Kyle Dubas Facing Similar Situation In Pittsburgh As He Did In Toronto

The Pittsburgh Penguins made it official by hiring Kyle Dubas as the new President of Hockey Operations. This was 10 days after Dubas was fired as the general manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Recall, Dubas said he wanted to be the general manager in Toronto or he was not going to be a general manager this summer. Well, after a weird situation went down in Toronto with him and team President Brendan Shanahan, Dubas found himself out of a job and taking calls with the Fenway Sports Group.

While there were reports he may not want to be the general manager or he was waiting for another job in another Canadian city, Dubas ultimately signed with the Penguins and got the opportunity to run the hockey club.

NHL Rumors: On the Kyle Dubas and the Pittsburgh Penguins

But if you look at it, the Pittsburgh Penguins are in the exact same position the Toronto Maple Leafs are in. The one difference is the Penguins are an aging team, while the Maple Leafs were a younger team.

Like the Maple Leafs, the Penguins are up against the salary cap. They need to address the bottom six, goaltending, and defence. Sound familiar. The Maple Leafs have the same issues. Pittsburgh has $20 million in salary cap space to work with and has tough decisions to make.

Now, Dubas at his end-of-year presser stated he was open to exploring trading one of Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, William Nylander, and John Tavares. However, in Pittsburgh, he will have to build around an aging Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and Kris Letang. Crosby has shown he is still one of the best players in the world.

While Dubas had a great trade deadline acquiring players like Ryan O’Reilly, Jack McCabe, Luke Schenn, Sam Lafferty, and Noel Acciari, we did not see the chapter in the book where he had to make the tough hockey decision.

Kyle Dubas learned a lot in his five years as the general manager of the Maple Leafs that he can carry over as the President of Hockey Operations. And oh by the way, he is the interim general manager until the Penguins hire one. But again we haven’t seen him make the tough hockey trade.

He is a great cap manipulator and analytics guy. And look the ownership is steadfast in building around Crosby, Malkin, and Letang. So he is going to have to figure out a way to move money and open salary cap space to keep this team a contender.

These teams are so very similar in the areas of need and salary cap purgatory they are in. There is no doubt Dubas can make it work, he did in Toronto. They just could not win. But the Penguins have not won since 2017 the second of back-to-back Stanley Cup Championships.

NHL Rumors: New Penguins GM Has His Work Cut Out For Him

Their record in the first round is just as bad as Toronto’s. After losing to Washington in 2018 in the second round, the Penguins lost in the first round in 2019, lost in the play-in (did not qualify for the playoffs) in 2020, lost in the first round in 2021 and 2022, and missed the playoffs this past year.

You can argue, the Penguins should have won in 2022, but didn’t. Again defensive issues, which Dubas will need to address. The depth of the Penguins continues to remain an issue.

Let’s see if Dubas can pull off some hockey trades to keep this team relevant. Because there is a lot of work to do similar to Toronto if he had stayed there.