Connect with us

NHL Trade Rumors

Penguins’ Guentzel Trade Chatter: What Hurricanes Can Offer



Pittsburgh Penguins, NHL trade, Jake Guentzel

In the latest and perhaps last chapter of the Jake Guentzel trade saga, the Pittsburgh Penguins’ division rivals are now mentioned as potential suitors. Lost in the shuffle of NHL trade chatter focusing on Western Conference teams such as the Vegas Golden Knights and Vancouver Canucks, Metro Division foes New York Rangers, and the Carolina Hurricanes have emerged.

Both clubs have young players that could tempt the Penugins, and both clubs realize the other could significantly tip the balance of power in the divisional playoffs, if not the Eastern Conference, by acquiring Guentzel.

If there’s a chance for a bidding war, this is it.

UPDATE: Multiple reports indicate a deal is close to being done with the Carolina Hurricanes. Carolina scratched winger Michael Bunting. Click here to get the scouting report on Bunting and the updated Penguins trade talks.

Reports came and went on Tuesday that the Penguins president of hockey operations/GM Kyle Dubas wanted a deal in place “by Wednesday night.” As of Thursday, the trade chatter had only increased, with a couple of the names changing.

Almost as a rule, Pittsburgh Hockey Now doesn’t repeat reports when teams claim to be “out.” How many times did former GM Jim Rutherford claim to be out of a deal, only to get a deal done days or weeks later?

As we’re entering the last 24 hours of the NHL trade deadline frenzy, no deal is done, and a front-runner has not yet emerged. The asking price appears to remain steep, with a first-round pick plus prospects or young NHL players being the ask.

Guentzel Trade Returns

New York Rangers

Engaged in a battle atop the Metro Division and for the top seed in the Eastern Conference, the New York Rangers have not lifted the Stanley Cup since 1994, and before that, 1940.

The Rangers are deep down the middle with Mika Zibanejad, Vincent Trocheck, and newly acquired Alex Wennberg. The Rangers are also solid on the LW, which presents both a healthy dose of skepticism that the Rangers are truly involved and an opportunity for the Penguins.

Chris Kreider and Artemi Panarin are the top-six LWs. However, Guentzel could take Krieder’s place on the top line, and Krieder’ could assume the third-line role. Such a trade would also displace Will Cuylle in the Rangers lineup. The 22-year-old emerging power forward has only 19 points, scoring eight goals in 62 games, but there’s obviously more there.

Cuylle was a 60-goal scorer in juniors but is still putting it all together at the highest level. He goes to the net and isn’t afraid of the consequences. The 6-foot-3, 212-pound forward would be an ideal return with a pick and perhaps lessen the prospect requirement.

Earlier in the season, there was talk that 2020 first-overall pick Alex Lafreniere was potentially available. The left-handed winger has 39 points this season and can play with an edge. His game lacks completeness, as evidenced by his minus-4 rating on a top team. However, he has all of the tools to be around for a while and become a legitimate scorer. He’s scored 18 goals this season and has one year remaining on his two-year bridge deal, which carries an average annual value (AAV) of $2.325 million.

Gabe Perreault may be the most recognizable Rangers prospect. Over the next three years, the Rangers have all three first-round picks but little else. The only other pick of value they have is a 2026 third-rounder.

Dubas probably can’t squeeze Lafrienere out of New York, nor would he get much more from the Rangers for Guentzel, but how bad does Broadway want a Stanley Cup parade?

How bad do the Rangers want to keep Guentzel from their likely Round Two opponent?

Carolina Hurricanes

They’ve been so close to that Stanley Cup Final but have not gotten out of the East since they won the 2006 Stanley Cup. It’s been a long ride for the organization, and the Storm Surge needs to see more than a Round Two disappointment.

Enter Jake Guentzel?

Some fans have circled Jack Drury in a potential Guentzel deal, but Drury is more important to the Hurricanes than he is valuable. He is also a bad return on a Guentzel deal, a bottom-six center. Dubas needs to aim higher.

The Hurricanes have a deep pipeline of defensemen at the NCAA and prospect level. Defensemen Alexander Nikishin and Scott Morrow stand out. Nikishin is a 6-foot-4, 216-pound Russian d-man playing in the KHL. He’s got size and a willingness to play in the offensive zone.

Last season, Nikishin, 22, scored a whopping 55 points in 65 games with SKA Petersburg, setting hockey tongues wagging. He’s got 56 points in 67 games this season.

Of course, there’s the Russian “problem” with getting young players out of the country and avoiding war.

Morrow was the 40th overall pick in 2021. He’s a mobile skating defenseman at UMass, registering nearly a point per game in his sophomore season.

It’s hard to know if Dubas might prefer an NHL-level player in addition to the first-round pick. RW Seth Jarvis hasn’t yet reached his full potential in Carolina and probably won’t get there on the third line. He could play a top-six role with the Penguin. Jesper Kotkaniemi is languishing as a very expensive fourth-line center.

Perhaps Dubas could swipe a young, talented player such as the former, but Carolina’s strength is its depth.