Red Wings show interest in Bryan Rust but a move unlikely; Jake Guentzel chatter

The Detroit Red Wings have shown interest in forward Bryan Rust but he's unlikely to be traded.

Pittsburgh Penguins v Detroit Red Wings
Pittsburgh Penguins v Detroit Red Wings / Gregory Shamus/GettyImages

The Pittsburgh Penguins and general manager Kyle Dubas are open for business ahead of the trade deadline in what must feel like a very disappointing first season at the helm. Dubas, one of the more aggressive GMs in hockey, made a blockbuster move to add Erik Karlsson this past summer, pairing him with the trio of Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and Kris Letang in what felt like a last-ditch effort to gear up for one last title run. Instead, the Penguins are on the verge of failing to qualify for the postseason for the second straight season, prompting what could be a significant fire sale ahead of Friday's trade deadline.

The top prize on the Penguins being shopped around is forward Jake Guentzel. Guentzel, 29, is a pending free agent and will surely expect to sign a long-term contract this summer. Guentzel is currently on long-time injury reserve, which leaves some questions about his immediate availability, but he's expected to be ready to be activated and available to play two days following the trade deadline.

Guentzel suffered an 'upper-body' injury on Valentine's Day, but Frank Seravalli of Daily Faceoff believes the injury is minor. "The exact nature has been speculated to be a fractured finger, but speaking with teams who are interested in the most impactful forward available, they don’t believe his value will be damaged by the time missed. They’d still have Guentzel for the final month of the regular season, plus an entire playoff run – however long that lasts."

According to NHL insider Elliotte Friedman, the Penguins prefer two prospects rather than a prospect and first-round pick for Guentzel.“From what I understand, Pittsburgh has told teams they are more interested in two prospects, as opposed to a prospect and a first-rounder,” Friedman said. “They prefer prospects over picks. That’s what Pittsburgh has told teams. They’ve told several teams.”

The Detroit Red Wings are a team with the pool of prospects to land a player like Guentzel if they so choose, but that would be a bold decision by general manager Steve Yzerman, especially with the recent injury to Dylan Larkin. The Red Wings must keep pace with the teams nipping at their heels in the wild card race. Still, giving up the type of quality, high-end prospects that it would take to garner a player of Guentzel's caliber only to question if they'd be able to re-sign him in the summer with pending free agents such as Moritz Seider, Lucas Raymond, and Patrick Kane all expected to see a significant raise would raise some eyebrows. Guentzel, similar to DeBrincat, is a two-time 40-goal scorer and would give the Red Wings another high-end talent, but it would be difficult to see Yzerman extend a soon-to-be 30-year-old to an eight-year extension what he'll surely be seeking this summer. Guentzel has totaled 22 goals and 52 points over 50 games this season with the Penguins.

The Detroit Red Wings have interest in Bryan Rust, but it's complicated.

Reports suggest that Yzerman checked in on the availability of veteran winger Bryan Rust, but the Penguins have no interest in asking him to waive his no-trade clause. “I’m under the impression the Penguins went to him recently and said, ‘We aren’t even going to ask you to move it,’ so Rust is going to stay with Pittsburgh,” said Friedman. “He’s highly respected, and teams (still) ask.”

According to Josh Yohe of the Athletic, the Red Wings made the most significant push. “The Detroit Red Wings have shown the most interest in Rust, perhaps not surprisingly,” Yohe wrote. “Rust is a Michigan native, and the young Red Wings are on the verge of making their long-awaited return to the postseason.”

Rust, who turns 32 in May, is a Pontiac native. He's notched 18 goals and 36 points this season for Pittsburgh over 42 games and is a plus-15, averaging over 19 minutes per night. He's a Yzerman-type player who is reliable in all three zones, plus he's under contract for four more seasons after this year for $5.125 million annually.

We'll see what transpires over the next couple of days. Maybe Rust, a two-time Stanley Cup winner, will welcome a homecoming to play with an ascending Detroit team rather than begin a rebuild with the Penguins, where he's spent his entire NHL career.