Jake Guentzel to Canucks trade rumors
(Photo Credit: Michael Miller/ Wikimedia)

With the NHL trade deadline just three days away, the hockey world is abuzz with rumors surrounding Pittsburgh Penguins star winger Jake Guentzel.

The 28-year-old sniper, who is in the final year of his contract, has been linked to several potential suitors, most notably the Vancouver Canucks.

According to multiple reports, the Canucks are among the teams aggressively pursuing Guentzel as they look to bolster their roster for a potential Stanley Cup run. Vancouver currently sits atop the Pacific Division with a 39-17-7 record and appears poised to make some noise in the postseason.

However, acquiring Guentzel may require some creative maneuvering by Canucks GM Patrik Allvin. The Athletic’s Chris Johnston reports that Vancouver has discussed potentially flipping recently acquired center Elias Lindholm to the Boston Bruins as part of a larger deal to land Guentzel.

Lindholm, who was traded to the Canucks from the Calgary Flames just over a month ago, has tallied six points in 14 games with his new team. While he has yet to find his groove under head coach Rick Tocchet, Lindholm could be an attractive piece for the Bruins, who are rumored to be seeking additional help down the middle.

For the Penguins, trading Guentzel would signal a significant shift in direction for the franchise. Pittsburgh currently sits five points out of a Wild Card spot and may be looking to retool on the fly rather than engage in a full-scale rebuild.

According to TSN’s Darren Dreger, the Penguins are hoping to have a Guentzel trade in place by Wednesday evening and are seeking a package that includes a first-round pick, a young NHL player, and prospects in return.

Earlier this season, Guentzel reportedly turned down a six-year, $51 million extension from the Penguins.

Complicating matters is Guentzel’s current injury status. The winger has missed the Penguins’ last three games with an undisclosed ailment, though the team did receive some positive news on that front over the weekend. Still, any team acquiring Guentzel will want assurances that he’ll be healthy for the stretch run and playoffs.

When in the lineup, Guentzel has been his usual productive self this season, tallying 18 goals and 25 assists in 43 games. Since breaking into the league in 2016-17, he has been one of the NHL’s most consistent goal scorers, twice eclipsing the 40-goal mark while playing primarily alongside Sidney Crosby.

With the clock ticking toward Friday’s deadline, all eyes will be on Pittsburgh and Vancouver to see if they can hammer out a deal for Guentzel. If the Canucks are able to land the talented winger without surrendering too much of their future, they could become a very dangerous team come playoff time.

For the Penguins, moving on from Guentzel would be a bitter pill to swallow, but it may be necessary as they look to retool on the fly and remain competitive in the coming years.