June 13, 2024

Penguins’ general manager Kyle Dubas is open to the possibility of trading winger Jake Guentzel if contract extension negotiations don’t progress significantly before the March 8 trade deadline, according to a report by The Athletic’s Josh Yohe. While Dubas prefers to secure Guentzel’s long-term commitment, the team is not willing to risk losing him as an unrestricted free agent without compensation in the upcoming summer. As per Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, Dubas intended to engage in discussions with Guentzel’s representatives over the All-Star break weekend last month.

Earlier reports suggested that Ben Hankinson, Jake Guentzel’s agent, might delay extension discussions until the end of the season. If this approach holds, the likelihood of a Guentzel trade within the next five weeks appears to increase significantly.

At 29, Guentzel is on track for his third consecutive 30-goal season and has been a consistent presence alongside future Hall-of-Famer Sidney Crosby since his debut in the 2016-17 season. With 219 goals and 463 points in 499 career games, Guentzel’s chemistry with Crosby is highly valued by Penguins’ general manager Kyle Dubas, as noted by Josh Yohe. Dubas sees the benefit of maintaining this partnership, especially given the rising salary cap and the goal of keeping Crosby paired with his preferred left wing throughout the remainder of his career. This commitment could potentially extend Guentzel’s tenure into his mid-30s.

Despite the desire to maintain this chemistry, Dubas is pragmatic and acknowledges that Crosby’s preference alone is not enough to deter him from exploring a trade. Sources have informed Yohe that Dubas is not hesitant to trade Guentzel, even if both Crosby and head coach Mike Sullivan express a preference for retaining him in Pittsburgh. The emphasis is on recouping value through a deadline deal rather than risking losing Guentzel in free agency.

The recent trade involving the Canucks acquiring Elias Lindholm from the Flames, who is a pending unrestricted free agent (UFA), is likely to serve as a reference point for any potential Jake Guentzel trade discussions, particularly if no contract extension is in place. While Guentzel has been outperforming Lindholm this season, there might be league-wide concerns about Guentzel’s production without Sidney Crosby as his linemate.

It’s a valid concern, given the notable chemistry between Guentzel and Crosby, but Guentzel has demonstrated remarkable consistency in point production over the past six years. Averaging over a point per game during this period and consistently on pace for more than 34 goals in a full season since 2018, Guentzel’s track record is impressive. Additionally, he has maintained over 20 minutes of ice time per game since 2018 and has made solid contributions on the power play.

Considering Guentzel’s consistent performance and impact on the game, it’s reasonable to argue that he could command a higher value than Lindholm, who has had a more inconsistent track record over the past half-decade. The Penguins might further increase the asking price by offering to retain a portion of Guentzel’s $6 million cap hit, a move that wouldn’t have implications beyond the current season. It’s worth noting that Guentzel has a 12-team no-trade list, as per CapFriendly, giving him some control over potential destinations.

Penguins 'not afraid' to trade Jake Guentzel

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *