The Pittsburgh Penguins are looking to bounce back after missing the Stanley Cup Playoffs in 2023. However, they'll have to begin the upcoming campaign without one of their more important forwards. Pittsburgh announced on Friday that Jake Guentzel will miss the start of the season due to ankle surgery. The 28-year-old will be reevaluated in 12 weeks.

“As Jake continued to increase the intensity of his preparation for the upcoming season, it was apparent that his ankle injury was not resolving in a way that was satisfactory to he or the Penguins,” general manager Kyle Dubas said Friday, via “It was decided that surgery would be the best way to ensure Jake would be at his best in 2023-24.”

Guentzel has been a reliable player for the Penguins since debuting in 2016-17. He has scored at least 20 goals in each of the last six seasons. Furthermore, his 159 goals since 2018-19 are tied for the 14th most goals in the NHL during that time.

The Omaha, Nebraska native is a two-time 40-goal-scorer, as well. He last scored 40 goals in 2021-22 when he posted a career-high 87 points. He followed that up with a 36-goal, 73-point performance this past season.

Pittsburgh added to their roster this summer in an attempt to return to the playoffs. Among their notable acquisitions are forwards Lars Eller and Reilly Smith, as well as defenseman Ryan Graves.

Guentzel is a major loss for the Penguins roster early in the season, and it'll be interesting to see how Pittsburgh fares in his absence. The Penguins begin their 2023-24 campaign on October 10 against Connor Bedard and the Chicago Blackhawks.