After a lengthy search process, the Pittsburgh Penguins announced Thursday that they've hired Kyle Dubas president of hockey operations. The franchise fired former president of hockey operations Brian Burke, as well as general manager Ron Hextall, just days after missing the postseason for the first time in 16 seasons.
"We are thrilled to welcome Kyle to the Pittsburgh Penguins," Fenway Sports Group principal owner John Henry and chairman Tom Werner said in a statement. "Throughout his career, Kyle has proven himself as a forward-thinking hockey mind and embodies all of the qualities – integrity, intelligence, and an unwavering commitment to building a winning culture – that we value in a leader at the Penguins and within Fenway Sports Group."
Dubas, 37, had spent the past five years as the Toronto Maple Leafs general manager after rising up through the organization. It was expected that Dubas was going to sign a contract extension to remain in Toronto after their playoff loss. However, on May 19, Dubas and the Maple Leafs parted ways.
"On behalf of my family, we are thrilled to join the Pittsburgh Penguins organization and all of the incredible people across Fenway Sports Group," Dubas said. "I am deeply appreciative of the opportunity that lies ahead of me. The ownership group, FSG leadership and the Penguins staff on the ground in Pittsburgh have been absolutely outstanding. Everyone has demonstrated a clear commitment to building a best-in-class hockey operation."
The Maple Leafs had been eliminated in the opening round of six consecutive postseasons and hadn't won a playoff series since 2004. However, the team that Dubas constructed defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning in the first round -- before being eliminated by the Florida Panthers in five games in the very next round.
Dubas and his agent reportedly submitted a contract offer to the Maple Leafs on May 19. Shortly after that offer, Maple Leafs president of hockey operations Brendan Shanahan announced that Dubas wouldn't be returning as the team's general manager.The Penguins needed to receive permission to speak with Dubas due to the fact that he was still under contract with Toronto until June 30. According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the Penguins ended up interviewing more than 20 candidates before shifting their focus towards Dubas once he was available.
In 2011, Dubas began his management career when he was hired by the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds of the Ontario Hockey League. Just three years later, the Maple Leafs promoted Dubas to assistant general manager. Once in that role, Dubas focused on player personnel and development. Seven years later, Dubas was named the Maple Leafs general manager at 32 years old, which made him the second-youngest general manager in the NHL. During his time as the Maple Leafs general manager, the team posted a 221-109-42 record during the regular season.
Dubas made several noteworthy moves during his time at the helm in Toronto, including signing John Tavares to a seven-year, $77 million contract in free agency in 2018. In addition, Dubas also signed star center Auston Matthews to a five-year, $58.2 million contract extension in 2019, while adding veterans like Ryan O'Reilly and Luke Schenn at the 2023 trade deadline.