Stanley Cup twice. He has helped Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin each win the Hart Trophy as most valuable player and Art Ross Trophy as scoring champion.

The Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium paraded seven penguins into Heinz Field before the 2017 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series game against the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday. Each penguin was named for a Penguin. Of course, one was named Kunitz.

But Kunitz didn’t know that was going to happen eight years ago. All he knew was he had been traded for the first time in his NHL career.

“I mean, when you say shocked, it’s an understatement for how much your world crumbles,” Kunitz said wholesale jerseys supply.

This is something to keep in mind as the NHL Trade Deadline approaches March 1 at 3 p.m. ET. As general managers work the phones, analysts opine and speculate, and fans hope their teams improve, players and families stress.

Once an undrafted free agent out of Ferris State who had spent two years in the minors and been claimed on waivers twice, Kunitz had shown he could score in the League, proven he could play on a line with Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry, and helped the Anaheim Ducks win the Stanley Cup in 2007. He had signed a four-year contract extension. He thought he would be in Anaheim for a long time.

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But on Feb. 26, 2009, six days before the trade deadline, the Ducks sent Kunitz and forward Eric Tangradi to the Penguins for defenseman Ryan Whitney.

There was the hockey angle. Kunitz was going from one disappointing team to another. The Ducks were 10th in the Western Conference two years after winning the Cup; the Penguins were 10th in the East a year after going to the Final. He was going from a team he called “close-knit” to the unknown.

“It was kind of a shot to the ego, thinking a reason why they got rid of you is they thought the team was better,” Kunitz said. “But the other side of it was, they were trying to improve their team and had to give something up.”

Then there was the family angle. It was Kunitz’s wife’s birthday. She was 33 or 34 weeks pregnant with their first child. They had a house and a hospital, and now they had to find a new house and a new hospital hundreds of miles away.

“It kind of turned your life upside down,” Kunitz said. “But … that’s how awesome the hockey world is. You can move across the country. You can have multiple things on your mind. … Then you just jump onto a team, and there’s guys in the locker room and in management that support you and help you along. It’s not that much different from the other team. It’s just that you’re not as familiar or close with everybody.”

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Kunitz had a goal and an assist less than nhl wholesale jerseys 10 minutes into his first game with the Penguins, a 5-4 win against the Chicago Blackhawks at United Center. Soon he was on a line with Crosby and Bill Guerin, and they clicked. The Penguins went on to win the Cup that year.

“It wasn’t ever easy, but it was easier to come to a team and management and people like this and have the success we did,” Kunitz said. “It kind of numbed all that pain that you were going through.”

Kunitz went on to excel with Crosby and Malkin, and the Penguins went on to win the Cup again last year. Meanwhile, Kunitz and his wife, Maureen, went on to have three children in Pittsburgh: Zach, 7 1/2; Payton, 5 1/2; and Aubrey, 3. It feels like home.

As he has aged, Kunitz’s ice time and production have declined. He’s 37 now. His hands aren’t what they once were. He has spent time as a fourth-liner and penalty-killer this season, though he still has the speed, smarts and heart to move back up in the lineup when needed because of injuries. He scored the goal that gave Crosby his 1,000th NHL point on Feb. 16 and skated with Malkin and Phil Kessel at Heinz Field on Saturday.

“No one ever would have said, ‘You’re a first-line player,'” Kunitz said. “But I’ve been fortunate enough to play in that role for a long time, and hopefully the willingness to move up and down the lineup is something you can take farther in your career. When things aren’t going good or as smooth, or your speed dips or your hands dip or something, you can still go out and contribute to the team.”

Kunitz is in the final season of his contract wholesale best jerseys. It is uncertain whether the Penguins will bring him back, even though they love him, because of their salary-cap situation and the rise of younger players.

“Players obviously want to play as long as they can,” Kunitz said. “You never know. You’ve been fortunate enough to be in one situation and one place for a long time and have had a lot of success. My kids have been raised here and born here. But the other side is, you don’t usually get to be in one place this long for most guys. I think you always look on both sides of it. I think the future will take care of itself.”

Matt Duchene of Avalanche wholesale sports jerseys, Marc-Andre Fleury of Penguins could be moved before March 1

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The 2017 NHL Trade Deadline is 3 p.m. ET on March 1. Some prominent names already wholesale sports jerseys have been mentioned in the rumor mill, including Colorado Avalanche forward Matt Duchene, St. Louis Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk, and goaltenders Marc-Andre Fleury of the Pittsburgh Penguins and Ben Bishop of the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Here is a look at some underlying numbers for those players.

Matt Duchene, Colorado Avalanche

A frustrating season in Colorado could make general manager Joe Sakic receptive to offers for top players who wouldn’t normally be available, like Duchene, a top-six, two-way center. His contract, which expires after the 2018-19 season, has an average annual value of $6 million, according to CapFriendly.

Duchene leads the Avalanche with 106 goals, 150 assists, and 256 points in 318 games in the past five seasons. League-wide in that same span, he is tied for 25th in goals, 38th in assists, and tied for 23rd in points.

Duchene is a fast and versatile player who contributes in a number of ways beyond scoring. His faceoff winning percentage of 59.9 is second to Antoine Vermette of the Anaheim Ducks (63.6) among players to take at least 100 faceoffs. He boosts Colorado’s share of even-strength shot attempts from 45.47 percent to 48.47 when he’s on the ice wholesale jerseys supply, and he has scored 17 goals in 46 career shootout attempts.

A significant offer will still be required to acquire a player of Duchene’s credentials, but players like this don’t hit the market every day.

Marc-Andre Fleury, Pittsburgh Penguins

Experience can be a huge factor down the stretch, which is why there could be some interest in Fleury, whose 680 games played ranks fourth among active goalies, and his 100 Stanley Cup Playoff games ranks second.

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Fleury’s contract, which expires after the 2018-19 season, has an average annual value of $5.75 million. He also has a no-movement clause and modified no-trade clause.

The Penguins normally are a team that places a high emphasis on such experience, but the emergence of rookie goalie Matt Murray and the ability to protect one goalie in the NHL Expansion Draft means Fleury could be available at the trade deadline.

Increasing the likelihood of his availability is the fact that Fleury, 32, is not having his best season. His .904 save percentage is his lowest since 2005-06 (.898), and it ranks 30th among the 42 goalies to play at least 20 games this season.

Even when expanding the analysis to look at the past three seasons combined, it’s clear that Fleury no longer is among the League’s top starters. His .917 save percentage is 18th among the 58 goalies to play at least 50 games, his .924 save percentage at even strength is 22nd, and his 80 quality starts in 146 starts results in a quality start percentage of 54.8 that ranks 25th, according to Hockey-Reference.

Statistically he may be past his peak, but Fleury remains a consistent and dependable option who would represent an upgrade for several teams, and who can add experience to any two-goalie discount football jerseys wholesale tandem.

Kevin Shattenkirk, St. Louis Blues

Tremendous scoring totals could make Shattenkirk one of the most sought-after free agent defensemen in 2017, but his deployment in St. Louis introduces an element of uncertainty.

Shattenkirk is in the final season of a four-year contract with an average annual value of $4.25 million, and he can become an unrestricted free agent July 1.

There’s no question about Shattenkirk’s ability to score. His 34 points in 50 games are fifth among NHL defensemen, and his 276 points in 460 NHL games since 2010-11 is 11th. However, that offensive success might have been boosted by his deployment.

In a player usage role mastered years ago by Keith Yandle of the Florida Panthers to optimize scoring, Shattenkirk is used primarily in the offensive zone and against secondary opponents, and he is assigned more time on the power play than killing penalties.

Since it’s impossible to predict how Shattenkirk might perform in a different environment and/or in a more typical top-four role, it makes sense for an interested party to try before they buy and experiment with his usage down the stretch before making a big investment in the summer. Given that the Blues are 10-14-2 in their past 26 games, have a slim hold on the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs in the Western Conference and fired coach Ken Hitchcock on Wednesday, it’s possible they fall further in the standings and become more receptive to such trade proposals.

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Ben Bishop, Tampa Bay Lightning wholesale best jerseys

Bishop is the type of player who could solve a team’s goaltending concerns on a long-term basis, or who could serve as an invaluable rental until becoming an unrestricted free agent this summer.

He’s in the final season of a two-year contract with an average annual value of $5.95 million, and has a no-movement clause.

There is an element of risk at play, because this hasn’t been a great season for Bishop or the Lightning. His .904 save percentage is the lowest of his five seasons with Tampa Bay, and is 29th among the 42 goalies to play at least 20 games. The Lightning are six points behind the Philadelphia Flyers for the second wild card into the playoffs from the Eastern Conference after back-to-back trips to the Eastern Conference Final in 2015 and 2016.

Setting aside this season’s disappointments and judging Bishop on his three previous seasons reveals a tremendous upside. From 2013-14 to 2015-16, Bishop’s .922 save percentage ranked fifth among the 57 goalies to play at least 50 games in that span, and he was a Vezina finalist in two of those three seasons.

A deeper dive into those numbers suggests that he may not have been one of the League’s top goalies, but he was an above-average starter.

His .927 save percentage at even strength ranked 13th, but his overall numbers were boosted by a League-leading .906 save percentage against power plays. In terms of consistency, Bishop’s 108 quality starts in 182 games works out to a quality start percentage of 59.3, which ranked 14th. That may not place Bishop at the elite level, but he would be an upgrade for most NHL teams.

Five Questions with Ryan McDonagh – wholesale sports jerseys

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NHL.com‘s Q&A feature called “Five Questions With …” runs every Tuesday. We talk to key figures in the game and ask them questions to gain insight into their lives, careers and the latest news wholesale sports jerseys.

The latest edition features New York Rangers captain Ryan McDonagh:

NEW YORK — Ryan McDonagh’s minutes are up this season, and both he and the New York Rangers are thriving because of it.

McDonagh is 12th in the NHL with an average ice time of 24:36 per game, up from 22:21 last season. He is second in the League with eight assists, including at least one in a career-high seven consecutive games, the longest streak for a Rangers defenseman since Brian Leetch 20 years ago.

McDonagh has played 23 or more minutes in seven of the Rangers’ nine games (77.8 percent), with New York going 5-2-0 in those games. He played 23 or more minutes 38 of 73 games last season (52.0 percent).

“I’ve loved it so far,” McDonagh said. “Any time you get those high-minute games the plays just happen a lot quicker for you. You see the ice continually throughout the game. Your rhythm stays there the whole game. That responsibility you have playing in a lot of situations, you want to step up for your teammates and be a big part of hopefully a win. I’ve played a lot here these first few games and the body is feeling really good, and the mind is right there with it.”

It helps that the Rangers have been one of the NHL’s better possession teams this season. They are third in the League in shots on goal (31.8) and have allowed the fourth-fewest shots per game (26.0). They are 13th in even-strength shot-attempts percentage (50.95).

“We’re not spending as much time in our zone so hopefully that can continue because those are the minutes that really drag on you, when you’re defending hard,” McDonagh said. “If that continues I don’t see why those minutes will be a problem.”

McDonagh cheap wholesale soccer jerseys free shipping would love to keep playing big minutes, more than 25 per game if possible. That would seem to benefit the Rangers too considering they are 22-1-2 in games when he has played 25 or more minutes since Oct. 16, 2014. They are 2-1-0 in such games this season.

However, Rangers coach Alain Vigneault isn’t enamored with the idea of McDonagh playing 25 minutes per game. It’s fair to wonder how much longer he’ll average more than 24 minutes per game. He hasn’t gone over 23:29 in the past four games.

“I know our record is real good when he plays 25 minutes or more, but I think if you look at the 82-game schedule, how condensed it is in certain areas, I think that’s a lot of minutes for any defenseman in this league,” Vigneault said. “So I’d probably prefer to keep him around that 23-, 24-minute area. But he’s a guy that can log can tons of minutes. He’s just a horse. He loves to play. He’s a great skater. Guys that skate well can play a lot of minutes and he’s one of those guys that can do that.

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You mentioned that after the first few games that one of the best things about the start to the season is how quickly the Rangers found their identity as a speed team. What has the benefit of that been through nine games now?

“We just know what’s expected from each one of us, how you have to prepare in order to go out and execute in that fashion team-wise. We know the plays that are expected to be made and have to be made in order for us to play that style and give ourselves a good chance to win. It’s nothing fancy. It’s just a simple approach.”

Do you think this team is better than it was last season as a result?

“I would say I guess yes because of the wholesale best jerseys way this team has looked so far, the commitment we have both offensively with our speed and skill, and using that speed and skill defensively too. We’re using it both ways. You see guys having good back pressure, backchecking really well, quick to contact in our zone and able to jump on loose pucks and get going right away. With all those things I think we have a better chance of winning right now.

“A lot of the time last year we were chasing the puck. I felt like we’ve had the puck a lot more this year. At times last year it felt like we were just chasing, couldn’t sustain any offensive-zone pressure. They would make one or two plays and were out of our zone. Especially in the Pittsburgh series [Eastern Conference First Round] we weren’t able to sustain pressure or put a lot of pucks on net. So far we’ve been getting a lot of offensive looks this season. Over the course of a season it takes a lot of work and preparation to make that happen, but hopefully over the course it creates a winning record.”

Let’s talk about a few players, starting with Brady Skjei. He got some time last season, including in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, but of late he’s made some plays that stand out, including one against the Arizona Coyotes and another against the Tampa Bay Lightning that led directly to goals. What stands out to you about him?

“I think he’s just making the right reads. His strength is his skating ability and obviously he knows that. He’s a good skater. He can keep up in this league both forward and backward. When he has the puck on his stick he’s making the right reads for when it’s the right time to make a rush and create things or defensively when it’s the time to step up and be aggressive and use his skating ability there. I think he’s been real good in his reads in understanding when it’s time to be patient and when it’s time to be aggressive and make something happen. As a young player that’s a fine line. You want to go out and make an impression and gain confidence. But I think as defenseman sometimes you have to wait for it a little longer than a forward would. It’s not an easy league to break into as a defenseman. There are only six spots on most nights so the numbers are against you, and it’s obviously very tough now with the rules and speed of the game. I like the fact that he’s understanding what his strengths are early on in his career with us and finding the right time to utilize them.”

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Every time I watch Jimmy Vesey play I keep thinking he reminds me of Zach Parise and the way he plays. Is that a fair comparison?

“The biggest thing I’ve said anytime someone asks me about Jimmy is his strength on the puck. He’s strong when he has it. It’s tough to get it away from him, tough to push it off of him. One thing for sure with Zach, he’s low to the ground, and Jimmy might be taller and bigger but he seems like he’s lower to the ground and he plays like he’s underneath guys when has the puck. That’s a tough thing defensively to try to push him away from it. When you think of Zach he’s also strong on the puck, tough to get it away from him. He’s real good below the hash marks and Jimmy is displaying that. He has those cutbacks and the ability to make those little passes to support and be able to get a shot off in the tight area too, which is something Zach has made a living doing.”

Mika Zibanejad has had an impact with the Rangers so far, similar to the impact Derick Brassard had when he first arrived to New York. But how different has Zibanejad made the lineup with the impact he’s had, the skill he’s brought, the chemistry he’s had with Chris Kreider and for a few games Pavel Buchnevich, and the fact that he’s a righty too?

“It’s been huge, just that different look with wholesale cheap nhl jerseys that right-handed shot. I’ve never really played with any right-handed centers with that kind of skill besides Step [Derek Stepan]. Now we’ve got two of those guys and it gives you a totally different dimension added to our team’s offense, both power play situations and 5-on-5 stuff. His length and his reach are huge for him, passing around guys and getting to pucks. Obviously he’s a great playmaker, but he’s a threat to shoot and that makes him a dual threat. As a defenseman you know he can shoot so you may take the lane away, but then he’s passing off to someone else who is open. He’s got a great chemistry going with some guys and it’s been exciting to see. I think that size is a big advantage for him too. He uses it to protect pucks on the wall and to create space for himself. He’s gained confidence here pretty quick in understanding he’s a big part of our team.”