Tom Kuhnhackl, RW/LW
Hometown: Landshut, Germany
Drafted: 2010 by Pittsburgh, 110th overall
February 2018 – Almost ready to return from a lower-body injury, the hard-working, physical German is a good bet to cling to an NHL job at the bottom of a crowded crop of forwards. Once Derick Brassard arrives to take the third-line center role and push Riley Sheahan down a line, that leaves several players competing for bottom-line winger duties. With the trade of RW Ryan Reaves and demotion of skilled forward Dominik Simon, the 6-2, 196-pound Kühnhackl and Carter Rowney will likely join Sheahan as an effective, experienced No. 4 trio. Mark Allan
January 2018 – Averaging just 10:26 TOI, the durable and loyal foot soldier does the dirty work on Pittsburgh’s fourth line without taking stupid penalties (just six PIMs). Besides two goals and five assists in 46 games, he averages about one SOG per game, has an assist each on the PP and SH, one GWG, 105 hits and 39 blocks. He’s the kind of player every championship team needs, but is fantasy-worthy only in deep pools that include peripheral cats. Mark Allan
October 2017 – The 25-year-old German winger is plugging away on Pittsburgh’s fourth line with Carter Rowney and tough guy Ryan Reaves. A good-skating, hard-shooting, eager-hitting depth player, Kϋhnhackl got into all of the Penguins’ first six games two assists, 11 hits, four blocks and is plus-1. Improbably, he registered PP and SH assists (he’s on the second PK unit). He’ll surprise you with the odd contribution; just don’t expect much. Mark Allan
June 2017 – The husky German put up numbers (4 Gs, 12 As, plus-8) comparable to last season’s stats with Pittsburgh, albeit in 15 more games. While he was often a healthy scratch, that’s due more to Pittsburgh’s abundance of NHL-caliber forwards rather than his lack of value to the team. Never mistaken for Evgeni Malkin, Kühnhackl is a valuable bottom-six presence whose steady two-way physical play discourages opponents and complements linemates with timely secondary scoring. Mark Allan
February 2017 – Kühnhackl's status with the Penguins has slipped a notch or two since his strong second half and Stanley Cup champion playoff contributions last season. The burly German has been a healthy scratch for the past several games in spite of injuries to Conor Sheary, Carl Hagelin, Matt Cullen and Evgeni Malkin. Career AHLer Carter Rowney was called up and is playing while Kühnhackl sits. Kühnhackl remains a useful two-way, bottom-six asset but the competition is fierce for playing time among the Penguins' legion of NHL-calibre forwards. Mark Allan
January 2017 – Things aren't going nearly as well for the husky, physical winger as when he had a regular fourth-line gig during Pittsburgh's unstoppale Cup run. Often a healthy scratch this season and sidelined for almost a month by a lower-body injury, the German native has a mere five points in 24 games. You don't expect much offense from depth forwards and he is plus-5 but Kühnhackl is having trouble carving out icetime from the Penguins' deep and talented pool of forwards. Mark Allan
October 2016 – The sturdy German is not guaranteed a spot on the Penguins' opening-day roster but, based on the fact he's survived each round of cuts after five exhibition games and how effective a penalty-killer he was last season, he's a good bet to land a gig on Pittsburgh's fourth line, likely with vets Matt Cullen and Eric Fehr. Again based on last season (15 points in 42 games), Kühnhackl can be expected to contribute some offense. Mark Allan
June 2016 – As one of the productive prospects who energized the Penguins in their resurgent second half and triumphant Cup run, the husky German willingly filled his bottom-six role, following 15 points in 23 AHL games with the same number of points in a successful 42-game NHL audition, then adding five points in 24 Stanley Cup contests. Beyond the points, Kühnhackl was praised for his defensive work by GM Jim Rutherford, who offered a two-year extension. Assuming he doesn't lose his blue-collar work ethic during off-season celebrations, Kühnhackl seems assured of a bottom-six role with Pittsburgh next season. Mark Allan
April 2016 – Kühnhackl as well as fellow forward prospects Bryan Rust and Scott Wilson signed two-year contract extensions on the same day. Praising the German native for his sound defensive play, and avoiding RFA status in the off-season, GM Jim Rutherford inked Kühnhackl to a deal with an average annual value of $625,000. Getting third-line minutes in the season's second half, Kühnhackl contributed speed, energy, hard work and secondary scoring as the Penguins earned a playoff berth. The 24-year-old son of legendary German superstar Erich Kühnhackl has earned NHL playing time with determination and persistence, working his way up from the ECHL through the AHL. Mark Allan
March 2016 – Playing for a contract while GM Jim Rutherford is in the mood to sign prospects, the soon-to-be RFA had the best game of his brief NHL career and enhanced Pittsburgh's playoff hopes in an impressive 6-2 drubbing of the powerful Washington Capitals. Combining with third-line mates Matt Cullen and fellow prospect Bryan Rust, the 21-year-old German scored the winning goal and added two assists. He demonstrated patience, hockey IQ and soft hands on both of his assists. Kuhnhackl's goal was the first of four unanswered scores that put away the Caps. He has just three goals and nine points in 32 NHL games but is visibly gaining coinfidence and realizing he can play in the NHL. Mark Allan
November 2015 – After missing the first four games due to injury, the German native produced at a point-per-game pace in the next nine. His four goals flow from an unsupportable 30.8 shooting percentage on just nine shots. He's could maintain or even hike his plus-9 rating as he's off to a great start in what could be his best AHL season yet. Mark Allan
October 2015 – Kuhnhackl has an unspecified injury. Already a longshot to make the NHL roster, he cannot afford any setbacks. Mark Allan
September 2015 – Kühnhackl assisted on Pittsburgh's lone goal in a 6-1 pre-season loss to the Red Wings. He registered four shots on goal and two hits in just 14:01 on the ice, but has to do more to avoid relegation to the AHL. Mark Allan
December 2014 – In 24 AHL games this season, the German-born winger has only pedestrian stats with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton – two goals and three assists with a plus-4 rating. Those numbers are consistent with two previous AHL campaigns, although at least he has been durable so far, avoiding the sort of injury requiring shoulder surgery that ended his first pro season after only 11 games. Gifted with a potent wrist shot and good instincts, he has a good hockey pedigree as the son of Erich Kühnhackl, regarded as the best hockey player in German history. The younger Kühnhackl cannot rely on family history to make it to the best league in the world. Mark Allan
October, 2013 - Kuhnhackl's main goal for this season is to stay healthy, and get pro experience. Tom will also look to cement a spot on his team's top-six, where he can fully put his offensive skill-set to use. Right now, durability and experience is all that is holding him back. Seth Brisendine
April, 2012- Kuhnhackl made a shrewd decision coming over to the OHL season from Germany, which is not a hockey hotbed for NHL talent. He adjusted quickly, posting 68 points in 63 games during the regular season and 23 points in 18 playoff games for the Windsor Spitfires. He has a heavy shot and understands a lot of the nuances of the hockey better than most of his peers globally. Kuhnhackl does have a seldom seen edge to his game, as evidenced by his hit on Ryan Murphy, which earned a 20-game suspension during his second game with the Niagara IceDogs in November 2011. After he returned to the IceDogs, he posted a little less than a point per game pace. Kuhnackl will turn pro and spend some time in the Penguins’ minor league system. Kuhnhackl could land a spot in the long term to play with one of Pittsburgh’s marquee centers but is still likely three years or more away from that possibility. Still has room to grow and could end up in a wide range of roles.
Fantasy Outlook: C-
Good shooter, skater and physical presence. Should have a long NHL career in a two-way, bottom-six role, although the competition for playing time in Pittsburgh is fierce.
His first NHL goal:
Kühnhackl with the Windsor Spitfires finding the puck to defeat the Erie Otters:
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