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Get to Know a Penguin: Tom Kuhnhackl

As part of the build-up to the second-round playoff series between the Capitals and the Penguins, Japers' Rink will be looking at some of the important but perhaps lesser-known players on the Penguins and how they might impact the series.

Photo by Patrick McDermott/NHLI via Getty Images

Tom Kuhnhackl

#34 / Right Wing / Pittsburgh Penguins

6-2 |  196 |  January 21, 1992

Landshut, Germany |  110th, 2010 (Pittsburgh)

Assets Is capable of producing offense from right in front of the net, which can take goaltenders off their game. Can take loads of punishment to score and isn't bad in his own end. Scores garbage goals.
Flaws Is somewhat prone to injury, which may limit his National Hockey League aspirations. Could stand to play a more aggressive brand of hockey.
Career Potential Depth scoring winger, when healthy.(Assets, Flaws and Career Potential via The Hockey News player page)

Career 25-Game Rolling Five-on-Five Corsi-For Percentage:

2015-16 Even-Strength Usage Chart:

PIT Usage

Why you should know who he is: He's a part of the no-name brigade of role players that has thrived under Mike Sullivan and contributed to the secondary (okay, probably tertiary) scoring that reinforced the work of the superstars you already know. Kuhnhackl had five goals and ten assists in 42 games during the regular season and chipped in with a goal and two assists in five games in round one versus the New York Rangers.

He's been playing on the Penguins fourth line alongside Matt Cullen and Bryan Rust, but don't be fooled by their minutes - that trio picked up a combined 11 points against New York. And one cool fact about Tom Kunhhackl: he's the son of Erich Kuhnhackl, who played professionally for 20 years in Germany, and in 2000 was named best German ice hockey player of the century.

How the Caps can stop him: The reality is, if the Capitals aren't stopping Tom Kuhhackl (and his linemates), they're going to be in real trouble. Any production from the young German is going to be incremental to the Penguins' lethal top two lines. Interestingly enough, in the first round the Kuhnhackl line saw the bulk of their ice in the first first round against the Derick Brassard and Rick Nash, two of New York's top forwards, and a combination of Keith Yandle, Dan Boyle, and Brady Skjei on the backend. Frankly, the Capitals don't have a combination of defenseman that have performed as poorly as New York's blueliners this season, and if top forwards such as Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, or Evgeny Kuznetsov are thinking about how to stop Tom Kuhnhackl rather than the other way around, the battle has already been lost.

Previously: Matt Murray | Patric Hornqvist | Matt Cullen