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2020-21 Season in Review: Jake Guentzel

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Many people were left wanting more from Guentzel’s postseason. Were they right?

Pittsburgh Penguins v New York Islanders - Game Six Photo by Mike Stobe/NHLI via Getty Images

Vitals

Player: Jake Guentzel

Born: October 6, 1994 (26 years old)

Height: 5’11”

Weight: 180 lbs.

Birthplace: Omaha, NE

Shoots: Left

Draft: 3rd Round, 77th overall, 2013 by the Penguins

2020-21 Statistics: 23 goals, 34 assists for a total of 57 points in 56 games played.

Contract Status: Guentzel has three years remaining on his current contract ($6M AAV) that expires at the conclusion of the 2023-24 season.

History:

2019-20 Pensburgh Season Review (81% A, 16% B)

Playoffs

Many people found that Jake Guentzel left a lot to be desired after scoring 1 goal and 1 assist in the 6 playoff games against the Islanders in the team’s first round exit.

Guentzel recorded 25 shots in goal in those six games, also logging 6 penalty minutes.

Monthly splits

via Yahoo!

Going cold at the wrong time is exactly what happens in the NHL. Even the best goal scorers will have a tendency to dry up for a few games, and if it happens at the wrong time, it’s the only thing people remember.

Regular season 5v5 advanced stats

Data via Natural Stat Trick

Corsi For%: 51.68%

Goals For%: 53.95%

xGF%: 49.12%

Scoring Chance %: 51.9%

High Danger Scoring Chance%: 48.53%

5v5 on-ice shooting%: 8.97%

On-ice save%: 92.34%

Charts, graphs and takeaways

Guentzel’s 2020-21 season was right on par with his past two when it comes to his offensive output. You can see, however, that his 2019-20 season’s spike in defensive impact was more of an anomaly and this past season was more like the previous three.

The even strength defense metrics here line up well with the previous chart. A simple explanation as to why they are so bad? The Penguins don’t rely on Jake Guentzel to be a shutdown defense forward and often aim to optimize their offense when he is on the ice. The wide-open or even run-and-gun offensive style that might be the norm when Guentzel is on the ice will lead to a lot of scoring chances for both teams, and thus, a number like you see here.

Along with all of the clamoring that Jake Guentzel didn’t do enough for the Penguins in the postseason, there was plenty of chatter that the Penguins need someone bigger, someone who will play in front of the net. That argument doesn’t hold up, though, because as you can see, the Penguins generate plenty of offense from the net-front while Jake Guentzel is on the ice.

The same argument can be squashed with this graph. A majority of Guentzel’s shots/goals come from the dirty area in front of the net.

A big takeaway here, aside from the fact that Jake Guentzel’s production was great up until it wasn’t for a six-game stretch, he and Sidney Crosby may just become joined at the hip. Look at all that ice time together!

Jake Guentzel makes your team better. When he’s on the ice, the Penguins are a better team, and vice versa when he’s not.

Guentzel did not miss any time during the 2020-21 season, which is refreshing, given that he was coming off of major shoulder surgery.

Offensive highlights

Jake Guentzel registered a point-per-game over 56 games while coming off of an injured shoulder.

You can simply quiet the people screaming that they need to move on from him by asking two questions.

First, what NHL player doesn’t go through postseason lulls? If the Penguins had defeated the Islanders, Mathew Barzal would’ve been public enemy #1. Yet, the team won, he found a way through in the 2nd and now in the 3rd rounds, and his team is succeeding. It happens to all players.

Second, who do you go after instead and what do you really expect to get with $6 million?

Bottom line

You don’t trade Jake Guentzel. That’s all. It’s not that complicated. He’s going to be 27 years old, may be the best scoring winger to play with Sidney Crosby in his career, and only makes $6 million on the salary cap, while scoring a point-per-game. Don’t trade that.

The big question

You’ve seen the data— now it’s time for your input!

Poll

What grade do you give Jake Guentzel’s 2020-21 season?

This poll is closed

  • 40%
    A
    (222 votes)
  • 53%
    B
    (295 votes)
  • 5%
    C
    (30 votes)
  • 0%
    D
    (5 votes)
  • 0%
    F
    (1 vote)
553 votes total Vote Now