The Pittsburgh Penguins’ lineup could be getting a significant boost, should the NHL season resume following its pause amid the coronavirus pandemic.
All-Star forward Jake Guentzel’s recovery from shoulder surgery is on schedule, and he has not faced any setbacks during rehab, according to Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford.
When Guentzel awkwardly hit the boards after scoring a goal against Ottawa on December 30, the initial timetable for a possible return was four to six months.
Rutherford said it appears to be closer to the four-month estimate than the six.
“If you look at when he was injured and what the projection was on the timeline for him to return, it was four to six months," Rutherford said Wednesday during a conference call with media.
"So, if you take the shortest period, that would be the end of April.
"But I would expect that knowing Jake Guentzel that he’s going to be ready."
Penguins GM Jim Rutherford offered some words of encouragement in this afternoon's media availability— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) March 25, 2020
And this morning? He watched the Penguins win the 1991 Stanley Cup. pic.twitter.com/4NICzdFFXX
While the season remains on pause, it is possible Guentzel could be done with his rehab and be ready to play immediately when games are finally rescheduled.
That would be a huge addition to the lineup for the Penguins, who are in third place in the Metropolitan Division, four points back of the first-place Washington Capitals.
At the time of his injury, Guentzel’s 20 goals led the Penguins and were tied with the Chicago Blackhawks’ Patrick Kane for 11th in the league.
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