Originally posted on Puck Drunk Love  |  Last updated 3/5/13
Don't look now, but Chris Kunitz is quietly having an MVP season out in Pittsburgh. If that sentence takes you by surprise, you might be among the large percentage of hockey fans that have failed to take notice of  Kunitz's incredible work to date in 2013. It's really no surprise Kunitz's success has been mostly covered up in the NHL. Amidst Chicago's ridiculous streak and fellow teammates Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin scoring goals that seemingly break the laws of physics, there just hasn't been time to cover just how good he has been this season.  You might be asking how much of Kunitz's success can be directly tied to playing with Corsby and Malkin, two of the best players in the NHL? The short answer is plenty, but don't let that fact deter you from Kunitz's wealth of accomplishments.  Through 23 games, Kunitz has scored 12 goals and 16 assists for a total of 28 points. He ranks 5th in the NHL in goals scored and is tied for third with Martin St. Louis in total points, sitting behind Sidney Crosby and Steven Stamkos. These numbers alone should be worthy of Kunitz receiving plenty of coverage by hockey analysts across the country, especially when you consider that at age 33 he has taken his game to an entirely new level. In 2011-12, Kunitz had a career season. He scored 26 goals, added 35 assists and finished with a career-high 61 points. Remarkably, Kunitz might approach these totals again in 2013 during an abbreviated 48-game season.  Kunitz is currently carrying a shooting percentage of 24.5%. That's a ridiculous number. For his career, Kunitz has a 12.7% success rate on his shots, a number he has nearly doubled in 2013. Is this due to the passes he's receiving from his immensely talented teammates, a factor of good luck, or is it just Kunitz showing off some immense skill when he fires the puck? The answer is a combination of the three. While Kunitz benefits from some outstanding talent around him and he has had some bounces go his way, give the man credit for knowing how to bury the puck when given the opportunity. His shooting percentage is currently one of the best in the NHL, and while it may trail off, his ability to bury the puck when it's on his stick is worthy of considering him one of the league's best stories. The other aspect of Chris Kunitz you need to consider is the fact he shows up on defense and in the gritty areas of the ice. He currently leads the NHL with a +17. While you never should make too big of a deal out of a stat like plus/minus, Kunitz leading the NHL demonstrates that he's not just scoring goals but also getting back on defense to make sure the opponent isn't lighting the lamp. He's even better on the road in terms of two-way play, as seen in his +6 at home and +11 on the road. By comparison, Sidney Crosby is +7 at home and +4 on the road for an overall plus/minus of +11.  Further supporting his +/- statistic is his 57 hits, a number that places him tied for 22nd in the NHL. Clearly, he doesn't mind throwing his body around to disrupt the opponent.  This is one player you should be watching. While it's highly unlikely you'll see Kunitz beat out other NHL stars, even ones on his own team, for an MVP trophy, his body of work deserves to be in the conversation.  [follow]
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Celtics could offer best deal for Dwight Howard

Hawks 'taking phone calls about everybody on the roster'

Philly mayor calls LeSean McCoy ‘cowardly'

Report: Price might not return this season due to knee injury

Matt Forte confirms he won’t be returning to Bears

Cardinals GM: ‘No doubt’ team wants Mathieu as fixture

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Charles Barkley on Stephen Curry: ‘He’s just a great shooter’

Louisiana governor warns that LSU football could be cut

Report: People with Warriors think they will get Durant

Joe Thomas: It’s a ‘sad end’ to Manziel story in Cleveland

DeMar DeRozan: It will be ‘pretty tough’ for me to leave Raptors

Super Bowl referee says Cotchery play could have been a catch

Ciara: It’s getting harder to stay abstinent with Russell Wilson

The top five millennial NBA All-Star moments

Cam Newton sends message with ‘I win my way’ shirt

26% of Denver students skipped school for Broncos parade

Eight surprises, letdowns entering NBA All-Star break

Chris Harris: Von Miller should get paid more than JJ Watt

4 likeliest Dwight Howard trade scenarios

On Kobe Bryant and taking greatness for granted

Penn State the latest to offer generic football jerseys for sale

Gary Bettman praises the NHL’s new website and app (which are currently awful)

Bucks need to choose between wins, development

NBA to weigh adding advertisements to jerseys

ESPN, Stephen A. Smith and Little League International sued by parents of Jackie Robinson West

NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

On Kobe Bryant and taking greatness for granted

Bucks need to choose between wins, development

Fantasy booking WrestleMania 32

Unrestricted free agents each team must consider re-signing

QUIZ: Name the winners of the NBA Slam Dunk Contest

Thank you Daniel Bryan

The timeless greatness of Jaromir Jagr

The NCAAB power rankings

Report: Kings to keep coach George Karl

Was Alain Vigneault right about NHL's lack of punishment towards Wayne Simmonds?

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker