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NHL Rumours: The Carolina Hurricanes and Jake Guentzel

Hurricanes rumours

It’s time for another round of NHL Rumours. With the March 8th trade deadline rapidly approaching, the rumour mill is spitting out rumours faster and faster every minute. Just a few days ago we took a look at the Carolina Hurricanes reportedly exploring the forward market and what options might be out there. For this edition of NHL Rumours, we stick with the Hurricanes and their potential of acquiring a top winger on the market.

NHL Rumours

Carolina Hurricanes

Rumour: Elliotte Friedman mentioned that the Pittsburgh Penguins were looking for prospects over picks for Jake Guentzel and that Carolina could fit the bill.

With the rumours swirling that Carolina could be looking to acquire another forward at the trade deadline this year, none may have a bigger name than Jake Guentzel on the list of possible players. With the Pittsburgh Penguins likely looking at missing the playoffs again, signs seem to be pointing towards them parting ways with the skilled winger. Penguins GM Kyle Dubas knows he can get a great return for Guentzel and with him being a UFA after this season, he could very well end up in a new sweater next week this time. But as Friedman mentioned, Pittsburgh is really favouring prospects over picks in the return for Guentzel.

How the Hurricanes Fit

Enter the Carolina Hurricanes. While Carolina has been a top contender for a few years now, they have also been a very good drafting team. They have not only maintained a steady cupboard of prospects in their system but have continually added to it. Using analytics heavily and adopting the “throw as many darts at the board you can” motto, Carolina has consistently acquired pick after pick, many times moving down in the draft, to get a large number of prospects. All of which come in different shapes and sizes.

But out of the potential suitors for Guentzel, this is why Friedman mentioned them. Carolina’s top prospect in Alexander Nikishin is the only one who is likely a no. But right after him, they have blue-chip prospects in Maine forward Bradley Nadeau and UMass defenceman Scott Morrow. After that, you could run off a long list of players all over the world making some noise. Ville Koivunen has been having a great season in Finland while Jackson Blake is pushing for a Hobey Baker nod with North Dakota. Felix Unger-Sorum almost made the Hurricanes out of training camp and put together a good showing at the World Junior Championships this year. And the list goes on. So, if it is prospects Dubas wants, Carolina has them.

Looking at Guentzel to Carolina

There is no secret that Jake Guentzel would be a big help to Carolina. He is a top-line winger who has shown throughout his career that he is a proven goal-scorer with Stanley Cup experience. If acquired, he could find a spot on the top line alongside Sebastian Aho or as a major scoring threat on the second line. Meanwhile, he would instantly help a power play that has been a strength of the team all season.

However, even though Carolina would benefit from Guentzel and they may have the pieces required to land him, that doesn’t mean there’s an exact fit like a glove. Carolina does not hide the fact that they do not want to pay a premium for a rental. While this could be alleviated with some sort of contract extension guarantee or a sign-and-trade arrangement, as it stands right now Guentzel is a UFA after the season. At 29 years old, do the Hurricanes want to pay high for Guentzel in both trade assets and salary? His extension will be expensive, and Carolina has a lot of free agents after this season as well. But as a team that has been great in possession metrics but poor in relative conversion the last few years, Guentzel certainly should make them think a little harder.

Main Photo Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports


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