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Did Penguins Miss Window to Re-Sign Jake Guentzel?

NHL insiders all weighing in on Jake Guentzel’s situation with the Penguins say the situation is complicated and unclear.

Of late, NHL insiders are weighing in and offering updates on the status of talks between the Pittsburgh Penguins and forward Jake Guentzel. Almost all reputable reports suggest the two sides are at a crossroads. The chance of a Guentzel trade ahead of the NHL Trade Deadline seems to be as a strong as the chance of an extension.

In a Saturday Headlines segment, NHL insider Elliotte Friedman shed light on Guentzel’s uncertain future. The prevailing question revolves around the Penguins’ trajectory and where they see themselves in the future, a factor crucial to determining Guentzel’s fate in Pittsburgh.

At the same time, Pierre LeBrun, contributing to a recent article on The Athletic, highlighted Guentzel’s impressive track record. The 29-year-old pending unrestricted free agent is on pace for another outstanding season, potentially reaching 35-plus goals and accumulating 90-plus points. This comes after a stellar performance of 36 goals last season and 40 goals the year before. LeBrun emphasized Guentzel’s prowess as a formidable playoff performer.

Penguins’ star forward Jake Guentzel has paused contract talks, seeks clarity on the team’s future before long-term commitment.

However, a cloud of uncertainty looms over the Penguins’ playoff prospects. With the team currently sitting two points out of a playoff spot just 53 days from the March 8 trade deadline, there’s still time for the Penguins to make a push. At the same time, as the deadline creeps closer, the pressure is mounting on GM Kyle Dubas to make a decisive call. The dilemma for Dubas lies in the balance between securing desperately needed assets through a Guentzel trade and avoiding the fallout of said player possibly leaving for no return. Even worse would be trading a key player with whom Sidney Crosby shares a strong on-ice connection.

The situation was complicated by the absence of a contract extension for Guentzel before the season began. LeBrun revealed that discussions between Guentzel’s camp and the Penguins could have led to an extension, but it didn’t materialize. Now, both parties are faced with making realistic decisions about the future.

This Guentzel and Penguins Window is Closing

Emily Kaplan of ESPN added a layer of complexity. She pointed out the real possibility of the team trading one of the Penguins’ most popular and consistently productive players. Guentzel’s agent, Ben Hankinson, acknowledged things are getting tricky. He said, “This will get really heated down the stretch. It’s going to get interesting.” The influence of Crosby, who values his partnership with Guentzel, further complicates the decision-making process.

Dubas Crosby Guentzel Penguins

While the Penguins could make the playoffs, doubts linger about their ability to contend for a Stanley Cup. The impending decisions regarding Guentzel’s future hinge on Dubas’ vision for the team’s bigger picture. If the Penguins are not securely in a playoff spot, LeBrun suggests the strategic move would be to trade Guentzel, a challenging decision but arguably the right one.

The coming weeks will be crucial in shaping the fate of Guentzel and the Penguins. As the deadline approaches, Dubas faces a daunting task. Does he make a tough call that could affect this team for years? And, if there was a chance to sign him early and it wasn’t done, what dominos fall?

Next: Oilers Will Struggle to Retain Valuable Top-Six Forward [Report]

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