If there’s one guy on the Penguins’ roster that the Jags like to abuse on our site it’s Pascal Dupuis. You were probably thinking Tyler Kennedy, but we don’t make fun of him – we just point out that he’s terrible. Dupuis, is a different story; he’s not awful, he just makes some really ugly looking plays here and there…and there. He’s an easy target…and we love anythin that’s easy.
Duper is not overpaid and he’s not overrated, he’s usually just there on Sidney Crosby’s wing and we could never figure out why. Well, apparently some of our loyal readers don’t share the same “Pooper Duper” label that we’ve given Dupuis.
And this year, now that Duper is 32, we’re finally starting to see why some people don’t hate on him the way we do. At 32, most guys have long been type-cast as a sniper, playmaker or grinder, but after 10 years in the league, Dupuis still doesn’t fit any of those roles. That’s what makes him Super Duper.
Let’s be real, the main reason Dupuis caught our attention is because he’s posting career highs nine years after he set them. We have no idea what he did in the offseason but whatever it was it sure as hell worked because we’re making fun of him less now than we did when the Pens got him as baggage in the Marian Hossa deal.
Back when Duper was a 25-year-old for hte Wild it took him 80 games to net 20 goals and he didn’t get his last one until Game 79. So far this year, he already has a new high of 22 and there’s still nine games to go – and that’s with zippie power play time. He only needs three more assits and one more point to notch new career highs in those categories too, and unless he’s the next victim of ConcussionGate there’s no reason to think he won’t get both. Hell, he should have the highest point total of his career by the end of the weekend.
But it’s not just the fact that he’s scoring goals, it’s the fact that he’s converting on the chances he has to score goals. Ever since he came to the Burgh, Duper’s been notorious for fanning on wide open nets that Sid’s set him up for, and the only upside to his offense is the cannon he used to unleash on the rush just inside the blueline.
In his first three full seasons with the Pens, Duper averaged 157 shots on goal and he was hitting the back of the net on just 10% of those shots. Shooting percentage doesn’t mean a whole lot in hockey but when you look at the chances he converted to the chances he missed, it was kind of sad. But this year, not only has he shattered his old career high of 183 shots with 192 so far, he’s shooting at a career high 11.5%, which has also helped him set a new career best with 7 game winners (his old high was 5). And seriously, when’s the last time we saw him crank a long-distance slapper?
Some of Dupuis’ success comes from Dan Bylsma being an awesome coach and knowing how to use his talent but at some point we just have to give Duper some credit. Last year, you could say Duper scored 17 goals because the Pens were missing Sid, Geno and Staal pretty much all year, so someone had to score besides TK. And prior to 2011, Dupuis won the lottery and got to be Sid’s wing, and who couldn’t score 18 when 87 is setting you up?
But this year, with Geno and James Neal rolling harder than Limp Bizkit, there almost shouldn’t be enough goals to go around but Dupuis still third on the team. Geno and Neal have had each others’ backs all year but Duper has been mixed in everywhere from Line 1 to 3 and he’s seen just about every other Pen on the ice with him at some point…but he’s still contributing.
That’s why Bylsma has so much trust in Duper. Bylsma has always seemed to have favored him – why else would he stick him on Sid’s wing when he’s was a third-line guy in Atlanta – but this year Duper is getting more ice time (17:08 minutes per game) than he has since before he could grow a terrorist beard.
And if Bylsma and the Pens can trust Dupuis, I think we can too. But that doesn’t mean we’re still not going to roast him every time he misses a gaping net.