Penguins lose more than just Jake Guentzel with latest update

Penguins lose more than just Jake Guentzel with latest update

Tough times in Pittsburgh…



On Thursday evening before their match up against the Chicago Blackhawks, the Pittsburgh Penguins announced that pending unrestricted free agent Jake Guentzel is expected to miss up to four weeks due to an upper-body injury with a projected return to the Penguins in March. He was placed on LTIR, therefore he’s ineligible to return to the Pens’ lineup before the March 8 trade deadline, which is three weeks away…

As Frank Seravalli points out, this isn’t only bad news for any possible trade involving Guentzel that rival teams may be second guessing at this time. This is also a tough blow for the Penguins, who are struggling in their push to make the postseason.

“In the meantime, missing him definitely hurts their playoff push.”

It’s been a rocky stretch for Pittsburgh and the loss of Guentzel affects their current situation, and possibly whatever trade plan general manager Kyle Dubas migth have had to re-tool the future of his team. There has been a sense that GM Dubas will decide closer to the deadline to shop the top forward if the Penguins fail to gain ground in the Eastern Conference playoff race. Following last night’s 4-1 win over Chicago, the Pens currently sit in sixth of the Metropolitan division, five points out of the last Wild Card playoff spot in the East.

Pierre LeBrun points out that Guentzel’s injury means the Penguins will wait till the last moment to decide or whether to trade or keep him.

“It will still give some teams pause, they’ll want to probably wait closer to March 8 to get a clearer picture of things health-wise for Guentzel. Of course, the Penguins hope to rally back in the standings and make him their own-rental maybe… we shall see.”

GM Dubas could ask a package comparable to what the Philadelphia Flyers got two years ago in the Claude Giroux trade to Florida. That deal saw the Panthers ship their 2024 first-round pick, 2023 third-rounder and winger Owen Tippett back to Philly.

This type of package could definitely help the Penguins right away as well as for their long-term future. While Guentzel has been recently linked to the Colorado Avalanche and Edmonton Oilers, no one knows if they will look elsewhere as the Pens’ forward sits on the sidelines, where he will look at his team attempting a push for the postseason without him…

That’s not what veteran players like Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang had in mind at the start of the 2023-24 season when visualizing another run at the Stanley Cup championship…

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