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Should the Pittsburgh Penguins Pay Jake Guentzel Now or Later?

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The Pittsburgh Penguins have some important business decisions to make this summer. They have to decide whether or not they want to trade guys like Conor Sheary (owed $3 million in 2018-2019 and 2019-2020), Carl Hagelin (owed $4 million next season), Derrick Brassard (owed $5 million next season), Phil Kessel (owed $6.8 million in 2018-2019, 2019-2020, and 2020-2021), Kris Letang (owed $7.25 million in 2018-2019, 2019-2020, and 2020-2021), and Matt Hunwick (owed $2.25 million in 2018-2019 and 2019-2020).

Pittsburgh needs to figure out whether or not to re-sign Riley Sheahan, Bryan Rust, Jamie Oleksiak, Daniel Sprong, and Dominik Simon. They are all restricted free agents and I expect all of them to be back. Speaking of restricted free agents, Jake Guentzel is a restricted free agent next summer and should general manager Jim Rutherford sign him to a contract extension this summer or wait?

If I were Jim Rutherford, I would find a way to sign Guentzel to a big contract extension this summer. Teams might over pay for him and Rutherford may not be able to match it. Guentzel is 23 years old and he has been spectacular for the Pittsburgh Penguins in his NHL career so far.

Guentzel has played in 122 career regular season games and he has scored 38 goals and recorded 43 assists. His plus/minus was -2. In his playoff career, Guentzel has played in 37 games and he has scored 23 goals and recorded 19 assists. His plus/minus was 11.

Rutherford will probably trade a player like Carl Hagelin and possibly a Phil Kessel, Matt Hunwick, Kris Letang, or a Conor Sheary so that there will be cap room in order to give Jake Guentzel a contract extension. He should get a six-year extension worth $38.5 million total.

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