Jake Guentzel has been one of the biggest components of the Pittsburgh Penguins’ offense. For years, the Penguins have had different players thrown onto Sidney Crosby’s wing. Players like Chris Kunitz and Conor Sheary, who played with Crosby for years, left the organization meaning Guentzel had some big shoes to fill. Now, Guentzel has been the topic of some trade rumors. What is the outlook on Jake Guentzel’s future with the Pittsburgh Penguins?
Early Playing Career And Draft
Guentzel is a native of Omaha, Nebraska. This undoubtedly played a big role in where he further advanced his career as he chose to play at the University of Nebraska Omaha. The left wing impressed seemingly everybody as he was named to both the NCHC Academic All-Conference Team and the All-Conference Rookie Team. As if that wasn’t enough, he was also in the running for NCHC Rookie of the Year.
His ability to put the puck in the back of the net caught the eye of some NHL clubs, specifically Pittsburgh. The Penguins drafted Guentzel 77th overall in the 2013 NHL draft. Guentzel worked hard to get to the NHL level, so when he made his debut in 2016 he did not disappoint.
In his very first game on Nov. 21, 2016, Guentzel potted his first two goals on his first two shots in the NHL. This was only a taste of what was to come as he was placed on Crosby’s wing. Later that season, Guentzel became the first rookie in Penguins history to score a hat-trick in a playoff game. He clearly displayed his offensive prowess through the 21 points he accumulated that postseason.
Not only did Guentzel get 21 points, but he also hoisted the Stanley Cup that year. In the finals, he scored an astounding four goals and five points against the Nashville Predators. It’s needless to say that doing that in his rookie season proved to the Penguins he belonged in the NHL.
He followed his rookie season up by putting up 48 points in the 2017-2018 season. Although the 22 goals he scored was impressive, it wasn’t enough for Guentzel. In the 2018-2019 season, he recorded an incredible 40 goals and 76 points. Guentzel was proving to be an absolute steal for Pittsburgh, so why is it that he is the topic of some trade rumors?
Could Guentzel Be Traded?
Guentzel has been a consistent point-per-game player for Pittsburgh in the regular season. He can score goals and is an overall solid player. It seems that only recently his name has been mentioned in rumors about being traded. It’s no secret that the Penguins want to change things after multiple poor playoff performances, but is this really the way to go?
Trading Guentzel would likely be a mistake. It is hard to find a wing that is able to be as consistent he has been. Sure, he is playing with one of the best centers to ever play the game. However, to continue to put up the numbers Crosby and Guentzel have proves they have very good chemistry with each other. Changing up the chemistry of the first line could yield interesting results, but shipping off Guentzel could be a colossal mistake.
However, an announcement by Brian Burke, president of hockey operations for the Penguins, shouldn’t go unheeded. He said that the only player that is 100 percent untouchable is Crosby. This means that a Guentzel trade could happen. If one were to happen, the return really could be anything. The only return that would make the most sense are draft picks.
Trading Guentzel doesn’t seem like the best idea. He is a consistent goal-scorer and he will likely stay with the Penguins. However, if Pittsburgh does trade him they have to get a really good deal. Multiple draft picks and a player could entice general manager Ron Hextall to pull the trigger. Whatever the outcome may be, things will be interesting with the Penguins organization this summer.
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