Kuhnhackl has failed to log 60 games in each of his first two seasons, and it’s unlikely that he'll break that trend during the 2017-18 campaign. A smooth skater with a nonstop motor, Kuhnhackl is the kind of guy that coaches love to deploy on the fourth line, but unfortunately for the German winger, the Pens have an abundance of similar skaters. Look for Kuhnhackl to compete for minutes with Scott Wilson and Josh Archibald; that puts a damper on his fantasy value, which would be pretty low anyway thanks to his modest offensive results in the AHL.
The pedigree is there for Kuhnhackl. His father, Erich, is considered the greatest hockey player in Germany's history. Kuhnhackl-the-younger underwent season-ending left-shoulder surgery in January, ending his first professional campaign prematurely. He totaled four points (2G, 2A) in 11 games for the Baby Pens before getting hurt. The offensive potential for Kuhnhackl as a goal scorer is obvious -- he potted 39 goals in 63 OHL games in 2010-11, he just has to stay healthy. It's a longshot, but there's a chance he could make his NHL debut as soon as 2013-14 (if he gets off to a hot start and the Pens suffer injuries to their group of forwards). Most likely, Kuhnhackl remains a year or two away from seeing action at the top level.
Kuhnhackl battled through injuries and suspensions in 2011-12. He tore up his knee in OHL competition immediately after taking part in Penguins camp. Then, in November, he was suspended for 20 games after elbowing Kitchener defenseman, Ryan Murphy. Kuhnhackl finished last year with 29 points in 34 games after collecting 68 in 63 the prior season. Despite his recent troubles, Kuhnhackl could move up the organizational ladder pretty quickly, given the paucity of offensive prospects in the Pittsburgh pipeline.
Kuhnhackl ranks as one of the top three or four Pittsburgh prospects after a junior season in which he scored 39 goals and 68 points in 63 games. The 19-year-old winger will spend another season with the Windsor Spitfires after an impressive showing over the summer in the Penguins' prospect camp. He's still several seasons away, but he's not a bad stash as a member of the offensively-oriented Penguins organization.
Kuehnhackl, Pittsburgh's No. 4 pick in the 2010 draft, will hone his offensive talent while playing for Windsor of the OHL this season. The Landshut, Germany native impressed onlookers during the prospect tournament series prior to training camp, but the 18-year-old forward won't likely make his NHL debut for at least several seasons.