When Mike Rupp signed his 1.65M/2yr deal with the Pittsburgh Penguins this past off season GM Ray Shero thought he was bringing in a 4th line forward with a solid physical presence. He surely got that. What he didn’t bank on was that once the shackles of New Jersey’s trap were removed from Rupp’s wrists, he would begin to score goals.
Boy has he. Through 31 games Monday night Rupp has 9G and 3A for 12P. If you want to talk scary that puts Mike on pace for 23G and 8A for 31P. He’s only seen that kind of success twice. Once in the AHL with Albany and the other was in Juniors with Erie. 31 Games in, and this is Rupper’s best offensive season by far. If you want to talk scary, have a look at this. Yeah Mike is THIRD in the LEAGUE in shooting percentage. And this isn’t some fluke I’ve scored once on four shots. 39 Shots is a decent number for a 4th line forward. He’s 11th on the team in shots. This is not a ghost stat by any means. Rupp has seen some time with Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin and when he has seen that time, he has scored points with a solid set up man next to him.
You ready for double scary? He is SECOND on the team in goals scored this as of this morning. His marker last night in the loss to Carolina put him in front of Malkin and everyone else except Sid with nine. So this is what I propose. Mike deserves a little more TOI/G than the 9:26 he is currently getting. When Pascal Dupis came on and started putting in goals, Head Coach Dan Bylsma wisely moved him up from the 4 line for solid minutes on the top two lines. It’s time to do some of the same for Rupp. He is deceivingly young at 29 years old (1/13/80) and his level of play thus far this year should now merit him some solid wing time with Malkin for sure and sometimes with Sid. I have nothing against Ruslan Fedotenko, but Tenks is off right now and HCDB has been playing him hoping he is due. Maybe a reduction in ice time is what will jar Feds a little. Hand some of his minutes to Rupp who is taking care of business right now.
Rupp is far and away the best off season move made by the Penguins and its time his solid play was rewarded with increasing play time. He is quickly endearing himself to the fans as a favorite with how he has played the game this year for the Pens. It’s amazing what a change in systems has done for the guy. Lets see what happens with more opportunities.
Also in from things that are scary. Rupp is one of four Pens ranking in the top 20 in the NHL in hits: Brooks Orpik (91 hits, 7th); Craig Adams (86, 13th); Matt Cooke (85, 15th); Mike Rupp (82, 19th).