Pascal Dupuis, Sidney Crosby

Bylsma on Dupuis: “He’s been outstanding in a lot of different roles for us”


On a star-studded Penguins team featuring the likes of Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, James Neal, Kris Letang and Marc-Andre Fleury, it’s easy to overlook a guy like Pascal Dupuis.

One guy not guilty of that? Pittsburgh’s head coach, Dan Bylsma.

“He’s been outstanding in a lot of different roles for us,” Bylsma told the Canadian Press. “He’s turned himself into a leader in how we play.”

Dupuis, 32, is playing arguably the best hockey of his his 11-year NHL career. He’s scored a career-high 23 goals, is two assists shy of tying his career-high in assists (28) and recently set — yep, you guessed it — a career-high in points, with 50.

The personal benchmarks are great, but what might be most impressive are Dupuis’ game-winning goals. He’s scored eight this season, tying him for fifth in the NHL, ahead of All-Star snipers like Marian Gaborik, Jamie Benn, Daniel Sedin and Corey Perry.

Amazingly, he’s just one back of Evgeni Malkin for the team lead.

“That’s a career let alone one season,” Bylsma said.

But for all of Dupuis’ statistical accomplishments, his biggest contribution is versatility. He started the season playing alongside Malkin and Chris Kunitz before switching roles to skate with Crosby when No. 87 made a brief return in November.

When Crosby went back on the shelf, Dupuis was put on a line with Jordan Staal and Steve Sullivan — and all they’ve done lately is combine for 15 goals during Pittsburgh’s recent 11-game winning streak.

“We have a little bit of everything on that line,” Dupuis said. “Jordan can do anything. Steve is really poised, really patient. It seems to be working.”

Dupuis is just one of several Penguins enjoying a renaissance year. Matt Cooke’s scored a career-high 19 goals, Sullivan has his highest point total since 2006-07 and Staal has more power play goals than the last two seasons combined.

Flames release Ryan Wilson from PTO

Ryan Wilson, Sidney Crosby
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The Calgary Flames have released Ryan Wilson from his professional tryout.

The 28-year-old was trying to make a comeback after missing 79 games with a shoulder injury last season.

Even with T.J. Brodie sidelined because of a broken hand, Wilson still faced long odds to make the final roster.

The veteran will be hard-pressed to find NHL work with another team.

He hasn’t suited up in more than 12 regular season games since 2011-12.

The Stockton Heat, Calgary’s AHL affiliate, also made some news on Sunday.

The club announced that they’ve signed Colton Orr to an AHL contract.

The 33-year-old tough guy suited up in just one game for the Toronto Maple Leafs last season. He has 12 seasons of NHL experience under his belt.

‘Yotes return Dylan Strome to OHL

Dylan Strome, Nikita Nikitin

The Arizona Coyotes have returned Dylan Strome to the Erie Otters of the OHL.

Strome, 18, was the third overall pick in the 2015 NHL draft.

The 6’3, 185 pounder was hoping to stick with the Coyotes this season, but the team decided to take the conservative approach with their top prospect.

Strome will look to build off an incredible junior season that saw him score 45 goals and 129 points in 68 games.

Strome seems to be taking the demotion in stride.

The team also announced that they’ve assigned goaltender Louis Domingue and forward Matthias Plachta to their AHL affiliate in Springfield.

Domingue, 23, had a 1-2-1 record with a 2.73 goals-against-average and a .911 save percentage in seven games last season.

Plachta, a free agent signing, will begin his first pro season in North America. The 24-year-old had 14 goals and 35 points in the German League last season.