Kyle Dubas announces another important hire on Monday.
Benjamin B. Braun/Post-Gazette  

Kyle Dubas announces another important hire on Monday.

The president of hockey operations for the Pittsburgh Penguins continues to shape the organization to his vision.

Jonathan Larivee

One of the biggest perceived weaknesses of Pittsburgh Penguins president of hockey operations Kyle Dubas stemming from his tenure in Toronto has been his negotiating skills.

Perhaps somewhat unfairly, Dubas has been criticized for putting the Toronto Maple Leafs in a tough position by giving up too much at the negotiating table, specifically when it comes to players like Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, John Tavares, and William Nylander. Of course I would be remiss if I did not point out that those deals were signed prior to the pandemic and the National Hockey League's salary cap stagnating, and no one could have predicted that at the time.

Whether the perception of Dubas as a negotiator is a fair one or not, on Monday Dubas made sure it would be a non-issue when he brought a specialist negotiator to join his staff with the Penguins.

Vukie Mpofu has been announced as the new director of hockey operations and legal affairs, but it is believed that he will take a prominent role in negotiations moving forward.

Mpofu is relatively young at just 27 years of age and is a lawyer by trade having graduated from UCLA law school. He has previously worked with the Vegas Golden Knights and with the Los Angeles Kings, and is a native of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

Mpofu also has a hockey background which will make him ideally suited for the job, having previously played junior hockey as a member of the Red Deer Rebels.