Pittsburgh Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford scratched off one more thing from his to-do list on Thursday as the team announced they’ve signed Jake Guentzel to a five-year, $30M extension.
“Jake established himself as an impact player for our team from the beginning, especially during 2017 Stanley Cup playoffs,” Rutherford said in a press release. “He has become a core player on the team and we are thrilled to get Jake signed long-term with the Penguins.”
Guenztel, who was selected No. 77 overall in the 2013 draft, made an immediate impact after joining the Penguins during the 2016-17 NHL season. After scoring 16 goals and recording 33 points during the regular season, he led all players in goals scored during that postseason with 13 and helped them to the first of two straight championships. He followed that up with a 22-goal season in 2017-18 and 10 goals and 21 points in 12 playoff games last spring. This season he has 15 goals and 33 points in 36 games.
The 24-year-old Nebraska-Omaha product has found a consistent home on Sidney Crosby‘s wing and proven he has staying power there by his finishing and playmaking abilities. SInce entering the league he’s averaged 0.72 points per game, which puts him in company with the likes of Ryan Johansen, Matt Duchene, William Nylander, David Perron, and Jeff Carter. He’s also tied for sixth in playoff points per game (1.12) among players with at least 10 games played since the 2017 postseason.
This is a fantastic deal for the Penguins considering Guentzel’s production so far and the fact that he doesn’t look to be slowing down any time soon. He would have been a restricted free agent on July 1 and held arbitration rights and this deal buys two of what would been his unrestricted free agent years. He’s also now one of only 13 NHL players 25 or younger who have a cap hit of at least $6M.
When you look at how much salaries are increasing as the cap ceiling rises, we might look back on this extension as a huge steal for the Penguins in a few years’ time.