Courtesy of Point Park University

The 2019-20 prospectus: Jake Guentzel


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Jake Guentzel. -- MATT SUNDAY / DKPS

This is the ninth installment in a series of profiles of members of the Penguins' major-league roster, as listed alphabetically on the team's website. There will be one each weekday until all players have been addressed.


Age: 24
Size: 5 foot 11, 185 pounds
Position: Left wing
Acquired: Third-round draft choice, 2013
Salary-cap hit: $6 million, through 2023-24
2018-19 NHL stats: Forty goals, 36 assists in 82 games.

How he fits: Guentzel has developed an excellent chemistry with Sidney Crosby, and it's hard to imagine him being dislodged from his place on the No. 1 line. He is versatile enough, however, that he could fill another role, if needed.

Shortcomings: His size is pretty ordinary, and the more of an offensive force he becomes, the more opponents will target Guentzel for physical punishment. Guentzel probably won't have to spend much time crafting a Selke Trophy acceptance speech to deliver next spring, either.

Strengths: Don't focus solely on his goal-scoring abilities, impressive as they are. Guentzel also is a skilled playmaker and his overall offensive game is enhanced by outstanding hockey sense and instincts.

Hidden variable: Guentzel's goal total for the season will be influenced by whether he gets steady work on the the No. 1 power play. He figures to be a candidate to move into Phil Kessel's spot in the left circle, although playing there would prevent Guentzel from "one-timing" shots the way a right-handed shot could.

2019-20 expectations: Guentzel will be counted on to generate goals on a consistent basis, especially with Kessel removed from the mix. That isn't unreasonable, given the top-line role he figures to fill and the way Guentzel bumped his output from 22 in 2017-18 to 40 last season.

The big question: Can Guentzel put up 40 goals again and, if everything breaks his way, might he make a serious run at scoring 50, a milestone no Penguins player has reached since Evgeni Malkin did it in 2011-12?

All profiles to date can be found here.


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