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Jake Guentzel to Make Road Trip; Penguins Mum on Status



Pittsburgh Penguins, SIdney Crosby, Jake Guentzel

CRANBERRY — The Pittsburgh Penguins will take winger Jake Guetnzel on their coming west coast road trip, which begins Tuesday in Vancouver and ends on March 4 in Edmonton, but that’s as much as coach Mike Sullivan was willing to divulge Saturday following the Penguins’ practice at the UPMC Lemieux Complex.

Guentzel is currently on the long-term injured list and is not eligible to come off LTIR until March 10.

“I’m reluctant to give you any timeframes for obvious reasons, but Jake will go on the trip with us,” Sullivan said Saturday. “He’s recovering. We’ll continue to work with him. He didn’t skate today. You guys will know when he goes on the ice, and we’ll address that when he does.”

Guentzel, 29, suffered an upper-body injury in the third period against the Florida Panthers on Feb. 14. He is a pending unrestricted free agent and the subject of ample NHL trade rumors. His name has been brought up in connection with the Edmonton Oilers and other teams.

On Wednesday, Penguins’ president of hockey operations/GM Kyle Dubas admitted he understood what Guentzel means to the team and city. Still, in the following sentence, he said the Penguins also recognize they must get younger.

Read More: Dubas Presser — Guentzel’s Future, Shakeup Trade, and the Rebuild Plans

This season, Guentzel has 52 points with 20 goals in 50 games, almost exclusively on a line with Sidney Crosby. However, Guentzel’s contract is up, and he’ll be a free agent on July 1. Dubas admitted the next two weeks would determine Guentzel’s fate with the team, at least for the remainder of this season.

Perhaps the unintended inference was a new contract was not expected.

The Penguins are 2-1-1 without Guentzel in the lineup and have scored four goals three times. Rickard Rakell has taken the LW spot beside Crosby.