Insider Links Jake Guentzel to Very Unlikely Team in Free Agency

The Carolina Hurricanes are still hoping to re-sign their big trade deadline acquisition Jake Guentzel, and the star UFA forward has been linked to some other contenders as well. But insider Elliotte Friedman has his own stunning pick for where Guentzel could wind up:

My surprise July 1st pick is Jake Guentzel to Chicago.  

Guentzel is a midwest guy. Chicago is a Midwest location. Also, they do need to get (elite) players to play with Bedard. It just doesn't seem insane to me. And, I don't know if Chicago is looking to "accelerate the process", as much as they realize they have to move things forward and they have to begin surrounding Bedard with some players that will allow him to showcase even more...   

I don't think it's impossible based on what I'm hearing out there. 

The Blackhawks tried that direction last offseason, trying to surround the incoming celebrated top pick Bedard with some solid veterans that know how to play, like Taylor Hall, Nick Foligno and Corey Perry. That didn't quite work out the way they'd hoped (they batted .333, hitting on one of the three, though Hall was simply a victim of injury). 

But taking the plunge on a true star in his prime like Guenztel would be a whole other level of "accelerating the process" for the Hawks. 

Guentzel recorded his fourth 30+ goal season this year, finishing with 30 goals, 47 assists and 77 points in 67 games split between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Hurricanes. He's coming off a five-year deal at a $6 million cap hit, and is expected to be able to command north of $8 million per year over a long-term contract of at least six years. 

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