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Speedy, skilled Kahun will be good fit with Pens

by Michelle Crechiolo @PensInsideScoop / Penguins Team Reporter

Dominik Kahun was at home in Munich, Germany, playing Xbox with his brother when he learned that the Chicago Blackhawks had traded him and a 2019 fifth-round draft pick to Pittsburgh in exchange for Olli Maatta on Saturday.

"First of all, I was a little surprised because I was new in the league and have never been through something like this," Kahun said. "(Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford) called me right away, and the next day some other people from Pittsburgh called me. So far from what I've heard, everything is perfect and nice. I'm very excited to join Pittsburgh."

Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan was one of those phone calls. He and Kahun had a short talk about the 23-year-old forward's role with the Pittsburgh.

"He seemed really, really nice," Kahun said. "He talked about how they want to play and Pittsburgh's style. It's a fast and skilled game they want to play. I think that would be a good fit for me. He told me all the guys in Pittsburgh know what I can do. I think I can be a good fit in that game, so I'm really excited."

What can Kahun do? Well, Rutherford described him as a speedy, versatile player capable of playing all three forward positions. Blackhawks head coach Jeremy Colliton has said Kahun is a player with a great work ethic who isn't afraid to get his nose dirty, wins lots of pucks and battles and makes plays. And Kahun agreed with those assessments.

"My skills are pretty good," Kahun said. "I'm a good skater, a fast skater. That's my game. I try to make plays with the puck, and try to help my teammates. Even if it's practice or a game I try to work as hard as possible every day."

Kahun, who originally signed with the Blackhawks as an undrafted free agent on May 21, 2018 after playing four seasons with EHC München of Germany's top professional league, is looking to build off a successful rookie campaign with Chicago.

Kahun, who played mostly right wing after spending his entire amateur career as a center, recorded 13 goals and 37 points. He did so in 82 games, one of just six rookies - along with Marcus Pettersson (84 games) - to appear in at least that many games while averaging 14:09 minutes of ice time. 

He also finished the year plus-10, which was best among all Chicago forwards and third overall on the team. Overall, he made the adjustment from Europe to North America relatively smoothly.

"I was really excited to make my dreams come true by playing in the NHL," he said. "At the start in camp it was a little weird to play on the small ice. I got used to it pretty quickly. I found my game after five games. I'm really confident in my game. I just did the things I did when I was in Germany with the international team. I tried to make plays, play a fast, skilled game. I learned a lot and I think I can play a good role in the league."

It helped that Kahun was able to watch and learn from superstars like Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews.

"They helped me a lot," Kahun said. "Obviously they're superstars. I looked up to them. Every time I sat in the locker room I watched what they're doing and just tried to learn as much as possible from them. All of them were really nice guys off the ice. They were role models for me."

He plans to do the same in Pittsburgh with superstars like Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.

"When I heard Pittsburgh Penguins, first of all I thought of Sidney Crosby and Malkin and all those superstars," Kahun said. "So I'm really excited to join and I just can't wait to see all the guys when I arrive."

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