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Jake Guentzel reportedly turned down $51 million contract in Pittsburgh
Credit: Capture d'écran / Screenshot

The Pittsburgh Penguins were aiming for top honors when they picked up Erik Karlsson in a trade this summer. The problem is, even with the reigning Norris Trophy champion, things aren’t going as planned.

And to add to the problem, Jake Guentzel has now reportedly turned down a contract worth $8.5 million per season over six campaigns. That’s what Nick Kypreos reported on his Real Kyper and Bourne podcast.

Frank Seravalli of Daily Faceoff was on the podcast and offered some insight into the Penguins’ situation.

As a 29-year-old elite player, Jake Guentzel will definitely want to sign a long, eight-year deal that will pay him a lot of money. His current contract pays $6 million per season and expires at the end of the campaign.

If he continues to refuse Pittsburgh’s offers, Guentzel will be able to test the free agent market as an uncompensated free agent.

Seravalli’s solution is simple. The Penguins have the choice of going all-in for the playoffs with Jake Guentzel in their lineup and losing him after all that, or trading him between now and the trade deadline to limit the damage over the next few years.

Because yes, the Penguins are going to go through a very difficult period over the next few years. Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Kristopher Letang and Erik Karlsson will all have to hang up their skates at some point, and if the organization doesn’t prepare for a rebuild, it could resemble the current Chicago Blackhawks.

The Blackhawks were lucky with Connor Bedard, but the Penguins may not be. So they need to find a way to maximize their chances by going after future assets against Jake Guentzel.

Either way, the window is closed for the Penguins. Even with all their offensive assets, they find themselves six points out of the playoffs. They’ll probably find a way to qualify for the playoffs, but throwing their future out the window for one last shot at the Stanley Cup isn’t a very good idea.

But back to Guentzel, who turned down a very big contract. As Seravalli explains, he probably doesn’t want to spend his final years being the only good player on a team that’s near the bottom of the standings every season.

On top of that, he could make a lot more money by signing elsewhere as a free agent.

The Penguins will therefore have a choice to make. Guentzel’s departure is likely to hurt them, but they’ll be glad they did in the coming seasons.

In bursts

– Let’s hope he brings back as much.

– A nice ovation for Poulin.

– A lot of movement in MLB.

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