New contracts for franchise icons like Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang all but guaranteed they will play with the Pittsburgh Penguins for their whole careers.
Aside from the obvious Sidney Crosby, two more Penguins forwards have the opportunity to spend their whole career in Pittsburgh.
President of hockey operations Brian Burke recently stated that re-signing Bryan Rust was the teams top priority heading into the offseason.
Burke and general manager Ron Hextall made that obvious by giving Rust a new six-year contract not long after the season ended.
The contract will take Rust until he is 36-years-old; in hockey years, that’s about the time players begin to consider a career off the ice.
Maybe one more contract follows for Rust, but that would be a final deal to walk him into retirement, much like Malkin received.
Another name that should stick around alongside Rust is his fellow American linemate Jake Guentzel.
Keeping Guentzel around for his whole career is as simple as he is one of the team’s, if not soon to be league’s, top goal scorers and you can’t lose a player like that.
When the 2022-23 season starts, Guentzel will be 28-years-old and has two years left on his deal.
When the deal ends, Guentzel won’t quite be 30, but close enough to show similarities to the recent Rust situation.
Players hitting their prime playing alongside Crosby and have potential to be team leaders when their captain departs.
Fans have already begun talk about what a new Guentzel deal looks like, and it should be similar to the deal just signed by Nazem Kadri.
A seven, maybe eight-year deal worth $7-8 million annually should not be out of the question for Guentzel.
Penguins fans have been blessed to watch the entire careers of Crosby, Malkin, Letang, and even Mario Lemieux; why not add some other key pieces to championship teams to that list?
One thing to keep in mind is that keeping Rust and Guentzel around for their entire careers also correlates with the Penguins remaining competitive.
If the post Crosby, Malkin, Letang Penguins are free falling for a rebuild, Rust and Guentzel will turn into prime trade pieces.
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