Pittsburgh Penguins star Jake Guentzel is one of the top trade candidates at this year's NHL Trade Deadline. However, he is currently out with an injury, complicating matters. The 29-year-old is not eligible to return to the ice until the March 8 deadline. That said, Pittsburgh received a major update on his recovery process.

Guentzel has returned to the ice for the first time since his injury, as reported by The Hockey News. He skated on his own after the Penguins completed a full team practice on Monday. Since he is on injured reserve, he won't be allowed to return to game action until March 10.

This season, Guentzel has played 50 games. He has scored 22 goals and 52 points during that span, good for second among Penguins skaters. The 29-year-old has missed five games due to this injury. However, Pittsburgh is 3-1-1 during that span.

Penguins mulling Jake Guentzel trade amid injury

Jake Guentzel has been a productive NHL player for a long time. In the last two seasons, though, the Omaha native has taken it to another level. The Penguins star recorded 84 points and 73 points in the two years before the 2023-24 NHL season.

Guentzel is about to reach NHL Free Agency in the summer. He is due a raise on his next contract, but the Penguins may not be able to get a deal done. Especially given their place in the standings. Pittsburgh is in seventh place in the Metropolitan Division, and are nine points out of a playoff spot.

Pittsburgh has already decided to sell rather than buy at the NHL Trade Deadline. If they keep winning, the team has two options between now and March 8. They could trade Guentzel and receive a major haul of needed future assets. Or, they could retain the pending free agent. That would allow them to push for a playoff spot.

What the Penguins do between now and the NHL Trade Deadline remains to be seen. However, a lot of eyes will be on Pittsburgh until the buzzer sounds on March 8. Jake Guentzel is certainly a name to follow as the deadline inches ever closer.