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Butler, PA • United States • 28 Years Old • Male
Who are the greatest Penguins blue-liners of all time? You'd probably say Paul Coffey, Larry Murphy, or Randy Carlyle. Maybe more recent players make your list like Kris Letang, Brooks Orpik or Rob Scuderi. But what about D!ck Tarnstrom? What if I told you that Tarnstrom accomplished something that none of the previously mentioned players ever did? In 2003-04, D!ck Tarnstrom become the first and only defensemen in Penguins history to lead the team in points during the regular season.


Ok, so maybe Tarnstrom wouldn't (and probably shouldn't) crack the top 10 among all time Pens D-Men, but the fact remains, for a brief time in the Pre-Sidney Crosby era, he was arguably the team's best player and holds a record that none of the other greats can claim.

Tarnstrom, an 11th round selection (272nd overall) of the New York Islanders, joined the Pens in 2002-03 and racked up a respectable 28 goals, 75 assists, and 103 points in 174 regular season games with the 'guins. In his trademark season, Tarnstrom's 52 points ranked 6th among NHL defensemen, only 6 behind league leader , Sergei Gonchar, and 2 behind eventual Norris Trophy winner, Scott Neidermayer. Despite the team's lackluster performance that season, Tarnstrom and defense partner, Ric Jackman, represented a legit NHL powerplay presence.

Tarnstrom was dealt on January 26, 2006 to Edmonton for Cory Cross, and Jani Rita, reaching the Stanley Cup Finals with the Cinderella Oilers that spring. After playing in Sweden in 2006-07, he returned to the NHL with the Oilers and Blue Jackets, before departing for the Swedish Elite League for good in 2008, where he continues to play for AIK.

While Tarnstrom may not go as down one of the greatest defensemen in Penguins' history, he will be forever remembered for his one record setting season, and for that, Penguins' fans salute him!
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