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Canucks, Golden Knights among six-plus suitors for Guentzel


As the Pittsburgh Penguins shape up as sellers ahead of Friday's trade deadline, there appears to be a long list of suitors for pending unrestricted free agent Jake Guentzel

TSN Hockey Insider Pierre LeBrun reports he's "hearing there’s six-plus legit suitors for Guentzel"  with the Vegas Golden Knights and Vancouver Canucks among them. LeBrun adds Pittsburgh is "exploring all options with view to bolster the club for the future."

Guentzel is the top forward on the TSN Trade Bait board, checking in at No. 2. The 29-year-old was the team's leading scorer before getting hurt last month. He appears to be nearing a return, but that could come with a new team. 

Penguins president and general manager Kyle Dubas acknowledged last month that Guentzel could be on the move as he looks to add younger players while continuing to compete. 

“I understand how valuable he’s been as a teammate, person in the community, contributor to helping the team win the Stanley Cup, and so on and so forth. It’s important,” Dubas said on Feb. 21. “But at the same time, we have to take stock with where we’re at and be realistic about the fact that one of the issues we have is we need to get younger. We have a lot of guys in their 30s signed, some of them are some of the best players in the history of the franchise.

“It’s tough with Jake, as I’ve said to him, because he’s an excellent player and playing at an elite level. We have to find a way to continue to have those solid veteran guys, but also continue to get younger at the same time.”

Carrying a cap hit of $6 million on his expiring deal, Guentzel has 22 goals and 52 points in 50 games this season. 


Could the Canucks strike again?

The Canucks, who have been in the race for the Presidents' Trophy all season, have already made on big splash ahead of the deadline, acquiring pending UFA Elias Lindholm from the Calgary Flames.

Vancouver sent forward Andrei Kuzmenko, prospects Hunter Brzustewicz and Joni Jurmo, a 2024 first-round draft pick, and a conditional 2024 fourth-round draft pick back to Calgary in that deal.

Lindholm, who had nine goals and 23 points in 49 games prior to the trade, has four goals and six points 14 games since. 

Cap space could be an issue for the Canucks, who have $3.375 million in space per CapFriendly. The Canucks are also without a pick in the first two rounds of this year's draft.

Vancouver did have two prospects in the top 10 of TSN Director of Scouting Craig Button's top 50 NHL-affiliated prospects. 


Golden Knights have LTIR space to spare

With captain Mark Stone expected to miss the remainder of the regular season, the Golden Knights will hold the advantage in cap space over most teams ahead of the deadline.

"The news out of the Vegas Golden Knights isn't good, Mark Stone we know we're told is out for the regular season and he is questionable for the Stanley Cup playoffs so you can be certain that Kelly McCrimmon and the Golden Knights will utilize his cap space," TSN Hockey Insider Darren Dreger said last week on Insider Trading. 

Stone, 31, is signed through 2026-27 at a cap hit of $9.5 million. He had 16 goals and 53 points in 56 games prior to his injury.

The Golden Knights appear set to get some relief on the injury front as forward Jack Eichel is expected to make his return Monday against the Columbus Blue Jackets.