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Jake Guentzel Takes Shot at Penguins In Return Following Trade

When asked about being back in Pittsburgh and how he felt about the trade, Jake Guentzel took a shot at the Penguins.

When asked about the odds he would have re-signed in Pittsburgh, forward Jake Guentzel held nothing back when it came to what he thought his future would be. The winger was dealt at this season’s deadline, much to the chagrin of Sidney Crosby and many of the Penguins fans. “My intention was to stay. They thought there was a better direction.” Jake Guentzel told the media on Tuesday in his return to Pittsburgh. It was a fairly direct shot at the Penguins organization for deciding to trade him and thinking they were better off without him.

The Penguins downed the Hurricanes 4-1, but the storyline was an emotional Guentzel coming back to Pittsburgh for the first time to play against the only NHL team he’d ever known before being dealt. The city played a video tribute for him, and while his family looked emotional, there was a sense of frustration on Guentzel’s face that this didn’t turn out the way he would have liked. That’s not to stay he’s upset about being in Carolina. He just never wanted to leave Pittsburgh.

Have the Penguins Burned the Bridge With Guentzel?

Guentzel wasted no time making his mark with the Hurricanes. Although he was initially held scoreless in his debut, he registered points in six of his next seven games. This streak propelled him to a total of 12 points in just nine games.

Jake Guentzel Hurricanes

The Hurricanes couldn’t be happier. They’ve needed a top-six scorer for years and he’s definitely it, proving that he doesn’t need Crosby to be effective. Across all game situations, Carolina has dominated opponents 16-1 in terms of goals scored while Guentzel is on the ice, with the winger contributing to 75 percent of those goals.

The bulk of Guentzel’s impact comes during five-on-five play, where he shines brightest. As Shayna Goldman of The Athletic points out, “Guentzel is a clear fit on a dangerous top line with Sebastian Aho and Seth Jarvis, which is getting support from a new-look second line. That combination is also benefitting from deadline acquisition Evgeny Kuznetsov, who seems to have revitalized his game in new surroundings, especially at five-on-five.”

Tuesday’s game notwithstanding, these are two clubs heading in a different direction. While the Penguins are falling apart and serious questions need to be asked about their team’s direction, the Hurricanes are much deeper heading into the playoffs. They are true contenders.

As for what happens down the line, there is talk the Penguins may talk to Guentzel in the summer to see if he’d like to return. It’s too early to know if that bridge has already been burned.

Next: Journalist Posts Odd Rant Demeaning Hyman’s 50-Goal Milestone

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