Kyle Dubas Responds After Guentzel Reveals He Did Not Want To Leave

Graham Montgomery
March 28, 2024  (7:41 PM)

Former Pittsburgh Penguins forward Jake Guentzel
Photo credit: Sportsnet

Pittsburgh Penguins general manager Kyle Dubas addressed Jake Guentzel after the former Penguin revealed he never wanted to leave the team. His response was diplomatic as he looks to save his relationship with the winger.

Guentzel receives huge ovation from Penguins fans in return to Pittsburgh

The Penguins finally faced the music this season as the sun appears to have set on the Crosby-Malkin era of competitive Penguins hockey. First-year general manager of the team Kyle Dubas made his fist massive trade as a seller when he dealt Jake Guentzel to the Carolina Hurricanes at the trade deadline. Tuesday marked Guentzel's first visit to Pittsburgh since the trade.
Jake Guentzel becomes emotional as he receives a MASSIVE ovation in his return to Pittsburgh 🥹🐧
Guentzel's dad commented on the support after the game as he predicted the Penguin's fan response. It was certainly a special moment for the former Penguin who played in more than 500 games for the organization.
Jake Guentzel's dad Mike called the support for #59 from the Penguins fanbase incredible, and said, "I bet when he comes back and they'll show the video and all of that, he'll get a large ovation at that point, too." That was absolutely the case 🥹
After the game, Guentzel revealed that he never wanted to leave the Penguins. It sounds like he was hoping to be part of the Crosby-Malkin Penguins until that ship sailed its last voyage. Unfortunately for the 29-year-old, that is simply not the reality of the NHL.
"My intention was to stay. They thought there was a better direction."

Jake Guentzel on being traded from the Penguins.
Kyle Dubas has since responded to Guentzel's comments, showing no hard feelings towards the player. He reiterated that he had hoped to make the playoffs this year and if that was realistic, Guentzel would still be on the team. He really made every effort to keep the gang together, going to extreme lengths in an effort to keep the team competitive. That included acquiring Erik Karlsson in a massive trade with the San Jose Sharks.
"He's entitled to his opinion, especially in this market, to give his opinion. What I would say is that going into this year, I hoped that everything would go to the most optimistic viewpoint, we would be a contending team, and that would dictate decision-making differently than it did. I'm sorry that it ended up being Jake as the one whose contract was up at that time that's how he feels about it. Especially right after a game, competitors like Jake are emotional. He's entitled to feel how he feels, and I don't take umbrage at all."

That being said, the playoffs remain out of reach for the Penguins as the offseason additions failed to materialize in the form of a better on-ice team. The organization now faces more difficult decisions as Sidney Crosby enters the last year of his contract next season.