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The challenge in Pittsburgh for new president of hockey operations Kyle Dubas

Dubas takes over as president of hockey operations for a Penguins team nearing the end of the Sidney Crosby era.

PITTSBURGH — The Kyle Dubas era is on in Pittsburgh.

Dubas has been named President of Hockey Operations and will "oversee all aspects of the Penguins hockey operations department including establishing the strategic vision and philosophy for the franchise," the Penguins announced Thursday.

In the words of Locked on Penguins host Hunter Hodies, Dubas "gets to run the entire show", a position of power that was not available to him in Toronto.

Hodies calls it a "slam dunk hire" as the Penguins go into the final few seasons of the Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and Kris Letang era. Then they'll likely transfer to a rebuild, which Dubas will also oversee.

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The first challenge for Dubas will be finding someone to serve as general manager with the NHL Entry Draft quickly approaching.

He'll handle GM duties on interim basis, Dubas said during his introductory press conference, adding he’ll be looking for someone progressive.

Apparently, head coach Mike Sullivan is safe for the time being.

Dubas spent the previous nine seasons in the Toronto Maple Leafs organization, including the last five as GM. At the time of his hiring in 2018, Dubas became the second-youngest general manager in NHL history at age 32.

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.  

Dubas and the Maple Leafs parted ways after it seemed as though his contract would be renewed, and he takes on the Penguins job after saying he'd be in Toronto or nowhere this coming season.

Part of the issue in Toronto was not being given full autonomy over hockey decisions, which he will now have in Pittsburgh.

The challenge will be finding a like-minded GM to both navigate the final years of the Big Three era with a view to winning another Stanley Cup and looking to building a solid core for the future.

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