The 2013 season of Chris Kunitz was a career year for him. Playing next to Sidney Crosby all year, the Pittsburgh Penguins forward reaped the benefits of playing next to the best player on the planet, leading him to a career season in multiple ways.
In the shortened season, Kunitz finished with over a point per game for the first time in his career. He went for 52 points in appearing in all 48 games, finishing among the league leaders in most offensive categories. He potted 22 goals, just four shy of his career high in the shortened season, and 30 assists, which were only five short of his career mark.
The question is whether or not he can do it again in 2013-14. After all, when a veteran player comes out with a season like that, even if he was a solid player before that point, the natural thing is to expect a regression in the following season. Is that going to be the case heading into the new season?
It’s possible that we could see a regression. In a full 82-game schedule, it might be unreasonable to expect Kunitz finish with more than a point per game. However, considering who he’ll be playing next to, it’s also easy to expect him to have another outstanding season in Pittsburgh.
Playing next to Sidney Crosby, who was completely healthy this season for the first time in a few years, Kunitz was terrific. When you have one of the greatest players to step on the ice to your right, you’re going to post terrific numbers. He could very well be at least a 70-point guy in an 82-game season, which would be a career best for him.
Kunitz isn’t an elite player, but as long as he’s playing next to Sidney Crosby, he’s going to put up great numbers. He’ll likely take a step back in his point-per-game figures, but another season in which he posts career numbers wouldn’t be much of a surprise at all, after what he did in 2013.