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Penguins Wrap: In Pursuit of Karlsson; Dubas Doubles Up



Erik Karlsson

While it still isn’t clear whether the Pittsburgh Penguins will have Erik Karlsson in their Opening Night lineup, they’re pretty much guaranteed to be without their first-line left winger then.

After a largely uneventful offseason, things picked up at PPG Paints Arena in recent days, as Kyle Dubas, the Penguins’ president of hockey operations, officially added “full-time GM” to his job description.

Prying Karlsson out of San Jose has been on his to-do list for much of the summer, and now Dubas has to figure out whether he should make a personnel move to fill the void created by the ankle surgery that is expected to sideline Jake Guentzel through the early weeks of the coming season.

Here’s a look at the Pittsburgh Penguins’ past seven days:


Some guys just seem like they are meant to be Pittsburgh Penguins for life. It felt as if it were true of these five guys, but that’s not how their stories played out.


What kind of value would Jake Guentzel have on the trade market, and would it be better for the Penguins to deal him or to sign him to a contract to replace the one that will expire next summer?

With a salary-arbitration hearing looming at the end of the week, chances are that the gap in proposals Drew O’Connor and the team will submit will be considerably larger than whatever has separated them in negotiations to this point.


Some of the Penguins’ off-season additions figure to upgrade their farm team in Wilkes-Barre if they don’t stick with the parent club during training camp.


The Pittsburgh Penguins and Drew O’Connor avoid the arbitration hearing that had been scheduled for Aug. 4 when O’Connor, a restricted free agent, signs a two-year contract.

Although change is inevitable in hockey, some of the NHL arenas that used to house teams haven’t been forgotten.


Kyle Dubas finally finds the permanent GM he has been searching for since being named president of hockey operations … in his mirror.

The Penguins appear to have two options for paring their payroll below the NHL’s salary-cap ceiling of $83.5 million for 2023-24, and one will exist for just 48 hours.

Some Pittsburgh Penguins prospects have not been living up to expectations.


Jake Guentzel undergoes surgery on his right ankle and is scheduled to be re-evaluated in 12 weeks, which means he’s pretty much guaranteed to miss the start of the 2023-24 season.

Kyle Dubas would have been a fine choice to be the Penguins’ president of hockey operations or full-time GM. Having him fill both roles, however, is risky, especially when he’s surrounded by a staff with limited front-office experience.


Kyle Dubas made the right call when he decided to appoint himself to the full-time GM job.

It’s a critical weekend in the Penguins’ pursuit of Erik Karlsson, with a potential buyout of the final two years of forward Mikael Granlund’s contract as a backdrop.