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No Trade Talks for Guentzel; Dubas Downplays Agent Comments



Pittsburgh Penguins trade, kyle dubas, Penguins trade talk 2

The Pittsburgh Penguins have not had any trade talks regarding winger Jake Guentzel. At least not yet. Penguins president of hockey operations/GM Kyle Dubas again used his weekly radio show to break a little news, or in this case, quell recent chatter surrounding Guentzel, a pending unrestricted free agent.

With host and team play-by-play announcer Josh Getzoff, Dubas dismissed the groundswell of NHL trade rumors. The chatter has recently become hot, especially in Canadian media and Vancouver specifically.

“We haven’t had any conversations with any other teams about Jake,” said Dubas. “So, anything that is out there is pure speculation. That’s really as simple as that.”

Guentzel, 29, and Sidney Crosby have paced the Penguins offensive attack this season. While Crosby is garnering Hart Trophy talk, Guentzel is tied with Crosby for the team lead in points with 46.

“We’ll continue to go through the season here. I’ll continue to evaluate where we’re at,” Dubas said on the show. “Either after the All-Star break or after the season, we’ll do what’s best for everybody, best for the Penguins, best for Jake, and we’ll determine that together. That’s really it.”

Speculation has swirled regarding Guentzel’s future or what the Penguins could get by trading the winger who was their third-round pick (77th overall) in 2013. His five-year, $30 million deal, which he signed with former GM Jim Rutherford, expires after this season.

In eight seasons, Guentzel has been a near-constant linemate for Crosby, amassing 460 points, including 224 goals, in 495 games. Guentzel also has 58 points and 34 goals in 58 career playoff games.

Guentzel has sidestepped the issue with reporters, redirecting focus to the present. However, speaking on the NHL’s Sirius XM channel a few weeks ago, Guentzel’s agent, Ben Hankinson, said the situation could “get ugly.”

Dubas also sought to downplay Hankinson’s comments and clarified that he believed.

“People thought when he said it could get ugly, that was about the contract,” said Dubas. “I don’t think so. In reading it, I think he was — in reading it — more so talking about the team and where it’s going to go in the next several seasons.

“I didn’t take it as offensive. I didn’t take it as anything other than Ben trying to do right by his client and knowing that he probably didn’t mean for it to develop into the level (it did).”

We’re not sure if it’s better or worse that Dubas didn’t argue things could get ugly for the team over the next few seasons.

Radim Zohorna

The Penguins waived Radim Zohorna Tuesday, and the big forward cleared on Wednesday. The team assigned him to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. Zohorna played just a couple of games after losing his spot in the lineup on Dec. 31.

“He had a great camp. We claimed (Jansen) Harkins. (Zohorna) went down, when he came up, he was excellent on the line with (Drew) O’Connor and (Lars) Eller,” said Dubas. “Just over the last couple of months, he has not been able to find that same level. We’re hoping taking him out of the lineup, and getting him working with our development staff and our off-ice staff (would help), but in the games he’s gone in, he hasn’t been able to recapture it. A lot of that falls on us, so we’re going through how to best get him back to that level in the second half of the year.”

Odds & Ends

*Dubas said injured winger Reilly Smith was unlikely to play before the All-Star break. The team expects to know more at the end of the week.

*Alex Nedeljkovic’s recent play pushed Tristan Jarry to get better. The GM said Jarry didn’t sulk or have ill feelings but worked harder.

You can listen to the entire Dubas show here.