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Pens ink Rust, Kuhnhackl, Wilson to two-year extensions

Pittsburgh Penguins v New York Rangers

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 13: Sidney Crosby #87 of the Pittsburgh Penguins (c) celebrates his empty net goal at 19:21 of the third period against the New York Rangers and is joined by Bryan Rust #17 (l) and Tom Kuhnhackl #34 (r) at Madison Square Garden on March 13, 2016 in New York City. The Penguins defeated the Rangers 4-2. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

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Pittsburgh made a pretty telling move on Monday, re-upping with a trio of young forwards: Bryan Rust, Tom Kuhnhackl and Scott Wilson all inked two-year extensions with the club, per Pens PR.

As the below infographic shows, the three have been instrumental in Pittsburgh’s recent string of quality play (and, quality results):

It’s not surprising to learn all three spent time in AHL Wilkes-Barre/Scranton this year under current Pens head coach Mike Sullivan. Sullivan, who replaced Mike Johnston as bench boss in mid-December, obviously saw something in Rust, Kuhnhackl and Wilson in the American League and correctly assumed it would translate well to the NHL level.

That something?

Energy, mostly.

The trio has given a shot in the arm to Pittsburgh’s forward group -- especially the bottom six -- and at no time was that more evident than Sunday’s 5-3 win over the Rangers at MSG. Wilson was a scratch, but Rust and Kuhnhackl combined for three points, with both assisting on Sidney Crosby’s empty-net marker to seal the victory.

Rust beat out Rangers d-man Dan Boyle to wave off an icing call, and Khunhackl flipped the puck back to Crosby, who deposited into the open goal.

As for the money on these extensions?