Nebraska-Omaha announced Tuesday that junior center Jake Guentzel has signed an amateur tryout contract with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins of the American Hockey League and will forgo his senior season with the Mavericks.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton is the top affiliate of the Pittsburgh Penguins of the National Hockey League. Guentzel was drafted by the Penguins in the third round (77th overall) of the 2013 NHL Draft.
“We’re obviously disappointed to be losing a player of Jake’s skill and leadership,” said Omaha coach Dean Blais in a statement. “I think Jake put a lot of thought into this decision in consultation with his family, and he believes this is the right move at this stage of his career. We wish him the best.”
Guentzel is coming off his best season yet for the Mavericks. He was a member of the NCHC All-Conference Second Team while leading the Mavericks in scoring with 19 goals and 27 assists for 46 points. The goal and point totals were career highs. He tied for the team lead with three short-handed goals and was second on the team with five power-play goals.
It was the second time Guentzel had led the Mavericks in scoring, doing so in 2014-15 when he registered 39 points and was an NCHC All-Conference Honorable Mention and helped the Mavericks to their first-ever NCAA Frozen Four appearance.
He also was a member of the NCHC All-Rookie Team in 2013-14 when he was third in team scoring with 34 points, including a team-high 27 assists.