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May 26, 2024

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Karlsson acquisition an ‘affirmation’ of my belief in Penguins

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Kyle Dubas is confident that he sent a strong and unequivocal message to the Pittsburgh Penguins through the intricate three-team, nine-player trade that brought star defenseman Erik Karlsson into the fold.

During a press conference on Monday, the general manager emphasized the team’s belief in its potential to contend for a championship. Dubas stated, “This move affirms our commitment to competing at the highest level. Acquiring a player of Karlsson’s caliber is a testament to our confidence in the team’s capabilities.”

Dubas further elaborated on the decision to acquire Karlsson, emphasizing the defenseman’s ability to facilitate puck movement out of the defensive zone. The 6-foot Swede’s exceptional skating skills were highlighted as a key asset that aligns with the Penguins’ playing style.

Karlsson, at 33 years old, experienced a remarkable resurgence during the 2022-23 season, amassing an impressive 76 assists and 101 points in 82 games. This stellar performance earned him his third Norris Trophy. The San Jose Sharks retained a portion of Karlsson’s salary in the trade, resulting in a $10 million cost to the Penguins for each of the next four seasons.

Karlsson acquisition an ‘affirmation’ of my belief in Penguins

Dubas openly acknowledged the challenging journey that led to acquiring Karlsson, describing it as a “lengthy process” that occasionally kept him awake at night. He emphasized the strategic and competitive nature of trade negotiations, particularly when pursuing a coveted player.

The Penguins faced unusual inconsistencies last season, marked by sporadic winning and losing streaks that ultimately led to missing the playoffs for the first time in over a decade. Dubas acknowledged the skepticism surrounding the team’s prospects but remained resolute in his belief that the group has the potential to overcome challenges and prove their capabilities.

Recently appointed as Pittsburgh’s GM and holding the position of president of hockey operations, Dubas assumed his new role after his departure from the Toronto Maple Leafs’ front office in June. The move signals Dubas’s commitment to steering the Penguins toward success and solidifying their competitive position in the league.

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