Kyle Dubas speaks publicly about the Erik Karlsson trade, admits to being involved in a bidding war

Published August 7, 2023 at 12:34

Sunday was a busy one for Penguins President and GM Kyle Dubas, as he worked out a 3-way trade between the Pens, Sharks and Canadiens that allowed him to acquire reigning Norris Trophy winner Erik Karlsson and shifting the balance of power in the Metropolitan Division substantially.

Dubas met with the media on Monday to share his thoughts on the Karlsson deal, how lengthy of a process it was to get a deal done. He admitted that the deal didn't come together quickly, but addressed a glaring need for the organization.

"It was a fairly lengthy process with San Jose... It gains us the flexibility we want. We need to improve our ability to move the puck out of our own zone and Erik does that." - Dubas on how Karlsson will help the Pens

Dubas was able to bring Karlsson in with a $10M AAV, as opposed to his full $11.5M cap hit in San Jose, which helps, but still doesn't leave a whole lot of room on the roster for more additions, as Dubas admitted on Monday.

"I don't expect anything more major. You can never make any promises. We're six weeks out from camp starting. I think this will be the group." - Dubas on the Karlsson acquisition being his last big move of the summer

The Penguins had missed the playoffs last season, which led many to question why Dubas began to bolster the team this summer rather than triggering a rebuild. Simply put; Dubas believed that with the players he has at his disposal, he could build around the core of Crosby, Malkin and Letang and piece together a winning team who is capable of getting it done in the postseason once again.

"[The Karlsson trade is] an affirmation - we have the chance and opportunity to contend for a championship... I know there will be a lot of people to doubt the group... We have our belief and that's on me to lead the way."

Dubas also revealed that he plans to do the same thing in Pittsburgh that he did in Toronto during his 5 years as GM of the Leafs; utilize waivers in order to maintain a certain level of roster flexibility. He also revealed that the Pens won't be operating with a 23-man roster.

"We aren't going to be afraid to use waivers to get flexibility... We need to continue to have competition. Right now we have room for 22 on opening night."

Karlsson wasn't the only significant addition that Dubas made this summer. He also acquired forward Reilly Smith in a trade with the Vegas Golden Knights and signed defenseman Ryan Graves to a multi-year deal in free agency. These are some substantial moves that will undoubtedly help to improve and build on the foundation that was already in Pittsburgh before Dubas had signed on to be the team's President and GM.

Dubas also admitted on Monday that before the Karlsson deal was completed, he was concerned that another one of the teams who had shown interest in Karlsson would swoop in and nab him, pulling the rug right out from under Dubas' feet. That's likely why the Pens were so committed to getting the deal done on Sunday, whatever it took.

August 7   |   435 answers
Kyle Dubas speaks publicly about the Erik Karlsson trade, admits to being involved in a bidding war

Will the Penguins win the Metropolitan Division in their first season under Kyle Dubas?

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