In an announcement coming from the Pittsburgh Penguins, the team has placed forward Jake Guentzel on injured reserve while recalling Jonathan Gruden, Vinnie Hinostroza, and Valtteri Puustinen from their AHL affiliate, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. In a subsequent announcement, Chris Johnston of TSN reports that Guentzel is expected to be out for around a month, putting his trade deadline candidacy into question.
Ultimately, Guentzel’s injury status will likely not steer any teams away from acquiring his services by March 8th, given that his playoff track record has been so strong since he first entered the league. As a team already on the bubble of the 2024 Stanley Cup playoff race, the absence of Guentzel will almost certainly hurt Pittsburgh’s playoff hopes.
If the Penguins wait until March 8th to trade Guentzel, the acquiring team will only be missing Guentzel for about a week, unless there is an unexpected setback with his current injury. Because he may only miss a few games on a new team, Guentzel’s price tag likely won’t drop by the time the trade deadline rolls around.
In regards to the trio of players recalled in this transaction, Gruden and Hinostroza have both been in the AHL for a month or more. Of the three, Puustinen has been the most successful playing in Pittsburgh this season, scoring one goal and eight points in 21 games serving in a depth role.