Insider Reveals “The Biggest Factor” For Jake Guentzel’s Future in Pittsburgh

One of the biggest names at this year’s trade deadline — IF the Pittsburgh Penguins make him available, would be Jake Guentzel. The 29-year-old is an impending unrestricted free agent, and he’ll be looking for a huge bump up from his current $6 million AAV. According to NHL insider Elliotte Friedman, there’s really nothing doing yet on extension talks with the Penguins, and as he further revealed on Hockey Night in Canada on Saturday:

The biggest factor here is where the Penguins think they’re going as a franchise over the next couple years. I think that is going to be the true determination of Guentzel's future in Pittsburgh or elsewhere.

In other words, if GM Kyle Dubas thinks his team can stay competitive and have a reasonable shot at challenging for a Stanley Cup over the next two or three seasons, he'll try to keep all the big pieces together, of which, of course, Guentzel would be one. An extension, in that case, would be in order. 

If the Pens drop out of the playoff race over the next eight weeks, and/or Dubas feels the team won't be super competitive and is due for a re-tooling, then Guentzel will be a massive trade piece for him at this year's deadline.

Currently, Pittsburgh is at 20-15-6 for 46 points, tied for 6th in the Metropolitan Division, but just two points out of 4th place. 

As for Guentzel, the 29-year-old star forward is having another strong season, once again better than a point-per-game for the 5th time in the last six years, with 19 goals and 27 assists for 46 points in 41 games. 

No doubt, the recent $92 million deal signed by William Nylander with the Toronto Maple Leafs will be weighing heavily in the minds of both Guentzel and the Penguins as they decide which direction to take at this critical fork in the road.

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