For what’s been an injury-filled season to important players for the Pittsburgh Penguins, Jake Guentzel was for a while the ironman. Guentzel hadn’t missed any time to injury since his rookie season in 2016-17, playing full seasons in 2017-18 and 2018-19 and so far this year. That however has come to an end in a big way, Guentzel is out for 4-6 months after shoulder surgery that was necessitated from a collision into the boards last night.
Here’s what the team release said:
Pittsburgh Penguins forward Jake Guentzel underwent successful shoulder surgery, it was announced today by executive vice president and general manager Jim Rutherford.
The surgery was performed at UPMC Presbyterian Hospital by team physician, Dr. Dharmesh Vyas, and Dr. Ivan Tarkin of UPMC Orthopaedic Trauma Surgery. Guentzel is expected to miss four to six months.
Guentzel, 25, injured his right shoulder when he fell awkwardly into the boards while scoring his 20th goal of the season during the third period of the game last night against the Ottawa Senators. The NHL All-Star leads the team in goals (20) and points (43).
Tough one to take since Guentzel scored 40 goals last year and was on pace to do it again, with even better pace of points too. That’s all over now.
Luckily for the Penguins, Sidney Crosby and Nick Bjugstad are on the rehab trail and likely to be back from their injuries at some point in the relative near future. Brian Dumoulin and Justin Schultz are further out, but will return at some point as well.
Replacing Guentzel will be a huge blow and one the team will have to look into adding in the trade deadline. Having skilled wingers was already a team-weakness even with Guentzel being as the poor season Alex Galchenyuk has been having and Patric Hornqvist limited by injuries of his own. Now without Guentzel, there’s a huge whole for a pretty well-rounded team.
Unfortunately now, the sting for the Pens is their best and most consistent player this season has now disappeared, possibly or probably for the entirety of it. Which is a cruel but fitting ending for the calendar year of 2019 for Pittsburgh.