Since taking over as president of hockey operations for the Pittsburgh Penguins, Kyle Dubas has remained quiet when it comes to making moves around player personnel. Dubas quickly made changes to the Penguins front office when he arrived, firing several members of the Penguins front office staff most of whom were Ron Hextall hires.
That has left many to wonder when Dubas will begin his work with the Penguins roster itself, and we may not have to wait much longer to find out. Although no one knows what move Dubas will make first, Penguins beat reporter Dan Kingerski recently revealed that his money is on a buyout being the first domino to fall.
Specifically Kingerski believes that veteran forward Mikael Granlund could be the odd man out, something that would make sense given that the 31 year old forward was acquired by the previous administration just a few short months ago. Ron Hextall did give up a second round pick at the 2023 NHL Draft in order to acquire Granlund so no doubt the Penguins would prefer to get some return for the forward, but a buyout would still represent a significant cap savings moving forward.
The Penguins would save a ton of cap space in the first season of a buyout, over $4.1 million, and would still save significantly in the second season of the buyout with a savings of $3.1 million. That added cap flexibility in years that will likely be important ones for aging stars like Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang, could prove crucial to the Penguins chances of being a playoff contender.
There is of course always a downside when it comes to a buyout however, and that downside would come in years 3 and 4 of the buyout for the Penguins. In both of those seasons the Penguins would suffer a cap penalty of just over $1.83 million per season, a headache they might prefer to avoid.