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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Draft picks are always a positive for older teams, but…

The only issue here is the condition of the two picks, as they don’t appear to work in the Penguins favor. Carolina must make the 2024 Stanley Cup Final for the 2024 first-round pick to stand, or else the Penguins will get a second-round pick. For a player of Guentzel’s caliber, Dubas needed to demand an unconditional first-rounder, and it should have been non-negotiable. 

Pittsburgh also should have gotten more than a conditional fifth-rounder that will only transfer to the Penguins if Guentzel helps the Hurricanes win their first Stanley Cup in nearly two decades. When it comes to draft picks, this was a victory in Carolina’s favor, as it could only leave the Penguins with a second-rounder, and nothing more. 

Did the Penguins get enough for Jake Guentzel?

Penguins fans should be happy with Bunting, plus the trio of prospects. We already know Bunting can be a solid player, even if his productivity will never be top-tier. Koivunen is on the right path, and he could even wind up making the smooth transition to the North American game for 2024-25. 

Vasily Ponomarev has shown us enough that he could be ready to take the next step in 2024-25 and join the Penguins full-time. If that occurs, then the 21-year-old could immediately establish himself as a young talent more than capable of producing points, winning faceoffs, and providing some gritty play. 

Lucius is one for fans to watch throughout his college career and if he keeps up his current productivity, there is no question the Penguins will sign him. Only the draft picks are concerning, and they are the reason why Pittsburgh ultimately did not get enough in the Jake Guentzel trade. 

However, they still found one building block for the present, one for the near future, and two that could easily wind up in Pittsburgh sometime in the latter part of the decade. Therefore, Pittsburgh still got a potentially good deal here, even if it could have been better.

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(Statistics provided by Hockey-Reference and Elite Prospects)