The Pittsburgh Penguins announced Thursday that they have named Kyle Dubas their new President of Hockey Operations. The announcement comes after the Pens fired the previous holder of the position, Brian Burke, in April after the team missed the playoffs for the first time in 17 years.
Dubas arrives in Pittsburgh after being let go by the Toronto Maple Leafs just two weeks ago after the Leafs were eliminated by the Florida Panthers in Game Five of the second round. Dubas had served as Leafs general manager since 2018, having previously served four years as an assistant general manager with the organization.
Welcome to Pittsburgh, Kyle Dubas!
— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) June 1, 2023
“We are thrilled to welcome Kyle to the Pittsburgh Penguins,” owner, John Henry, and chairman, Tom Werner, said in a joint 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 joins the Pens after leading Toronto to terrific success in the regular season (221-109-42 over Dubas’ tenure), but not seeing the same success in the postseason. The Leafs have struggled in the playoffs, losing in the first round for six consecutive years from 2017 to 2022 (including a loss in the 2020 Qualifying Round).
Going into the final year of his contract in Toronto, the team chose not to offer Dubas an extension. The Leafs would go on to win their first playoff series in 19 years against the Tampa Bay Lightning, only to go down 3-0 against the Florida Panthers in the second round and be eliminated in Game Five.
“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 in a release. “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.”
Unlike the young core that he helped amass with the Leafs, Dubas arrives to a veteran Pittsburgh team that is need of refreshment. The Pens had the longest active postseason streak in any North American sport, appearing in the playoffs for 16 consecutive years, before this past season’s failure.
Here’s the full release from the Pens:
Penguins Name Kyle Dubas President of Hockey Operations
The Pittsburgh Penguins announced today that Kyle Dubas has been named President of Hockey Operations. Dubas becomes just the second person to hold this position in the history of the franchise.
Dubas, 37, will oversee all aspects of the Penguins hockey operations department including establishing the strategic vision and philosophy for the franchise. Fenway Sports Group Principal Owner, John Henry, and Chairman, Tom Werner, issued the following joint statement:
“We are thrilled to welcome Kyle to the Pittsburgh Penguins. 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. We have done exhaustive work narrowing down candidates throughout this process, but it did not take long to be impressed by Kyle, the reputation he’s cultivated for himself in and around the National Hockey League, and his vision for the organization on and off the ice. His passion for the sport and ability to foster collaborative relationships with his staff, coaches and players is the type of leadership style that will undoubtedly resonate with the front office and set us on a new path for success in the near-term with our current championship-caliber core and beyond with a commitment to sustainable, long-term success.”
Dubas spent the previous nine seasons as a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs organization, including the last five as general manager. At the time of his hiring in 2018, Dubas became the second-youngest general manager in NHL history at age 32.
“On behalf of my family, we are thrilled to join the Pittsburgh Penguins organization and all of the incredible people across Fenway Sports Group,” said Dubas. “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.”
During Dubas’ five seasons as general manager of the Maple Leafs, the team compiled a regular-season record of 221-109-42 with a .651 points percentage, ranking fifth in the league in wins and points percentage. Three of the five best regular seasons in Maple Leafs history by wins and points percentage came under his tenure (2018-19, ’21-22 and ’22-23).
Dubas set the franchise record in Toronto for the fastest general manager to earn 100 and 200 regular-season wins, needing only 176 and 376 regular season games, respectively, to reach the historic milestones. The organization qualified for the Stanley Cup Playoffs each year during his tenure, and in 2022-23, Dubas guided the Maple Leafs to their first playoff series victory since the 2003-04 campaign.
“The rich history of winning and the competitiveness of the coaching staff and players were evident in each conversation I had about this position,” Dubas added. “The opportunity to work with such passionate and committed people, as well as the established character and leadership of the long-standing core group of talented players, gives me great enthusiasm for the challenge at hand. Our family has been made to feel extremely comfortable throughout this process and we are excited to now call Pittsburgh our home.”
The Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario native originally joined the Maple Leafs organization as an assistant general manager in 2014, working under Dave Nonis (2014-15) and Lou Lamoriello (2015-18). In that role, his responsibilities included player personnel, managing the club’s player development department and farm system, managing the organization’s research and development department, as well as overseeing the organization’s top prospects as general manager of the Maple Leafs’ American Hockey League affiliate, the Toronto Marlies.
During Dubas’ four seasons as the general manager of the Marlies, the team went 190-90-20-4 while winning the Macgregor Kilpatrick Trophy as the AHL’s regular-season champion in 2015-16 and ’17-18. He led the Marlies to their first Calder Cup championship in 2017-18.
Prior to joining Toronto, Dubas served as general manager of his hometown Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds of the Ontario Hockey League for three seasons from 2011-14. The team went 109-76-7-12 during his time at the helm, taking the Greyhounds from outside of the playoff picture in his first season to two postseason berths, as well as a West Division title in 2013-14. During his tenure as general manager, 14 different Greyhounds were drafted into the NHL, which marked the second most among all OHL teams over that span. At the time of his hiring, Dubas was the second-youngest general manager in OHL history at 25. He also served as a scout for the Greyhounds from 2002-06 while attending school.
Dubas and his wife, Shannon, have two children, Leo and Lennon.
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