Did the Pittsburgh Penguins get enough in the Jake Guentzel trade?

The Pittsburgh Penguins are still one of the more talented teams out there, but that didn’t stop them from selling winger Jake Guentzel near the NHL trade deadline.
Pittsburgh Penguins v Minnesota Wild
Pittsburgh Penguins v Minnesota Wild / Nick Wosika/GettyImages
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Last night, we finally saw the Pittsburgh Penguins send Jake Guentzel elsewhere in a move that was bound to happen. The Carolina Hurricanes were the lucky team, and it was a trade that also involved blueliner Ty Smith, who will be playing in the AHL for the time being.

So, while the Hurricanes received two players in the swap, Pittsburgh snagged quite a bit of compensation, including Michael Bunting, a trio of prospects, and up to two conditional draft picks for 2024. But did the Penguins get enough in the swap, or could they have gotten more from the Hurricanes?

Let’s break down everyone who will either be coming to the Steel City or at least joining their prospects pool, along with the conditions involving each potential draft pick.

Michael Bunting is a familiar face to the Penguins general manager

Michael Bunting isn’t one of the younger players in the league, but he can be a sound asset for the Penguins until his contract expires following the 2025-26 season. Bunting spent a couple of seasons playing under general manager Kyle Dubas with the Toronto Maple Leafs for two seasons, where he scored 112 points, 46 goals, and took third for the Calder Trophy in 2022 at age 26. 

Bunting also matched the Maple Leafs personality with his physical play (170 hits in two seasons), something that is a stark contrast from what we have seen in Carolina, a team that has logged just 17 hits per game. He also wasn’t as effective in Raleigh, with just 36 points, 13 goals, 23 assists, and 22 takeaways (49 last year).

That said, it made sense why the Hurricanes wanted to create cap space with the winger. However, Bunting gives the Penguins a solid scoring option, especially if he regains the form we saw during his stint in Toronto. 

The Penguins power play has been nothing short of awful through 61 games, with a conversion percentage of just 15.05, good for just 28th in the league. But if you look at Bunting’s numbers on the man advantage, they are rather good. 

He has six power play goals this season, and the Hurricanes scored an eye-popping 29 goals when he was on the ice at 5-on-4, good for a 17.3 on-ice shooting percentage. So, while Bunting is no Jake Guentzel, he is a solid role player who should be a Penguin for a few seasons.