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Penguins hire Kyle Dubas as new president of hockey operations

By Jason Clinkscales,

Kyle Dubas

The Pittsburgh Penguins hired former Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas as its head of hockey operations, as reported by multiple outlets and the team itself.

Pittsburgh was immediately attached to the hockey executive, with rumors flying almost from the moment Toronto announced that it would not extend Dubas's contract. The Penguins cleaned house of its hockey operations team in mid-April after missing the playoffs for the first time since 2006, firing Ron Hextall as general manager along with Dubas' predecessor Brian Burke and assistant GM Chris Pryor.

Dubas was Toronto's general manager for five seasons but was uncertain about his future with the team after their loss to the eventual Eastern Conference champion Florida Panthers. It was that uncertainly that prompted Leafs president Brendan Shanahan's decision to not renew Dubas's contract.

Dubas released a statement, posted on the Penguins' social media accounts, expressing his excitement to join the team.

For several years, observers have felt that the Pens have been long on the tooth in terms of its roster. Last season's team had just six players under the age of 30, countered by six players aged 35 and up, including 35-year-old franchise icon Sidney Crosby, and 36-year-olds Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang. While past trades and signings for veterans helped the Penguins during their Cup runs a few years back (when Crosby, Malkin and Letang were in their late twenties), it left the cupboard bare in terms of long-term contention in the 2020s.

As he builds the brain trust around him, Dubas will have to gel with head coach Mike Sullivan, who is the winningest coach in franchise history and coached the team to its last Stanley Cup wins back in 2016 and 2017. Pittsburgh's new lead executive pushed hard for speed with the Leafs, even the grand payoff didn't come, with just a single playoff win during his tenure. Speed largely comes from a youth movement, so how he tries to incorporate that with Sullivan and a veteran-heavy team that believes it can still contend for a title will be worth watching.

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