This article is the second in a series ranking all Penguins throughout history from different countries. Some lists will rank just the top 10, due to the number of players from those countries. Today, we continue by ranking all Penguins players from Germany.
There have been five German players to suit up for the Penguins in their history -- one goaltender, two defensemen and two forwards.
For this exercise, players are classified by where they grew up. So, Randy Gilhen, who was born in Germany but grew up in Canada, doesn't count here. Dominik Kahun was born in the Czech Republic but grew up in Germany and represents the German national team. Although he is German, he hasn't played a game for the Penguins yet, so he also isn't a part of this list.
Let's see how the German Penguins rank, not necessarily in terms of overall skill, but more so by their impact on the Penguins during their time in Pittsburgh.
5. SVEN BUTENSCHON
Butenschon was the Penguins' third-round pick in 1994. He actually played the most seasons of any German Penguin, at four, from 1997-2001. He spent most of that time in the AHL though, and only played 33 total games with the Penguins during that time, recording one assist and a minus-4 rating.
Butenschon did make an impact in Wilkes-Barre, at least. He played 130 games over the franchise's inaugural two seasons, and scored 26 goals and 49 assists. He served as captain in 2000-01, the team's second season. The Penguins traded him to the Oilers for Dan LaCouture in March 2001.
Butenschon, now 43, retired from professional hockey in 2013 after spending his final seven seasons in the German DEL. He's been the head coach of the University of British Columbia since 2016.
4. THOMAS GREISS
Greiss was Marc-Andre Fleury's backup for the 2014-15 season. Greiss appeared in 20 games that season, compiling a 9-6-3 record, 2.59 goals-against average, and a .908 save percentage.
Greiss signed with the Islanders the following season and has been there ever since.
3. MARCEL GOC
The Penguins acquired Goc from the Panthers in March 2014, in exchange for a 2014 fifth-round pick and a 2015 third-round pick. Goc played in 12 games to finish the season, recording just two assists. He registered one assist in nine playoff games that season.
Goc's production never picked up in the 2014-15 season, and by January he had only scored two goals and four assists in 43 games. The Penguins traded Goc to the Blues in January 2015 for Maxim Lapierre. Goc finished the season with the Blues, then returned to Germany the following season with his DEL club Adler Mannheim. Goc, 35, has played with Adler for the past four seasons and is under contract with them for 2019-20. He won Olympic silver with Germany in 2018.
2. CHRISTIAN EHRHOFF
Ehrhoff's time in Pittsburgh was brief. The Penguins signed him to a one-year contract for the 2014-15 season, but he was limited to just 49 regular season games and no playoff games after suffering two concussions during the season.
When Ehrhoff was healthy, he performed well. He scored three goals and 11 assists, and registered a plus-8 rating, usually paired with either Paul Martin or Olli Maatta.
Ehrhoff signed with the Kings for the 2015-16 season. He was traded to the Blackhawks in February 2016, where he finished his NHL career. He returned to Germany the following season, spending two years with the Kolner Haie and winning a silver medal in the 2018 Olympics, then retired from professional hockey at age 36.
1. TOM KUHNHACKL
Kuhnhackl played more games (168), scored more goals (11), and more assists (28) than any other German Penguin. He's an easy choice for the No. 1 spot.
Kuhnhackl was a valuable addition to the Penguins’ penalty kill, was reliable defensively, and one of the team’s best shot-blockers during the 2016 and 2017 Stanley Cup runs. He's the only German Penguin to win a Stanley Cup, and he did it twice.
Kuhnhackl became the third German player to win the Stanley Cup (after Uwe Krupp and Dennis Seidenberg), and is one of only two German players to win multiple Stanley Cups (the other being Krupp). He was the first player to ever bring the Stanley Cup to Germany, when he did it in 2016 for a rally in his hometown of Landshut.
— IIHF (@IIHFHockey) August 16, 2016
Tom's father, Erich, is the greatest German hockey player of all-time. Erich summed up pretty well what Tom's NHL success meant on Tom's day with the Cup in 2016.
"In the past all have said, this is the son of Erich. Now everyone says I am the father of Tom. That’s nice."
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