Penguins lose Jake Guentzel for 4-6 months after shoulder surgery, continuing team's injuries woes
It's the latest blow in a long string of bad luck for the Penguins
The Pittsburgh Penguins cannot catch a break this season, at least in the injury department. The team suffered another brutal blow on Tuesday morning, when it was announced that winger Jake Guentzel would miss the next four to six months after undergoing successful shoulder surgery.
Guentzel, 25, suffered a right shoulder injury as he crashed hard into the boards after scoring a goal during Monday night's win over the Ottawa Senators in Pittsburgh. The winger exited the game in the third period and didn't return.
The Penguins have had to battle and overcome injuries to key players -- including Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Nick Bjugstad, Patric Hornqvist, Kris Letang, Bryan Rust and Brian Dumoulin -- all season long. The loss of Guentzel will be another major challenge, as the winger currently leads the team in goals (20) and points (43) and has been a catalyst for the offense.
The majority of Guentzel's damage has been done at even-strength, as 14 of his 20 goals and 33 of his 43 points have come at even strength.
Despite the plethora of injuries plaguing Pittsburgh, the Pens have managed to not only stay in the hunt but also establish themselves as one of the Eastern Conference's top teams. They've been one of the most resilient teams in the league through the first three months of the season and they'll hope to find similar success in Guentzel's absence.
The Penguins are 24-11-4 though their first 39 games and hold the fourth-best point percentage in the East. They currently sit second in the Metropolitan division, seven points behind the Washington Capitals with a game in-hand.
The good news for Pittsburgh is that Crosby and Bjugstad may be preparing for a return soon, which would certainly help provide a boost to a group sans Guentzel up front. It's also worth noting that Guentzel's inevitable Long Term Injured Reserve placement will help open up cap space for the Penguins to play with around the trade deadline, which could allow them to look into adding some insurance in forward depth.
Prior to getting injured on Monday, Guentzel was named an All-Star for the first time in his career.
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