#59 / Center/Left Wing / Pittsburgh Penguins
Height: 5-11 | Weight: 180 | Born: October 6, 1994
Birthplace: Omaha, NE, USA | Drafted: 77th, 2013 (Pittsburgh)
- Assets: Has excellent hockey sense. Owns a knack for being in the right place at the right time. Can play both wing and center. Is both a solid playmaker and opportunistic finisher.
- Flaws: Lacks optimum size for the National Hockey League game, so he must continue to get bigger and stronger. Also needs to continue to work on his play in the defensive zone.
- Career Potential: Quality, versatile offensive forward with some upside. (Assets, Flaws and Career Potential via The Hockey News player page)
Career 20-Game Rolling Five-on-Five CF% (via Corsica):
2016-17 Usage Chart (via Corsica):
Why you should know who he is: Guentzel made his NHL debut earlier this season (November 21st) and immediately made an impact by tallying twice against the New York Rangers in the first period. He notched 33 points in 40 contests in the regular season which included 17 goals on 81 shots (19.8 SP%). That hot stick has continued into the second season with the young Guentzel notching five goals (and 6 points) in Pittsburgh’s five game first round series against the Columbus Blue Jackets. His goal-per-game playoff pace includes a Game 3 hat trick in Ohio. Guentzel completed the regular season with a five game goalscoring streak.
How the Caps can stop him: Guentzel has faced Washington only once in his career (January 16th, one assist) but that game was offensively unique with 15 goals tallied and Pittsburgh winning 8 to 7 in overtime. His game and skillset helps propel the Penguins’ offense and he has had his engine running at peak performance since the end of March. The Capitals will need to keep Guentzel on the perimeter in their defensive zone and keep an eye on him in neutral ice. He is skilled at creating space for himself around the crease and he makes teams pay (see Columbus). The Capitals will need their defense’s unique combination of size and speed to neutralize the red hot Penguins’ center.