PITTSBURGH – The Pittsburgh Penguins have hired Kyle Dubas as president of hockey operations.
Dubas becomes only the second person in team history to hold the position. In particular, he will be responsible for establishing the strategy and philosophy of the organization’s hockey department.
The 37-year-old Dubas has spent the past nine seasons with the Toronto Maple Leafs, including the last five as general manager. The team announced last month, following a second round elimination, that his contract would not be renewed.
“Throughout his career, Kyle has demonstrated that he is at the forefront of hockey and has all the qualities we look for in a point guard – integrity, intelligence and a complete commitment to the development of a winning culture,” Fenway Sports Group said in a statement.
Under Dubas, the Maple Leafs went 221-109-42 and had three of the five best seasons in team history in winning and point percentage. The team also reached the first round of the playoffs this spring for the first time since 2004.
For their part, the Penguins were excluded from the spring tournament for the first time since the 2005-06 season, the first campaign of the core including Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.
The team went 40-31-11 and finished one point behind the Florida Panthers and last in the playoffs. General manager Ron Hextall was fired the day after the Penguins’ last game, as were Brian Burke, the club’s first president of hockey operations, and assistant general manager Chris Pryor.
Dubas inherits the oldest team in the NHL. The Penguins also have several players with long-term contracts and no-trade clauses. The succession is slim since the team has often traded prospects for veterans with the objective of winning in the short term.
“I’ve heard a lot of people express doubts about the possibility of seeing this team go for the big honours. If these people are willing to bet against (Crosby, Malkin and Letang), then they do, Dubas said at a press conference. I intend to bet on them. I think this band can still claim top honors. ”
Despite this mentality, the team has not made it past the first round of the playoffs since 2018. However, it has won the Stanley Cup three times with the same core, in 2009, 2016 and 2017. Dubas will have to assess whether the group can remain competitive or if he should wipe the slate clean.
The team also has several older players with full or partial no-trade clauses, including forwards Jeff Carter and Bryan Rust and defenseman Jeff Petry.
“Yes, these are real issues,” admitted Dubas. I think that has an impact on what we can add on a depth level and on a youth level. This will be the key. ”
One of his first tasks will be to find a general manager.
Following the Maple Leafs’ elimination, Dubas said he didn’t necessarily want to continue working as general manager, not least because of the stress it caused within his young family.