Player: Jake Guentzel
Born: October 6, 1994 (Age 27 season)
Height: 5’ 11”
Weight: 180 pounds
Hometown: Omaha, Nebraska, United States
Draft: 2013 NHL Draft, 3rd Round (77th overall) by the Pittsburgh Penguins
2021-22 Statistics: 76 games played —40 goals, 44 assists, 84 points, 44 penalty minutes
Contract Status: Of the 17 players who scored 40+ goals this season, only two were paid less than Jake Guentzel is on his current contract, and those two are in for major pay days this offseason. At $6 million a year for the next two seasons, Guentzel remains a bargain.
Fun facts: Though not a hockey powerhouse by any means, Jake Guentzel is actually the fourth alumnus from the University of Nebraska-Omaha to play for the Pittsburgh Penguins.
History: Guentzel slipped to a majority B grade last year from readers after consecutive seasons bringing home an A grade.
Coming off a rough playoff performance against the Islanders in 2021, Jake Guentzel rebounded in a major way with an elite level performance against the New York Rangers. While it wasn’t enough to push the Penguins across the finish line, the series loss in no way rests on the shoulders of Guentzel who posted eight goals and ten total points in the seven game affair. This is the third time in his career that Guentzel reached double digit point totals in a playoff season and first since 2018.
Story of the Season
For the second time in his career, Jake Guentzel hit the 40-goal mark and became the only player not named Sidney Crosby or Evgeni Malkin to record multiple 40-goal seasons for the Pittsburgh Penguins in this Crosby/Malkin era. On top of his 40 goals scored, Guentzel recorded a career high 44 assists, resulting in a personal best 84 points and pushed him over a point per game for the first time.
Like his line mates Sidney Crosby and Bryan Rust, this is kind of performance is becoming the norm for Guentzel, though unlike the latter Rust, this is perhaps a bit more expected. It was clear from the first game Guentzel played in the NHL that he had a scorers touch and all he’s done since then in continue to fill the net. His 40 goals was good for 16th best in the league and comparing his contract to others around him, Guentzel remains a bargain for his level of production.
Stats show Guentzel was expected to score a ton this season, but he still beat his expected goals number of 37.3 by about three goals to hit the 40 mark, according to MoneyPuck.
Regular season 5v5 advanced stats
Data via Natural Stat Trick. Ranking is out of 17 forwards on the team who qualified by playing a minimum of 150 minutes.
Corsi For%: 53.4% (9th)
Goals For%: 57.8% (6th)
xGF%: 53.8% (10th)
Scoring Chance %: 55.1% (8th)
High Danger Scoring Chance%: 54.4%(10th)
5v5 on-ice shooting%: 8.9%(4th)
On-ice save%: 93.1% (7th)
Goals/60: 1.3 (1st)
Assist/60: 1.24 (5th)
Points/60: 2.54 (1st)
When it came to racking up goals and points this season, no one did it at a better rate than Jake Guentzel. Top to bottom here Guentzel is a huge driver of play for the Penguins and has the finishing touch to top it all off whether it’s with his own stick or dishing it to one of his teammates for the tally.
Crosby line was very, very wide-open this year with chances at either end. This top line produces the bulk of the scoring for the Penguins and it’s not hard to see why. They carry play offensively and have the scorers to make it all count in the offensive zone.
Guentzel’s defensive play may have dropped over the last two seasons but it’s a trade off you must be willing to make when looking at what he does on offense. He’s terrific on the power play to top it off and is consistently one of the Penguins best finishers.
Since scoring two goals in the first game of his career back in 2017, Guentzel has not stopped pouring pucks into the net but it’s quite nice to see his secondary scoring improve as his career has gone along.
Jake Guentzel has a point in 20 of his last 21 games.— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) January 18, 2022
Oh, and he has also reached 20 goals for a fifth consecutive season. pic.twitter.com/P7OlBzREtV
Fun fact: Jake Guentzel leads Pittsburgh with 35 points (19G-16A) in 26 road games. pic.twitter.com/vcAt2nP3KB— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) March 5, 2022
With this goal, Jake Guentzel hits the 80-point plateau for the first time in his career.— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) April 22, 2022
Since 2005.06, only Sidney Crosby (11x) Evgeni Malkin (5x), and Phil Kessel (2x) have accomplished this feat. pic.twitter.com/wulUEoRHkk
10-game point streak for Jake Guentzel ✔️ pic.twitter.com/4PwAPfU5M0— NHL (@NHL) November 30, 2021
It's the 1st period in Game 2 and Jake Guentzel already has three goals in the series. pic.twitter.com/GrcSm1bIk8— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) May 5, 2022
CAN WE TALK ABOUT JAKE GUENTZEL'S HAND-EYE COORDINATION!? pic.twitter.com/blhMaosdhT— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) May 16, 2022
WE'RE ALL TIED UP— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) May 4, 2022
Jake Guentzel gets his second goal of the night! pic.twitter.com/jQ49QSkNFU
Jake Guentzel did what Jake Guentzel does in 2021-22 and it doesn’t come as much of a surprise to anyone. He was on pace to score well over 40 goals two years ago before a shoulder injury and was on pace last year in a shortened season. This was Guentzel’s first full season of hockey since 2019 and his numbers are just extrapolations from the last two seasons.
It’s long been known that Guentzel has no problem scoring goals, but his assists numbers exploded this season, besting his previous career high by eight and made him a point per game player for the first time in his career. All in all, just another run of the mill elite season from Guentzel that helped keep the Penguins in playoff position all season long.
There isn’t really much more you can ask for from Guentzel than what he gave the Penguins last season. A repeat performance is the best case scenario unless he decides he wants to set his bar a little higher and make a push for 50 goals. Hovering right around that point per game mark is about the perfect place for Guentzel to be given his situation and his contract number.
Question to ponder
What is Guentzel’s goal scoring ceiling?
He’s hit the 40 goal mark twice now and should at least get there again next season barring a catastrophic injury. All that’s left to wonder is that 40 goal mark is his limit or can he pot a few more and threaten the 50-goal mark? While Geuntzel has scored 40 goals on the nose twice no Penguins players has gone 40+ since Malkin hit 42 in 2017-18. Malkin is also the last Penguin to score 50, all the way back in 2011-12 when he was named MVP.
How would your grade Jake Guentzel’s 2021-22 season?
This poll is closed