As the below infographic shows, the three have been instrumental in Pittsburgh’s recent string of quality play (and, quality results):
It’s not surprising to learn all three spent time in AHL Wilkes-Barre/Scranton this year under current Pens head coach Mike Sullivan. Sullivan, who replaced Mike Johnston as bench boss in mid-December, obviously saw something in Rust, Kuhnhackl and Wilson in the American League and correctly assumed it would translate well to the NHL level.
The trio has given a shot in the arm to Pittsburgh’s forward group — especially the bottom six — and at no time was that more evident than Sunday’s 5-3 win over the Rangers at MSG. Wilson was a scratch, but Rust and Kuhnhackl combined for three points, with both assisting on Sidney Crosby‘s empty-net marker to seal the victory.
Rust beat out Rangers d-man Dan Boyle to wave off an icing call, and Khunhackl flipped the puck back to Crosby, who deposited into the open goal.
As for the money on these extensions?