The Pittsburgh Penguins have found their new leader as the team named Kyle Dubas president of hockey operations. Talks between the two sides have been ongoing for a couple of weeks after Dubas was shockingly let go by the Toronto Maple Leafs. While early chatter suggested he may be hired as the team’s new general manager (GM), Dubas wanted to have full autonomy of a hockey club, and will essentially have all the say on transactions in Pittsburgh.
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Dubas has spent the past nine seasons with the Maple Leafs, including the last five seasons as the Maple Leafs GM. He was an inexperienced executive when Toronto awarded him the position and while the results may not have been what either side wanted these past five seasons, the Maple Leafs are progressing in a positive direction and made it further this season than they have in close to two decades.
The Penguins ownership group released a statement regarding their new hire and made it loud and clear they feel Dubas is the perfect fit. The organization loves his passion for the game, his innovative mindset and his commitment to building a winning culture. Dubas reiterated much of the same regarding the ownership group, calling them ‘first-in-class’ throughout the process.
Time for Dubas to Roll Up His Sleeves
Dubas takes over the helm in Pittsburgh and has some serious work to do to clean up Ron Hextall’s mess. His first order of business may be deciding on what to do with goaltender Tristan Jarry.
Jarry is a pending unrestricted free agent and is set to hit the open market on July 1. The Penguins have Casey DeSmith signed for next season but need to decide what the fate of Jarry will be. He’s been inconsistent at times and health has been a bit of a concern, but at 28 years old, he may be the team’s best option moving forward.
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Dubas is never shy to make bold moves and this is something that could serve him well in Pittsburgh as the Penguins are looking to get back to contending for a Stanley Cup. There needs to be some big changes to the team’s roster and there’s nobody better suited to sign off on the decisions.
Penguins Need to be Aggressive on the Trade Market
One thing Dubas isn’t shy about is making a trade which he feels improves his hockey club. As GM of the Maple Leafs he made several leaps of faith to try and acquire talent, sometimes sending out multiple high draft picks to make the deal work.
As president in Pittsburgh, it needs to be much of the same as the Penguins core is getting up there in age and are trying to win the Cup immediately. Look for Dubas to be aggressive with his draft picks and try to upgrade the Pens roster for the 2023-24 season. Some trade candidates to consider moving out of Pittsburgh include forward Mikael Granlund and defenseman Marcus Pettersson. Once Dubas gets settled into his role, expect to see trade talks pick up in a major way.
Penguins and Maple Leafs Have Newfound Rivalry
After a crazy sequence between Dubas and Maple Leafs president Brendan Shanahan, Toronto’s president decided he wanted to move on and head in a different direction. Now with the news of his promotion in Pittsburgh, this certainly creates an interesting element between the two hockey teams. It will be interesting to see where their draft tables are aligned in Nashville.
Finally, after a couple of weeks of speculation, the Penguins have landed Dubas and have given him full control of their hockey club. It’s obvious they love what they heard during the interview process and now it’s time to see if the young executive has what it takes to lead a team to the ultimate prize.