Dubas "Undid the Idiocy of Ron Hextall’s Tenure": Penguins Columnist

Is Kyle Dubas a "miracle worker"? Toronto Maple Leaf fans might not agree, but for the Pittsburgh Penguins, he's already been a revelation. His feat in pulling off the massive 3-team Erik Karlsson blockbuster this weekend has Pittsburgh sports talk voice Mark Madden of TribLive raving about what new GM Dubas has done, evoking the "miracle worker" phrase. 

Dubas got Erik Karlsson from San Jose. Karlsson was last year’s Norris Trophy winner as the NHL’s top defenseman... In return, Dubas ditched four players he didn’t want: Forward Mikael Granlund, defensemen Jeff Petry and Jan Rutta and goaltender Casey DeSmith. That’s a combined cap hit of over $14 million. By the time the machinations of the deal were totaled, Dubas had saved the Penguins $3 million in cap space...

I can’t believe Dubas pulled it off...

Dubas mostly undid the idiocy of Ron Hextall’s tenure as GM in one trade — and got Karlsson, who had 101 points last season for a team than won 22 games and lost 60.

The former Leafs GM has remade the Penguins around stars Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Kris Letang, and now, of course, Karlsson. 

Dubas oversaw 15 contract signings this summer previous to the big trade. 

Madden notes, of course, that the Karlsson move doesn't guarantee anything. The Penguins missed the playoffs last season, and haven't won a postseason series since 2018. They're also starting the year without third-leading scorer Jake Guentzel, who's recovering from ankle surgery. 

On top of that, Karlsson's historic 2022-23 season was his first fully healthy season since 2017-18. He hadn't played more than 56 games in a campaign since then, aside from last year's full 82. They'll need a repeat of that on the health front.

Celebrating his 36th birthday today, Crosby isn't getting any younger, but after several seasons of disappointing results, this big Karlsson splash provides hope that there's at least one more big run in them.