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The Purbalite

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Pens focus on future, likely leading to struggles on ice

The+Penguins+have+made+early+playoff+exits+for+several+years+in+a+row.+Image+courtesy+Pittsburgh+Penguins
The Penguins have made early playoff exits for several years in a row. Image courtesy Pittsburgh Penguins

As the NHL trade deadline wrapped up on Friday, the big news in Pittsburgh was that fan favorite Jake Guentzel was dealt to Carolina as a youth movement began for the Pens. 

Guentzel has been a consistent goal scorer and he was a huge part in the 2017 Penguins Cup run. The Penguins got two conditional picks, winger Michael Bunting, and three prospects with middle of the road upside. 

Some fans were upset about the deal. But Guentzel was sold as a rental player, making his value drop a substantial amount in the deal. 

General Manager Kyle Dubas explained in a press conference a few weeks ago his desire for prospects as opposed to draft picks, and he acted on that preference with this trade. Pittsburgh will get a first-round pick if Carolina makes the Cup finals – otherwise, it will be a second-round pick. The Pens also got a conditional fifth-round pick.

The Pens know what Bunting is about and are hoping for some production out of him. The real value, though, could be in the prospects. They are a couple years out from making the pros, so they haven’t really been seen playing against top competition. Hopefully they can play an impact in the Pittsburgh lineup in years to come. 

While the Guentzel trade makes the Pens worse now, the team has a chance to draft in the top 10 this year. Through the Erik Karlsson trade the team made last summer, the Pens gave away their first-round pick this year. But if Pittsburgh finishes among the bottom 10 teams in the league this year, the pick the Sharks will get from that deal will be changed to the Pens’ first pick in 2025.  

The Penguins also will have the opportunity to make some moves over the summer with contracts expiring after the season ends. 

The Pens also traded Chad Ruhwedel to the Rangers for a fourth-round pick. Ruhwedel was a solid depth guy for the Penguins over the past eight years.  

The future seems questionable for the Penguins, but time will only tell what is in store. 

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Zach Wiatrowski
Zach Wiatrowski, Staff Writer
Junior Zach Wiatrowski is a first-year Staff Writer. He can be found at PPG Paints Arena at a Penguins game, watching Sidney Crosby do his thing 
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