Everybody inside and outside the Penguins locker room moaned when Jake Guentzel got traded, and I get it. 

But Michael Bunting came the other way in that trade. He’s been a godsend. 

Bunting is Chris Kunitz Lite. He’s jumped on Evgeni Malkin’s wing, providing physicality and energy. Malkin has six goals and three assists during the Penguins’ ongoing 6-0-2 run that currently has them in a playoff berth. 

Bunting has two goals and five assists in that span, popping up to net the late winner in a 5-4 home win over Tampa Bay this past Saturday. 

But Bunting’s contributions go beyond stats. 

He’s got a simple formula: Work hard and tough down low, retrieve pucks, go to the net, keep it basic. It’s been too long since the Penguins had a winger that does all that effectively. 

Will the Penguins make the playoffs? I don’t know. 

But if the Penguins do qualify, Bunting will be a huge reason. He’s signed for two more seasons, too. At 28, he can be a building block. 

Edmonton Oilers v Pittsburgh Penguins

Photo: Justin Berl / Getty Images Sport / Getty Images

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