William Nylander may be locked in with the Toronto Maple Leafs for the foreseeable future, but recent comments from Jake Guentzel’s agent indicate the Penguins might not be receiving a similar answer any time soon.
“Could it get ugly?” Guentzel’s agent, Ben Hankinson, said Saturday about the upcoming contract negotiations on SiriusXM NHL Network Radio, per The Fourth Period’s David Pagnotta. “Yes, it could.”
Guentzel, who currently holds a 12-team no-trade clause, is on a $6 million deal this year and is due a raise, likely of at least $2 million.
Harkinson was noncommittal in committing to whether or not he will be receiving that raise in Pittsburgh during his radio appearance.
“Kyle has to make decisions, too, which way the team is going and the investment he’s going to make with Jake,” Harkinson said. “Is it the same direction? It’s going to come down to how they play and we’ll put our heads together.”
“And like we talked about a couple of minutes ago, all the things that go into trade deadlines, [Kyle Dubas] might look into what he can get for Jake or what it costs to sign him. There’s a lot that will happen in two months, and I don’t know the answers to that.”
#LetsGoPens Jake Guentzel's agent, Ben Hankinson, on the situation with us earlier this hour on @SiriusXMNHL:— David Pagnotta (@TheFourthPeriod) January 6, 2024
“He's on the last year of a deal. The good news is I have a really good relationship with Kyle Dubas. Jake Guentzel is in a great spot. He started his career there. It's…
From The Athletic’s Rob Rossi on Harkinson’s comments:
One open question is whether he and Dubas have talked about a new deal for Guentzel since the start of the regular season. Another is whether Hankinson and Dubas have already determined both parties should wait until after the season for serious negotiations.
Pressed on those specific points by The Athletic, Hankinson said in a text message, “I’ve said nothing but too much already.”
Harkinson’s comments also echoed a report from Pagnotta on NHL Tonight the day before.
“I can tell you right now no contract negotiations’ve taken place between the Penguins and Guentzel’s camp and his agent Ben Hankinson,” Pagnotta said. “Kind of status quo at the moment.”
“My understanding is that Guentzel is comfortable waiting this out to understand and have a clearer picture as to what the future, both short- and long-term, of the Pittsburgh Penguins is going to be... Don’t be surprised if things get pushed to the offseason before things start to get significant between the Penguins and Guentzel’s camp.”
This news is more of the same. Like we’ve heard all season, the two parties aren’t close to an answer to Guentzel’s extension, and it’s still unclear if negotiations are yet underway.