The Pittsburgh Penguins have themselves a brand new president of hockey operations, and he officially made his debut this afternoon.
Former Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas is the new head honcho in the Steel City, taking over the franchise who elected to clean out their front office at the conclusion of this season after having missed the postseason for the first time since Sidney Crosby's rookie year of 2005-6.
"I'm very honored to be here today and join the Pittsburgh penguins as the president of hockey operations for the club," Dubas began, while also thanking the Fenway Sports Group for reaching out to him immediately after his career in Toronto was over.
"We heard from them basically the next morning after my time in Toronto came to a close and came to a process whereby it was very clear to our entire family that their commitment to winning and delivering a great team every single season on and off the ice in Pittsburgh was paramount to them and to the entire Fenway Sports Group," Dubas said.
"This week, we made the decision that this was going to be the right move for us in the long term to make home and grow our family. Every single thing that I've heard about the city of Pittsburgh and the people in Pittsburgh has been proven very true by our experience by getting to know the staff we have and to tour the city in the way we have. There's a deep feeling of appreciation from our family to everyone who has helped us feel comfortable in this decision."
"I've had the chance to speak with Coach Sullivan and Sidney Crosby, I thought those were very important people for me to get a real deep sense of where they felt the organization was at and where it would be going so that I knew coming in what they felt the Penguins were at and what they would need from someone in this role. Those conversations were paramount in my decision to come here; they're some of the best competitors in hockey and obviously, Mike Sullivan's record as a coach and Sidney's as a player speak for themselves. That's one of the most exciting things of coming to Pittsburgh."
The Penguins could soon be in a period of transition, as the trio of Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang are all on the wrong side of 35 and entering the twilight of their careers. What does Dubas have to say about them as he takes over the job?
"I heard a lot of people skeptical of the team's ability to contend," he said. "The way I view it is if people want to bet against Mike Sullivan, Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Kris Letang and others, they can go ahead and do so. But I'm going to bet on them, and go with them."