2008-09: Tom Kühnhackl played for the Landshut Cannibals in Germany's 2nd level men's league. In 42 games, Kuehnhackl scored 11 goals and added 10 assists for 21 points. In 6 playoff games for that club, he scored 1 goal.
2009-10: Spent most of the season with the Landshut Cannibals, but also saw some action in Germany's top league, the DEL. Kuehnhackl played in 38 games with the Cannibals, scoring 12 goals and adding 9 assists for 21 points. In 4 DEL games with the Augsburg Panthers, Kuehnhackl did not register a point. Played for Germany at the U-18 World Junior Championships (Group B), scoring 4 goals and 2 assists for 6 points in 5 games.
2010-11: Kuhnhackl made his North American debut with the Windsor Spitfires, where despite a slow start, he finished as one of the top players in the entire OHL. Through 63 games, he managed 39 goals and 29 assists. His performance in the playoffs for Windsor was even more impressive as he posted 11 goals and 12 assists in only 18 games. Midway through the season, the Penguins expressed their confidence in Kuhnhackl by locking him up to an entry-level deal.
2011-12: Kuhnackl had a difficult second season in junior hockey. After skating in four games with Windsor he was traded to Niagara but appeared in just 30 games for the IceDogs. He missed 20 games for a suspension on an illegal hit on Kitchener defenseman Ryan Murphy. In 34 regular season games with the two teams he scored 8 goals with 21 assists and was plus-14 with 35 penalty minutes. With several high profile prospects, the IceDogs reached the OHL finals. Kuhnhackl scored 6 goals with 5 assists and was an even plus/minus with 14 penalty minutes in 20 playoff games.
The German-born Kuhnhackl has demonstrated over his past two seasons in the OHL that he has the potential to be a complementary goal-scoring forward at the professional level. Possessing a lethal wrist shot in tight, Kuhnhackl does his best work in the slot and around the net. He is particularly competent without the puck and seems to innately find open ice and scoring lanes. Though not known for his physical play, Kuhnhackl has quickly developed the reputation as a player capable of laying a devastating, occasionally borderline body check.
Kuhnhackl is still very much a work in progress. He possesses the offensive pedigree to one day play in a top-six role at the NHL level, but has issues ranging from lack of strength to puck-protection which must be worked out before he can make that leap.
Kuhnhackl will begin (and likely spend the bulk of) the 2012-13 season playing for the Penguins AHL affiliate.