It has been a while since the people running the show in Pittsburgh have sounded competent, cohesive, and direct. In one press conference Kyle Dubas showed why Fenway Sports Group was so aggressive in their pursuit of him.
Dubas was clear, concise, and with purpose in his introductory press conference for the Penguins. He was asked a lot of different things and had a well thought out and thorough response for every one of them. He was well prepared. His answers felt sincere and not for show. He was authentic. It was everything people could have hoped for as far as first press conferences go.
The Penguins pursuit was also everything people could have hoped for. The team and the city of Pittsburgh put their best foot forward in trying to get Dubas to commit to the position.
From there: - Dubas had terrific conversations with FSG - He spoke with with Sully and Sid, since getting to know them was important - The closer came last weekend with Bullano and Seidling taking them around Pittsburgh, which sold Kyle and his family on relocating here
The first thing is he understands the job he was hired for.
Kyle Dubas: "I heard a lot of people skeptical of the team's ability to contend. 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."
“we’ll look for someone progressive who can really add an element to the organization that perhaps I don’t have as a skills set, in some regard.”
Great to hear.
Considering Dubas was a general manager in the league just two weeks ago he will be able to hit the ground running as far as free agency and the draft.
Kyle Dubas: “I have my feelings on group that’s here, on FA class. I’ll rely on coaching groups at both levels. … Last week, amateurs scouts were here. It is a draft I have a good feel on.” @TheAthleticNHL
He’ll have to mold things a little for the Penguins situation, but it is a situation not unlike the Maple Leafs. A top-heavy team who needs value depth and has goaltender questions. He knows the task at hand.
Dubas on what he's looking for in players: "Sully and I had a very brief discussion on this. The top end of the forward group is very, very good... Do we need another piece there to put us over the top? Then it's what types of players do we want in the bottom half of our lineup…
This is what the fan base has been clamoring for. Somebody who understands what the actual needs of the team are and who is willing to try and prudently solve them within the restraints of a hard cap league.
While I do recommend viewing the entire press conference, it was an impressive showing. Press conferences are only press conferences. You have to put all these wonderful ideas into practice.
One final thing I want to say for now about the hire is that Dubas is almost always labeled as an analytics guy and while I think he is more than willing to build a robust analytics department and use it I also think it shortchanges him. He’s actually modernized the role. If you dissect his background he actually checks the boxes of being a “hockey guy”. He started as a scout in the OHL, then became an agent, then became an OHL GM, then landed his assistant GM role with the Maple Leafs which led to him sitting in the big chair. His grandfather was an OHL head coach of the same organization in which he was a scout and GM (Sault Ste Marie). He’s got more of an old school background than some of the old school guys. He’s just willing to evolve.
By all accounts it seems the Penguins got a good one, here. It’s quite refreshing. For me and many others this hire has bolstered some life back into the organization after a number of years of stagnation. The job will be tough. The situation has time constraints. The room for error will be small. Yet, with smart people involved there can be reasonable hope for a competitive and fun product to close out the Crosby, Malkin, and Letang era which is all fans can ask for.