Penguins Rumors: The Big Factor That Could Determine Guentzel’s Future

Pittsburgh Penguins star forward Jake Guentzel is an impending unrestricted free agent after the season, with no serious extension talks in the offing. Accordingly, he's become one of the biggest trade bait names just over two months out from the deadline. 

But according to a report by Penguins analyst Dan Kingerski in Pittsburgh Hockey Now, "it would still be surprising if the Penguins traded Guentzel."

What it all comes down to is whether the team remains in striking distance of the playoffs come March. That is the key factor, of course. And if they are, instead of shipping out a first-round pick and another asset for some help down the stretch, Kingerski suggests they'd benefit more by actually keeping those assets and then simply consider Guentzel as the team's "big-time trade deadline acquisition.

"By not trading him, they’re essentially trading him to themselves and forgoing the projected haul of a first-rounder and a prospect."

But, as he notes, if the Pens are more than six points in arrears of a playoff spot, then all bets are off, and Guentzel and others could easily be shipped out. 

The 29-year-old is having another tremendous season, with 14 goals and 35 points in 31 games.

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