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Dubas: Team, Crosby aligned on No. 87 being a career Penguin

Sidney Crosby Sidney Crosby - The Canadian Press

A second straight year of potentially missing the playoffs has led to speculation that Pittsburgh Penguins legend Sidney Crosby could look elsewhere to finish his career.

Penguins president and general manager Kyle Dubas, who elected to sell at the deadline in his first season with the team, told TSN Hockey Insider Pierre LeBrun in The Athletic that both Crosby and the team are aligned on seeing him retire in Pittsburgh.

Crosby is eligible for an extension on July 1 as the final year of his current deal begins and Dubas said he expects conversations on a new contract to start before that date.

“Sure, I think that will be a private discussion with Sid, myself and (agent) Pat Brisson once the season is over,’’ Dubas said.

“But I think everyone’s been pretty clear on where they stand on the fact everyone would like to see him end his career in Pittsburgh and it’s my intention that in those years that we’re back and definitively contending.’’

Dubas traded star winger Jake Guentzel, a pending unrestricted free agent, in one of the most notable moves at the trade deadline, receiving a package that included forward Michael Bunting, prospects Ville Koivunen, Vasili Ponomarev and Cruz Lucius and conditional first- and fifth-round picks in this year’s draft.

Dubas noted he has stayed in contact with Crosby regarding the potential roster changes since taking over control of hockey operations in Pittsburgh. 

“I think you’d be remiss not to seek his opinion and how he’s feeling,’’ Dubas said. “Obviously he’s done so much for the city of Pittsburgh and for the Penguins. … I want his opinion, I value his opinion.

“We may not always agree and I might have to do things in the short run he disagrees with.’’

Carrying a cap hit of $8.7 million in the second-last season of his deal, the 36-year-old Crosby is closing on his highest goal total since 2016-17. He has 33 goals and 68 points in 67 games as he looks to hit the 35-goal mark for the first time since 2018-19. 

Crosby's success, however, has not been enough to propel the Penguins into a playoff spot. Entering play Tuesday, Pittsburgh sits six points back of the Washington Capitals with 15 games left their season to close the gap. 

The Penguins will visit the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday in the first of a three-game road trip that also includes challenging matchups against the Dallas Stars and Colorado Avalanche