Carolina Hurricanes Ship Jake Guentzel's Rights to Tampa Bay for a 2025 Rd Draft Choice

Carolina Hurricanes v New York Rangers - Game One
Carolina Hurricanes v New York Rangers - Game One / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages

The draft came and went without much player activity for the Carolina Hurricanes. The Canes made a trade out of the first round of the draft to acquire more draft choices on day 2, but Martin Necas remains Carolina's property. That cannot be said for unrestricted free agent forward, Jake Guentzel. The Canes have traded the rights of Guentzel to the Tampa Bay Lightning for a third-round draft choice in 2025.

The Hurricanes acquired Guentzel from the Pittsburgh Penguins at the trade deadline for Michael Bunting, prospects Vasily Ponomarev and Ville Koivunen, the rights to Cruz Lucius, a conditional first-round draft choice and a conditional fifth-round draft choice.

The 29-year-old played 17 games for the Canes and registered 8 goals and 25 points. Many of his goals in Raleigh were via the empty net. He had 4 goals in 11 playoff games before being eliminated by the New York Rangers.

The likelihood of retaining Guentzel would always be a challenge with the number of free agents on the roster and then losing now-former general manager, Don Waddell, to the Columbus Blue Jackets. Eric Tulsky stepped in and hoped to bring Guentzel back but as the draft went on it appeared less likely that Guentzel would not test the market.

This trade with Tampa Bay confirms the recent rumors that the Lightning were going to be the destination for Guentzel.

Reports before this weekend had Tulsky close with Guentzel and his representation on an extension. This was so much so that people around the NHL believed that it would get done. The opening of the draft had ESPN's writer/reporter, Emily Kaplan, believing the extension would be done and Necas would be traded.

The behind-the-scenes chatter the last 24 hours believed that the Canes matched the 8-year, $64 million proposal from Guentzel.

The fact that this was matched close to the opening of free agency should have no bearing at all on the player's decision to remain with the club. Tulsky did his job and showed his cards at the table and proved to the player that he was a priority. Guentzel appeared to always have doubts about returning to Raleigh and balked at the match. It is possible Guentzel never thought the Canes could or would match and the bluff was called. Guentzel turned his attention elsewhere.

Tampa Bay became the destination and the Lightning moved a lot of money at the draft to create the salary cap space for Guentzel, not free agent to be and captain, Steven Stamkos.

Kudos to rookie general manager, Tulsky, for limiting the damage and acquiring a solid asset for a player destined to leave in just one day. The focus now should be on the restricted free agents, Seth Jarvis, Martin Necas, and Jack Drury ahead of July 1st. Buckle up Caniacs!