When Jake Guentzel was called up for the Penguins earlier this season, many of us were hoping that he would be able to make a spot for himself. Just a few months later, he is showing off some playmaking abilities that are making it clear why he has made that spot for himself.
Looking off defenders to make passes
Against the Flyers in the Stadium Series game, outdoors at Heinz Field, we saw two beautiful instances of Jake Guentzel looking off defenders and the goalie to make nice passes for assists.
Not the first time we’ve seen this kind of move from Guentzel, and like I mentioned before — it wouldn’t even be the only play like this in the Stadium Series game.
It’s honestly baffling to me how someone like Sidney Crosby can get lost on the ice. That should be the one player who never gets lost from defenders.
Incredible awareness from Guentzel here. Knowing that Nick Bonino was where he was, and taking what was available to him instead of forcing a shot.
It was a nice bounce to initially fall to Guentzel, but what a play. Ivan Provorov looking him right in the face and he moved the puck to Bonino instead.
Winning puck battles
When playing with Sidney Crosby, time and space is everything. Just the slightest puck battle being won by Guentzel helped give Crosby the room he needed to get a shot off and score a goal.
Coming right off of a faceoff, Guentzel tied up Tomas Tatar briefly.
After Tatar was tied up, both Guentzel and Crosby moved towards the puck and the space on the left side of the ice.
Pushing the puck up the ice and all of a sudden, Crosby has all the time in the world, and that’s all he needed.
Give and Go
Against the Canucks, Guentzel showed off his playmaking ability and scoring ability in one play at the same time.
After circling back through the offensive zone and finding the puck on his stick, he looked to set up Sidney Crosby for a goal.
As Crosby gets the puck, Guentzel immediately goes to the net looking for a pass.
Just like that, the give and go is perfectly executed and it’s a goal for Guentzel.
One of the more remarkable things that are seen from young players like Jake Guentzel are the vision they show on the ice.
Against the Columbus Blue Jackets, Guentzel made a fantastic pass across the ice to Nick Bonino. The patience he showed when he went to one leg and waited until he had the passing lane here is just incredible.
Against the Hurricanes, Jake Guentzel made a quick play along the boards to chip the puck to Evgeni Malkin, who would drive to the net and score.
The ages-old play that works when you’re playing with a ringer or players like Crosby and Malkin — give them the puck and get the hell out of the way.
Looking back through the other 5 or so games in which Guentzel has either scored a goal or an assist, you see more smart plays like these. He has only played in 23 games so far at the NHL level, but he is showing flashes of brilliance already. Seeing the way he is fitting in with Sidney Crosby in similar ways to that of Conor Sheary are giving Penguins fans a lot to be excited about for the future moving forward. For years and years, there was clamoring for a winger for Sidney Crosby, and trying many options didn’t work out. Who would have thought that one of the players who would click so well with him would be a 22-year old 3rd-round draft pick? Jake Guentzel definitely seems to fit that bill for the kind of player.