Penguins trade Guentzel in blockbuster six player deal
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Penguins trade Guentzel in blockbuster six player deal

The trade is now official.



OFFICIAL UPDATE: The deal is now down. The Pittsburgh Penguins have traded forward Jake Guentzel and Ty Smith to the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for forwards Michael Bunting, Ville Koivunen, Vasily Ponomarev, Cruz Lucius, and conditional 2024 first-round and fifth-round draft picks.

From the Penguins' official social media account:

“The decision to trade Jake Guentzel, with his contract set to expire this offseason, was one of the most difficult decisions that I have had to make in my time in management. In my first season with the Penguins, it has become quite clear why Jake means so much to his teammates, all Penguins staff and the City of Pittsburgh,” said Penguins GM Kyle Dubas in a prepared statement. “Jake’s competitiveness, tenacity and spirit, combined with his talent have produced some of the greatest moments of this era of Penguins hockey. A born and bred Pittsburgh Penguin, Jake has become a pillar in the community and fan favorite for all the right reasons. We cannot thank Jake and his family enough for their contributions to the Penguins since he was drafted in 2013 and wish him our very best.”

To me, it looks like the Penguins received a LOT back in return for Guentzel it terms of quantity... but I'm not so sure on the quality of their return. There's no doubt that the Penguins have acquired a lot of potential in this deal, but there's also no sure-fire blue-chip piece coming back.

More on the Penguins' new acquisitions, via the team's official press release announcement:

Bunting, 28, has skated in 60 games this season with the Hurricanes and tallied 13 goals, 23 assists and 36 points. His 13 goals rank fifth on the team, while his assist and point totals both rank sixth. The forward has tallied six power-play goals and a career-high 16 power-play points, which rank third and second on the team, respectively.

The 6-foot, 192-pound forward has played in parts of five NHL seasons split between the Arizona Coyotes, Toronto Maple Leafs and Hurricanes. In 247 career games, Bunting has recorded 70 goals, 92 assists, 162 points, 18 power-play goals, eight game-winning goals and a plus-32. The forward has also tallied two goals, three assists and five points in 13 playoff games, all with the Maple Leafs.

Bunting’s best offensive year came in his first full NHL season in 2021-22 when he was named a finalist for the NHL’s Calder Trophy as the league’s top rookie. He set career highs with Toronto in goals (23), assists (40) and points (63), and was named to the NHL’s All-Rookie Team after leading all rookies in points.  

Prior to turning professional, Bunting played two seasons in the Ontario Hockey League with the Soo Greyhounds, tallying 52 goals, 64 assists and 116 points in 105 career junior games.

The Scarborough, Ontario native won a gold medal at the 2021 World Championship with Team Canada.

Bunting was originally drafted by the Arizona Coyotes in the fourth round (117th overall) of the 2014 NHL Draft.

Koivunen, 20, has skated in 57 games this season with Karpat of Liiga, Finland’s top professional league, and tallied 21 goals, 34 assists and 55 points. The forward leads Karpat in assists and points, while his point total is also the fifth highest across all of Liiga. Koivunen plays with Penguins prospect Emil Pieniemi on Karpat.

The 6-foot, 172-pound Koivunen has played three seasons with Karpat, totaling 44 goals, 68 assists and 112 points in 162 career Liiga games. He also played in 12 AHL games following the conclusion of his Liiga season in 2022-23, tallying one goal with the Chicago Wolves.

The Oulu, Finland native has represented his home country at the 2021 World Under-18 Championship and two World Junior Championships (2022 & ’23). Koivunen helped Team Finland to a silver medal at the 2022 World Junior Championship as an alternate captain.

Koivunen was originally drafted in the second round (51st overall) of the 2021 NHL Draft by Carolina.

Ponomarev, 21, has appeared in two games for the Carolina Hurricanes this season, notching two points (1G-1A). He made his NHL debut on Jan. 5, scoring his first NHL goal and finishing the night with two points. He’s also played in 41 games at the AHL level this year split between the Tuscon Roadrunners and the Chicago Wolves, picking up 29 points (8G-21A) in 41 games. 

The 5-foot-10, 180-pound forward has played in a total of 116 career AHL games over parts of three seasons, recording 35 goals, 50 assists and 85 points. His best season came with Chicago in 2022-23 where he established AHL career highs in games played (64), goals (24), assists (22), and points (46). Ponomarev won the AHL’s Calder Cup with Chicago in 2022, recording six points (1G-5A) in 18 playoff games.

Prior to being drafted by Carolina in the second round (53rd overall) in the 2020 NHL Draft, Ponomarev spent two seasons in the QMJHL with the Shawinigan Cataractes from 2019-21, picking up 87 points (28G-59A) in 90 regular-season games. 

The Moscow, Russia native has represented his home country at the 2021 World Junior Championship and 2019 World Under-17 Championship.

Lucius, 19, has spent the 2023-24 campaign playing collegiate hockey at the University of Wisconsin. He’s appeared in 32 games, recording 12 goals, 19 assists, 31 points and is plus-2. His 31 points rank first on Wisconsin and his 12 goals are a career high and are second on the team. 

The 6-foot, 178-pound Lucius has played in 66 career NCAA games from 2022-24, all with Wisconsin, notching 23 goals, 42 assists and 65 points in 66 games. Cruz is teammates with current Penguins prospect Daniel Laatsch.

Prior to being drafted by Carolina in the fourth round (124th overall) in the 2022 NHL Draft, the Lawrence, Kansas native spent two seasons with the United States National Team Development Program from 2020-22. Cruz won a silver medal with Team USA at the 2022 World Under-18 Championship.

Read below of our earlier report of this trade as it was developing earlier in the evening.

UPDATE: NHL insider Frank Seravalli is adding a bit of clarity to some murky trade details this evening.

This much we know: The Pittsburgh Penguins have traded forward Jake Guentzel to the Carolina Hurricanes. Michael Bunting is part of a package deal heading back to the Penguins, but we don't yet know the full details of the trade.

Additionally though, Seravalli is now reporting that a contract extension between Guentzel and the Hurricanes is not part of the deal.

From Seravalli:

For our earlier reporting on this developing story, read below.

TSN NHL insider Pierre LeBrun is reporting that the Pittsburgh Penguins are trading forward Jake Guentzel to the Carolina Hurricanes. Forward Michael Bunting is expected to be part of the trade and has been withheld from the Hurricanes' lineup for tonight's game against the Montreal Canadiens.

NHL insider Frank Seravalli is echoing LeBrun's initial report, as well.

Check it out:

Penguins insider Mike DeFabo of The Athletic is reporting that indeed Guentzel has been traded to the Hurricanes.

Check it out:

Stay tuned for official confirmation and for details on the complete trade.

Read below for our earlier report on this developing story.

This just in, the Carolina Hurricanes have removed forward Michael Bunting from the lineup for tonight's game for 'trade related reasons.'

Check it out:

And if that weren't spicy enough for you, Sportsnet NHL insider Elliotte Friedman is reporting that Bunting is headed to the Pittsburgh Penguins as part of a package deal for forward Jake Guentzel.

From Friedman:

TSN's Pierre LeBrun with some more:

More to come on this developing story.

Source: Pittsburgh Penguins