In the latest Insider Trading segment on TSN, Pierre LeBrun highlights that Jake Guentzel of the Pittsburgh Penguins has emerged as the primary trade target for the Edmonton Oilers. Despite uncertainties surrounding Guentzel’s availability, the NHL insider insists he remains their preferred choice. At the same time, Elliotte Friedman expressed on the 32 Thoughts podcast that, in his opinion, if Guentzel is available, he’s the player the Oilers would like to acquire, identifying him as “their guy” after assessing their needs in the market.
That begs the question: if Ken Holland wants Guentzel and the Penguins haven’t yet decided if they’re going to trade him, how long does Edmonton wait? And, what do they do about other names they’ve been kicking tires on in the trade market?
Oilers Have Been Linked to Numerous Players in Trade Talk
Edmonton is actively seeking a top-six winger for their second line, and while recent line adjustments have shown positive results, Guentzel is considered a significant upgrade to any possible combination the Oilers can throw together with their current mix. With an impressive 22 goals and 51 points in 49 games this season, he represents a top-tier player who could elevate the Oilers’ offensive capabilities, providing a formidable top-six in the NHL.
Despite other trade options being explored, including Sean Walker, Scott Laughton, Chris Tanev, Jordan Eberle, and Vladimir Tarasenko, reports indicate that none match the appeal of Guentzel. The Oilers prioritize him over other possibilities, especially if the trade demands from other teams involve a first-round pick, which Ken Holland intends to retain for potential negotiations with the Penguins.
Oilers Likely to Wait on Guentzel’s Availability
It’s important to note that the Penguins have not officially made Guentzel available. There is still talk they are trying to re-sign him, but the ask is quite high. There’s also uncertainty about the direction of that franchise. The belief is that the Penguins aren’t afraid to trade him considering the returns on the market for other players, but GM Kyle Dubas isn’t actively shopping the winger yet.
That means the Oilers have to wait. If he’s their guy, all other trade talks will need to be pushed to the side for now and placed in the Plan B category.
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A notable aspect of the potential Guentzel trade is that he would be a pure rental for the Oilers. As a pending unrestricted free agent, any long-term deal with a high rumored asking price of up to $10 million per season is financially untenable for Edmonton, given their upcoming commitments to key players like Leon Draisaitl, Connor McDavid, and Evan Bouchard, among others. This move signifies the Oilers’ willingness to go all-in for a short-term playoff run, considering Guentzel their perfect fit.
Is Guentzel the Right Fit For the Oilers? And, How Long Should They Wait?
Friedman suggests that the Oilers’ recent loss to the Vegas Golden Knights, ending their 16-game winning streak, has heightened their desire for a game-changing player like Guentzel. The defeat irked everyone in the organization and underscored the need for a deeper lineup. Acquiring Guentzel, according to Friedman, could position the Oilers as a formidable four-line team in a seven-game series.
However, the challenge lies in the timing of Guentzel’s potential availability. The Oilers face the dilemma of waiting for him while risking missing out on other trade opportunities. Holland has been exploring various names, but with no guarantee on when Guentzel might be on the market, the Oilers must carefully weigh their options to strike the right balance between patience and seizing valuable trade opportunities before they vanish.