Jake Guentzel Responds To Report of 6-Year Extension Offer

Will they or won't they? Will he or won't he? These are the biggest questions facing the Pittsburgh Penguins over the next month, and it's all regarding star forward and impending UFA Jake Guentzel. Will they sign him to an extension or trade him? Will he agree to re-up with the team or won't he?

According to Guentzel, contrary to a report that emerged this past week, extension talks have not begun, and he has not been offered a contract.

“From my end there’s been no talks of any sorts,” Guentzel told the media. “I’m just trying to play hockey and that’s all I’ve worried about.”

Of course, it's still possible that his agent could have received an offer from the Penguins, but has not involved Guentzel yet until an offer meets some previously agreed-upon threshold.

But one thing sounds certain, that his preference is to stay in Pittsburgh. 

“It’s been unbelievable, I’ve been very fortunate to be in this city for eight years,” Guentzel said. “It’s a special organization. I’ve been very fortunate, and I love it here.”

The eight-year veteran is in the middle of his seventh consecutive 20+ goal season, with 22 goals and 27 assists for 49 total points in 46 games. Tuesday night's game will be his 500th in the NHL, in which he's compiled 219 goals and 463 points. His head coach, Mike Sullivan, certainly isn't keen on seeing him go anywhere else.

“He’s an invaluable part of this team,” Sullivan said. “He’s a Pittsburgh Penguin through and through. I think his contributions speak for themselves.”

Yet, if the Penguins don't show in the next four weeks that they are a true playoff contender this season, and a reasonable extension can't be reached by then, it's possible that GM Kyle Dubas decides to trade Guentzel for a big haul at the deadline.

Pittsburgh is currently five points back of the 3rd place Philadelphia Flyers in the Metropolitan Division, and seven points back of a Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference. 

Photo: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports