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Penguins ownership believed to have been granted permission to speak with Dubas

Kyle Dubas Toronto Maple Leafs Kyle Dubas - The Canadian Press

The owners of the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Fenway Group, are believed to have been granted permission to speak with former Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas, TSN Hockey Insider Darren Dreger reports.

The Penguins are searching for a new general manager after firing GM Ron Hextall and president Brian Burke in April. The club finished with a 40-31-11 record and missed the playoffs for the first time in 16 seasons. 

Maple Leafs president Brenden Shanahan announced that Dubas would not return as Leafs GM last Friday, after nine seasons with the organization. 

The 37-year-old Dubas called the 2022-23 season 'very taxing' and noted in his end-of-season press conference that if he were to continue in the NHL, it would only be with the Maple Leafs.

“I definitely don’t have a view to going anywhere else,” Dubas said of expected interest from other teams. “It would either be [Toronto] or taking time [away] to reflect. You won’t see me next week pop up elsewhere. I can’t put my family through that after this year.”

Dubas had initially joined the Leafs in 2014 as an assistant GM following three seasons as GM of the Ontario Hockey League’s Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds. During his time as assistant GM, Dubas also served as GM of the American Hockey League’s Toronto Marlies with whom he won a Calder Cup in 2018. Dubas assumed the mantle of Leafs GM in 2018 when Lou Lamoriello’s contract was not renewed.

While Dubas’ Leafs teams made the playoffs in each of his seasons as GM, the team won a single series — against the Tampa Bay Lightning in the first round of the current playoffs — during his time in charge and have not advanced past the second round of the playoffs since 2002.