Carolina Hurricanes trade rights to forward Jake Guentzel to Tampa Bay Lightning

Carolina Hurricanes trade rights to forward Jake Guentzel to Tampa Bay Lightning

The Carolina Hurricanes made the biggest splash in the NHL before the league’s trade deadline last season by trading for forward Jake Guentzel.

But the Hurricanes will not be keeping Guentzel.

The team announced Sunday that Guentzel, a pending unrestricted free agent, had been traded to the Tampa Bay Lightning for a third-round pick in the 2025 NHL draft.

The Canes and Guentzel were believed to have been working on an eight-year contract that will pay him an average of $8 million or more a season.. Unable to get a deal completed, the Canes made the trade with the Lightning, who opened up more than $11 million of cap space Saturday by trading defenseman Mikhail Sergachev and forward Tanner Jeannot.

Canes general manager Eric Tulsky had said the team would do all it could to keep a player it considered a good fit in Rod Brind’Amour’s system and style of play.

The Canes acquired Guentzel, one of the NHL’s most efficient goal scorers and point producers, March 8 from the Pittsburgh Penguins looking to bolster their lineup for a run at the 2024 Stanley Cup. The Canes traded forwards Michael Bunting, Vasily Ponomarev, Ville Kolvunen and Cruz Lucius in the deal with the Pens for Guentzel and defenseman Ty Smith — the Pens also retained 25% of Guentzel’s contract.

Carolina lost in the second round to the New York Rangers, and has faced an offseason with many roster decisions to be made. Guentzel, 29, was due to become a UFA on Monday, when NHL free agency begins.

In 67 games last season — the first 50 with Pittsburgh — Guentzel finished with 30 goals and 47 assists. His Hurricanes totals: 17 games, eight goals, 17 assists and a plus-16 plus/minus rating.

Guentzel, playing on Sebastian Aho’s line at Carolina, had four goals and five assists in the Canes’ 11 playoff games after producing 58 points in 58 career playoff games in Pittsburgh.

In his exit interview with the media after the Canes’ season, Guentzel said: “I loved my experience here. It’s a great place to play. It was a new experience. You get used to a spot and it’s fun to have a new experience, coming to a place where it’s a new challenge.”

With the Guentzel situation settled, Tulsky and the Canes will continue to work on trying to keep such pending UFA’s as defensemen Brady Skjei and Brett Pesce, and forward Teuvo Teravainen.

The Canes on Sunday made qualifying offers to four restricted free agents: forwards Martin Necas, Seth Jarvis, Jack Drury and defenseman Dylan Coghlan.


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