Trading

NHL trade rumors and live updates: Predictions, big board, deals and latest news ahead of Friday’s deadline

Jake Guentzel skated with a group of injured Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday morning at PPG Paints Arena.

Why does this matter?

Guentzel is on long-term injured reserve with an injury to his shooting hand. He was injured Feb. 14 and has not played since.

He is not eligible to return for action until March 10 — two days after the trade deadline.

But Guentzel has been skating on his own, in a non-contact capacity, dating to the Penguins’ recent nine-day swing out West. As he isn’t eligible to play, Guentzel is at least showing interested GMs he’ll likely be ready to go if he is traded by the Penguins’ Kyle Dubas.

That’s significant because if Guentzel misses any time after the deadline, the Penguins will probably lose some leverage on what they can get for Guentzel.

His situation is already complicated by a contractual clause that permits him to block a trade to 12 teams.

It’s not all good injury news for the Penguins heading into the deadline. Noel Acciari is being evaluated for an upper-body injury and will not play Tuesday night, coach Mike Sullivan said following an otherwise fully attended morning skate.

Acciari has not play a lot this season did to various injuries; when he has, he’s been effective as a fourth-line center and penalty killer.

From afar, even with length remaining on his contract, Acciari should interest GMs who want to upgrade at the lesser sexy areas — depth, defending — that usually matter more in a short series than a long season.

Acciari’s contract was probably going to make any return the Penguins could get for him minimal. But even though he was part of Dubas’ first offseason as GM, Acciari is expendable as Dubas begins the process of adding youth to the roster.

GO FURTHER

What I’m hearing about Penguins trade deadline, Jake Guentzel, Bryan Rust

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