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Could Penguins Replace Jake Guentzel With Former-Dubas Favorite?

If the Pittsburgh Penguins choose to move Jake Guentzel, one report suggests Kyle Dubas could have his eyes on a former player of his.

Don’t look now, but new GM and President Kyle Dubas of the Pittsburgh Penguins might be eyeing a former Toronto Maple Leafs’ forward as a replacement for Jake Guentzel. The future of Guentzel in Pittsburgh remains unclear. What is clear is that he’s going to get paid. With William Nylander’s new deal is place, the Penguins’ winger is about to hit the jackpot and that could mean a departure from his current team and a big deal in free agency.

Speculation is out there that one of the players Dubas might try to replace Guentzel with is former Maple Leaf Michael Bunting.

As per a report by Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet, Bunting may also be on his way out of Carolina. If the Hurricanes choose to move on — they fielded calls on him earlier this season — Dubas might be interested in a reunion. Friedman writes:

With the productive agitator already drifting down to the bottom six in the Hurricanes’ lineup, teams have checked in on Carolina’s plans for the left winger it signed to a hefty three-year, $13.5-million deal over the summer. (Elliotte Friedman mentioned a potential reunion with Kyle Dubas in Pittsburgh; Soo ties run deep, and Bunting would be much less expensive than re-signing Jake Guentzel.)

Would a Dubas and Bunting Reunion Make Sense?

It’s intriguing to imagine these two getting back together with how quickly Dubas was prepared to move on from Bunting at the end of last season. Just before the then-GM of the Maple Leafs was fired and moved to Pittsburgh, he essentially washed his hands of the often-agitating Bunting. They were going to let him explore free agency and there were no real plans to re-sign him in Toronto. He wound up going to Carolina and has struggled a bit.

Michael Bunting Jake Guentzel trade talk

It’s more than fair to argue Bunting is not a replacement for Guentzel. In fact, it would be a step down when looking at their respective production. At the same time, going with Bunting and his $4.5 million cap hit versus Guentzel and what could be $9 million per season is a potentially fair trade. Can Bunting be half as productive and leave the Penguins space to go out and add someone else? Potentially, yes.

The Hurricanes are looking to make room on their roster because they are exploring the goalie market. That’s where the possible desire to trade Bunting comes in. But, is this something Dubas does before the off-season? If the club decides to move Guentzel before the trade deadline, that too seems logical.

Next: Oilers Keeping an Eye on Blue Jackets’ Right-Shot D-Man

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