He just doesn’t deserve to stay. I know Lou Lamoriello and Barry Trotz love their veterans. They love guys they can trust. They love guys who’s been there, who’ve been in the trenches and will do anything they tell them to.
The issue is that Tom Kuhnhackl just isn’t any good. Sure, he’s a fast skater and is probably a good professional. And yes he has those two rings from the Pittsburgh Penguins cups. But he just doesn’t bring enough to the table.
Just look at how ‘threatening’ Kunhackl is on the ice at 5on5 (per 60).
He’s all alone down there at the south end of the ‘bad’ quadrant of the graph. He just doesn’t do anything for the Islanders. There’s just no reason to keep putting out there multiple times a season.
The 28 games he’s played this year is already too much of an outing for Tom Kuhnhackl.
He’s a replacement-level player. Meaning the Islanders could technically find any player in the AHL and plug them in Kuhnhackl’s spot and get the same level of output.
The Islanders should be able to find someone in their organization that can be a more effective 13th forward in 2020-21. Letting Kuhnhackl walk is the right thing to do.