Tyler Kennedy played four good years in the OHL with the Sault St. Marie Greyhounds. Kennedy has improved steadily over the years, and is known for his excellent passing and vision as well as playing with a big heart.
His effort as captain of the struggling Greyhounds did not go unnoticed, with Kennedy earning a selection in the OHL All-Star game as well as being named in the OHL Coaches Poll as the league’s hardest working player. His skill on faceoffs was also noted, finishing second in that category.
Kennedy was chosen in the fourth round, 99th overall, of the 2004 NHL Draft by the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Signed with the Penguins in 2006.
2007-08: The energetic forward was called up two days after Max Talbot suffered an ankle injury from an Ian White hit on October 25th. Kennedy played his first game that night, a shootout loss against the Montreal Canadiens. He put up 10 points, including 6 goals in his first 19 games with the Penguins before dropping off and eventually being put on injured reserve with mononucleosis. After several weeks on the IR Kennedy was assigned to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton for a conditioning stint on February 8th and was called back into NHL action six days later. Upon his return to the NHL though the twenty-year-old saw his production tumble, scoring only 4 more goals and posting 5 assists in the remaining 36 games. Kennedy’s contributions during the playoffs were mixed. He was tied with Jordan Staal with 34 shots, almost 1.5 shots a game averaging only ten minutes a game but did not score a single goal and had only four assists. In his defense he was put in more of a shut down role alongside Jordan Staal and Jarkko Ruutu but nonetheless as the playoffs waned on so did his output and as a consequence his ice-time.
His skating is one of his strongest assets as he has good footwork as well as acceleration that allows him to get a jump on opponents while racing for pucks. It is his speed and determination which made him excel on the penalty kill this past season in the OHL.
However, it is his offensive skills that the Pens were most impressed with. Kennedy is able to keep control of the puck in traffic and good hockey sense and offensive instincts let him be a strong playmaker that finds his teammates. Kennedy can score goals, he is described as having soft hands, but one of the knocks against him is that he doesn’t shoot enough, sometimes being a little too unselfish in passing up a good scoring chance to try to find an open teammate.
Although he is only 5’10”, Kennedy isn’t afraid to mix it up and go full speed into the corners. He refuses to back down from larger opponents who try to push him around, and he plays bigger than he actually is.