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PHN Blog: ‘Far-Fetched’ Sullivan, Dubas Rumor Grows Louder



Mike Sullivan, Pittsburgh Penguins, Kyle Dubas rumors

Earlier in the week, NY Post hockey scribe Larry Brooks tweeted that a scenario was presented to him in which Kyle Dubas would become the Pittsburgh Penguins GM and Penguins coach Mike Sullivan would be fired so he could become the NY Rangers coach.

Brooks wrote in the NY Post Saturday:

“I should tell you that I received an unsolicited text from a player late Thursday who said the rumor ‘was getting pretty loud.'”

Sullivan has ties to Rangers GM Chris Drury through USA Hockey and the 2006 Olympics when Sullivan was an assistant and Drury a player. The pair also had one season together with the Rangers when Sullivan was an assistant coach under John Tortorella (2009-10).

The Toronto Maple Leafs lost their Round Two battle to the Florida Panthers in five games and Dubas’ five-year deal is expiring. The 37-year-old GM was handed the reigns following Lou Lamoriello’s three-year tenure.

Sullivan is part of the Penguins’ transition team, but his influence on the GM process isn’t known. During the Fenway Sports Group’s first public comments since buying the Pittsburgh Penguins 17 months prior, FSG co-head Dave Beeston stopped short of saying Sullivan would be part of the package.

“I think the answer to that is we think Mike Sullivan is one of the best coaches in the NHL. He was extended last season, and then once we bring in a new hockey operations leader, he or she will be responsible for evaluating the coaching staff,” Beeston said on April 14 following the dismissals of the president of hockey ops Brian Burke and GM Ron Hextall. “And we think Mike is terrific.”

Sullivan was given a three-year extension when he had two years remaining on his current deal. The new extension doesn’t begin until after next season and runs through the 2026-27 season.

Saturday, this writer strongly advocated for Kyle Dubas to become the next Penguins GM. And this writer has advocated for Mike Sullivan to keep his job but be asked tough questions by management, including if he became too comfortable with a veteran team.

If the new GM and Sullivan don’t see eye-to-eye, that would be yet another failed long-term contract issued by Hextall. But it should be noted even Brooks calls the rumor “Far-fetched.”

NHL Trade Talk, Playoffs & National Hockey Now:

Washington Hockey Now: Jared Serra looked at the two most likely landing spots for Evgeny Kuznetsov, who is on the NHL trade block.

Vegas Hockey Now: Defenseman Alex Pietrangelo accused the Edmonton Oilers of “premeditated” hits and said the NHL Player Safety didn’t really care during his hearing following a two-handed slash on Leon Draisaitl. The Vegas Golden Knights news.

Florida Hockey Now: After years of playoff disappointment, Aaron Ekblad and Sasha Barkov are finally enjoying playoff success with the Florida Panthers.

Sportsnet: The Seattle Kraken forced Game 7 by beating the Dallas Stars in Game 6.

Adams Division:

Boston Hockey Now: The Bruins went all-in this season by acquiring Dmitry Orlov and Tyler Bertuzzi but still swallowed bitter disappointment when they blew a 3-1 series lead and lost to Florida in Round One. GM Don Sweeney said he doesn’t regret the moves. However, the Boston Bruins’ fallout continues.

Montreal Hockey Now: Sources tell the boys at MHN that a few first-round prospects have caught the Montreal Canadiens‘ eye.

Buffalo Hockey Now: The Sabres’ playoff chances are growing. Despite not yet doing anything this offseason, their Atlantic Division rivals are showing cracks, which becomes an even greater opportunity for the young Buffalo Sabres.

Detroit: Why Tyler Bertuzzi probably isn’t coming home to the Detroit Red Wings.

Smythe Division:

Colorado Hockey Now: a flash in the pan or a breakout? What to make of Denis Malgin.

Nashville Hockey Now: Seriously, no Juuse Saros for Vezina? GMs have some explaining to do after the Nashville Predators goalie was snubbed.

Chicago Hockey Now: No reunions with Patrick Kane. No more Jonathan Toews. GM Kyle Davidson is wisely moving the Chicago Blackhawks forward.

Pacific Division:

Calgary Hockey Now: Stan Bowman’s name surfaced in connection with the Pittsburgh Penguins GM gig and the Flames. Steve Macfarlane writes the Calgary Flames should just say no.

San Jose Hockey Now: A mock draft roundup — who will the San Jose Sharks select at No. 4?

Vegas Hockey Now: If you missed it, coach Bruce Cassidy likes the baby energy. Four players in recent weeks have had babies, and the team has responded with wins. Cassidy thinks he might call the boys in July to have a few more, “Let’s get to work, fellas!” Cassidy cracked up the Vegas Golden Knights presser.