Prior to the 2011-12 season, Pascal Dupuis had reached the 20 goal plateau in his NHL career just once as a member of the Minnesota Wild in 2002-03.

Seems like an eternity ago, right?

Ironically enough, that season signaled the beginning of the end of Pascal Dupuis time on legitimate scoring lines in the NHL.

Prior to his arrival in Pittsburgh, his time spent with the Atlanta Thrashers franchise was primarily in a third line checking role with mixed time on various special teams units.

Fast forward five years, and now the Penguins are paying 1.5 million dollars for a back to back 20 goal scorer. A far cry from the defensive oriented penalty killer most fans thought they were getting when Dupuis joined the team years ago.

For some perspective on how much scoring Pascal Dupuis has done for the Pittsburgh Penguins, take this into consideration. In his 415 games before joining the Penguins, Dupuis registered 81 total regular season goals.

In the 372 games he’s spent as a Penguin, he’s registered 94.

As of last night, Dupuis is now tied with Steven Stamkos for even strength goals for with 17 on the year. He’s reached the 20 goal plateau in only 41 games. Dupuis is tied for 10th in the NHL with 31 total even strength points. He’s been an integral part of the highest scoring line in the NHL alongside Sidney Crosby and Chris Kunitz.

Think about what Dan Bylsma wants in a forward. This system is predicated on being able to get north as quickly as possible, dumping the puck in the zone, and owning the wall. Dupuis might be the Penguins leader in that regard. Dupuis continually launching himself at Zdeno Chara every time they meet is the only evidence you need of what he’s capable of when physicality is concerned.

A closer look at Dupuis advanced stats tell you what a bargain he is at 1.5 million a year.

Dupuis is averaging 2.77 points per 60 minutes of ice time. His iFenwick (shots on goal, shots missed) leads the team at 16.190, and he’s third on the team in shooting percentage at an even 16.0.

Not bad for a guy pegged to be a third line grinder. Playing alongside Sidney Crosby certainly helps, but the absence of the Pittsburgh captain makes Dupuis goal scoring without him even more impressive.

What the future holds for Dupuis is uncertain, the Penguins certainly aren’t in a position to give him a considerable raise. But make no mistake about the impact that Pascal Dupuis has on the potential cup run the Penguins are about to embark on.