Big Update Revealed On Jake Guentzel Status For Start of Season

With Pittsburgh Penguins head honcho Kyle Dubas having pulled off his Erik Karlsson trade, he's turning his attention now to other matters regarding his roster.  

On that front, Dubas has revealed that top-line winger Jake Guentzel will not be out as long as expected to start the season, to a point that he won't be eligible for LTIR. 

The team obviously feels that Guentzel, who just underwent ankle surgery and had an original three-month timeline for returning, will be healing much more quickly than first thought. The three-month timeline would have had him missing at least the first month of the season. But Dubas today claimed he only expected his high-scoring forward to miss “around five games” at the start of the 2023-24 season.

That could mean he'd be ready to go for the Pens' Oct. 24 matchup at home, with the Dallas Stars. The original timeline wouldn't even have had him being re-evaluated until a few days after that date.  

To be eligible for long-term injured reserve, a player would have to miss ten games or 24 days with an injury. But thanks to the $3M Dubas saved in the Karlsson trade, the top winger and his $6M cap hit being absent from LTIR won't affect the Pens in getting cap-compliant.

Guentzel, 28, is entering the final season of a five-year, $30M contract. He put up 73 points on 36 goals and 37 assists in 78 games last season.

Photo; Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports