With a larger role and increased ice time, Kennedy for sure showed what he could do with his talents. He went on to produce the best season of his NHL career – setting career highs in games played (80), minutes per game (14:31), goals (21), assists (24), points (45), power-play goals (7) and shots (234).
“I thought at the beginning of the year I had a pretty good year,” Kennedy said. “I thought I played pretty well the second part of the year, too. I was given a great opportunity, and I thought I did well.”
“Tyler made significant strides this year and really stepped up,” head coach Dan Bylsma said. “He’s a guy who added a punch to our offense. He’s an energy guy, a speed guy. He drives our team somewhat with the drive and energy with which he plays. He’s a tenacious player.”
Kennedy, 24, used the extra minutes to unleash his shot at every opportunity - finishing second on the team in shots. The effort helped him record his first 20-goal season in the NHL and grow into a dangerous scoring threat on the power play. Kennedy even iced Pittsburgh’s 3-2 victory at Colorado with an overtime power-play tally.
“This year he had the opportunity to score more goals, and you saw him score power-play goals,” Bylsma said. “He got that opportunity from the injury situations we had, but he also delivered in those areas. It seems like he’s a guy that will be on the power play in some aspect next season, which is something you may not have thought about Tyler Kennedy
going into last season.
“It’s a considerable step up for Tyler and his position. He started the last two seasons in training camp on a second line and that’s a top-six forward role. It looks like that’s where he’s moved himself to.”
Kennedy, Pittsburgh's fourth-round pick (99th overall) in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft, is a restricted free agent this summer. The Penguins must extend a qualifying offer to Kennedy in order to retain his negotiating rights. If a qualifying offer is made and Kennedy rejects it, he or the team can file for salary arbitration to settle any contract disputes.
But Kennedy was adamant about what he would like to see happen in the future.
“Hopefully I sign back,” he said. “I love Pittsburgh and I want to be back.”
Finished second on team with two goals ... His two goals were critical as one was a power-play tally (Game 4) and the other was a game-winning goal (Game 3) ... Added an assist for three points in seven games ... Recorded a team-high 33 shots. .2010-11 REGULAR SEASON:
Finished his best season as a pro, setting new career highs in games played (80), goals (21), assists (24), points (45) and power-play goals (7) ... Topped 20 goals for first time in career ... His 21 goals ranked fourth on team ... Hit double digits in goals for the fourth straight season ... Ranked second on the team with 234 shots ... Scored the first Penguin goal at CONSOL Energy Center 44 seconds into the third period Oct. 7 vs. Philadelphia ... Notched 100th career NHL point (assist) Jan. 18 vs. Detroit.
|GP ||G ||A ||P ||PIM ||+/- ||PP ||S |
|80 ||21 ||24 ||45 ||45 ||1 ||7 ||234 |
|GP ||G ||A ||P ||PIM ||+/- ||PP ||S |
|7 ||2 ||1 ||3 ||2 ||- ||1 ||33 |
Click here to view the full photo gallery of Tyler Kennedy during the 2010-11 season!
Below is the full transcript of Tyler Kennedy's chat with the media on the Penguins' locker cleanout day on April 29.
On if it's hard to believe the season is over:
Yeah, We made huge steps with the guys we had in here, and it's still pretty sour in our stomachs.
On how he feels about his series vs. Tampa Bay:
I thought I played well, but obviously you want to score a little bit more. I thought I had a lot of good chances in Game 7, but couldn't find the back of the net.
On if the organization needs to try and keep some of the free agents here:
Yeah, I think so. I think the guys in here are great hockey players, and that's why they're here. That's why (general manager) Ray (Shero) got them. But it's up to Ray, and we'll see.
On how he would assess his season:
I thought at the beginning of the year I had a pretty good year. I thought I played pretty well the second part of the year. I was given a great opportunity, and I thought I did well.
On how the team came together without Crosby and Malkin at the end:
A lot of guys stepped up and we have great leadership in here with some of the older guys. It just shows that we have a character team here.
On what he thinks will happen with him contractually:
Hopefully, I sign back. I love Pittsburgh and I want to be back.
Author: Sam Kasan