Pittsburgh Penguins interim general manager Kyle Dubas held a brief media availability today, touching on many of the choices he’ll have to make as he guides the team through his first offseason at the helm. With the team in a tough situation, unable to truly rebuild after missing the playoffs for the first time in nearly two decades, Dubas has a thin line to walk to prepare the right roster for 2023-24 while not impeding the team’s long-term outlook.
One of those matters is that of Pittsburgh’s first-round pick, slated for 14th overall on Wednesday. It’s their highest selection since drafting defenseman Derrick Pouliot eighth overall in 2012, and Dubas says the team will likely keep the pick. Pittsburgh has some (but not a lot) of salary maneuverability, and Dubas says that any big trade will likely come with another team looking to shed a mid-tier salaried contract.
Other Penguins notes:
- One avenue Dubas likely won’t take to clear additional cap space is a buyout. He told reporters today he doesn’t prefer to use them, citing more “creative solutions” to opening up a team’s financial picture. Forward Mikael Granlund, who had just five points in 21 games after a midseason trade and is under contract for two more seasons at $5MM per year, was a highly speculated buyout candidate this offseason. If the team can’t find a way to move him in a deal, he’ll likely be sticking around for the time being.
- Dubas also says the team won’t be going after any high-profile free agents, instead aiming to hit on some value bets – something he had a great deal of success doing during his time with the Toronto Maple Leafs. He mentioned the door isn’t closed on contract extensions with Jason Zucker and Tristan Jarry, the latter of which is crucial for the team’s clarity without a ton of other goalie options on the open market. He alluded to defenseman Brian Dumoulin heading to the open market, and they’ll look to replace his spot with a more cost-effective UFA.