Welcome to Guentzelvania ladies and gentlemen.
Jake Guentzel has made an incredible impact in the Penguins lineup, ever since getting called up from the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins.
In 2013, the Penguins selected Guentzel in the 3rd round, (77th overall). Usually NHL fans are interested and have all eyes on who their team is picking in the first or second round. The Penguins ended up trading their first round pick for Jarome Iginla prior to the 2013 draft, so the average Pens fans were not paying attention, as they usually would be.
Guentzel went on to the University of Nebraska-Omaha piling on 119 points in the 108 games played with them.
Guentzel was yet another Ray Shero draft pick. In fact, he was one of Ray’s last draft picks of the Shero era in Pittsburgh. It’s remarkable how Shero is technically still some how involved with today’s Pittsburgh Penguins. His late round picks of guys like Bryan Rust, Matt Murray, Scott Wilson, and others have lead to have been a key part as to why the Pens have been so successful. However, lets remember that Shero got fired for a reason, and Jim Rutherford took care of business.
When the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins were approaching the playoffs last season, Guentzel joined the team for the final 11 games before the playoffs began. In those 11 games, Jake scored 6 points (2G, 4 A) which is pretty remarkable for someone so young like Guentzel to do.
Then the playoffs came along and a switch went on for Guentzel, who had 14 points in 10 playoff games last post season for the Baby Pens.
After the conclusion of the 2015-16 season, Guentzel had to make sure he was on top of his game in order to crack a roster spot with the defending Stanley Cup Champions. He did in fact have an impressive pre-season, but it was not enough to make the line up just yet. One of the hardest things for a rookie like Guentzel was to make an NHL lineup. Players like him, who usually get drafted in later rounds don’t crack NHL rosters all the time. Just to top it all off, he had to make the roster of the team who just won the Cup.
He started getting attention in the AHL this season, in which he had 17 points before getting the call up to the Penguins on November 21st. The injury bug had begun for the Pens and it would not let up the whole entire season. In Guentzel’s NHL debut, he scored his first NHL goal on his very first shift and his first shot. It didn’t even stop there; Guentzel ended up scoring twice in his first 15 minutes of his first game. Not many players could say that they’ve done that, and Penguins fans were on high alert after the young gun’s first game.
Things went very well for Jake in his first season in the NHL. He ended up receiving the honor of making the 2016-17 AHL All-Rookie Team and even getting selected to take part in the AHL All Star Game. However, Jake was too busy tearing it up in the NHL and even got the chance to play with Sidney Crosby on the same line.
Crosby had already been killing it with Conor Sheary, but as soon as Guentzel joined the line, things were looking amazing. The “Sid and the Kids” line were so impressive towards the end of the regular season. Guentzel had ended up scoring 33 points in only 40 games. To put that in perspective, he had more points than Dylan Larkin, Gabriel Landeskog, and Andrew Ladd, none of which played less than 72 games. Guentzel did this in almost half as many.
We have so much to look forward to as Guentzel already has six points in only five playoff games. Guentzel even scored the OT winner in game three to achieve a hat trick. The future looks so bright with Guentzel and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him as a Stanley Cup Champion here soon.