It appears the Pittsburgh Penguins won’t be getting any long-term injured reserve relief from Jake Guentzel at the beginning of the season after all. Speaking with reporters today in the wake of yesterday’s Erik Karlsson trade, Penguins general manager Kyle Dubas said Guentzel is only expected to miss around the first five games of the season after undergoing ankle surgery last week, which wouldn’t qualify him to start the year on LTIR. LTIR requires players to miss ten games or 24 days with an injury.
After clearing $3.1MM in cap space via yesterday’s massive trade, Pittsburgh wouldn’t have needed Guentzel’s $6MM cap hit on LTIR to start the season to become cap-compliant anyways. It’s good news for Pittsburgh, who now won’t be without their top-line goal-scoring winger as long as previously thought. As they learned the hard way last season, every game will matter for the Penguins to avoid missing the postseason for a second straight campaign.
More from Dubas on the state of the Penguins today:
- The Penguins are likely done with any major moves, Dubas confirmed, saying, “I think this will be the group,” with training camp six weeks away. It’s been quite an eventful first offseason in Pittsburgh for Dubas, whose forward corps projects to have at least six new faces on opening night – Reilly Smith, Matthew Nieto, Noel Acciari, Lars Eller, Vinnie Hinostroza, and Rem Pitlick, making it a 50% turnover from last season. With virtually no financial flexibility left to exhaust, this isn’t a surprising comment.
- Dubas also gave some insight into how he’ll manage the salary cap in-season, saying he won’t be afraid to place players on waivers, something he did with frequency during his time with the Toronto Maple Leafs. He also confirmed Pittsburgh is on track to carry one player short of the maximum 23-man roster and will just have one extra forward and one extra defenseman on the roster for opening night. Nicolas Aube-Kubel, Travis Boyd, Michael Amadio, and Adam Brooks are some notable players Dubas lost on waivers recently with Toronto.