Pittsburgh Penguins GM Kyle Dubas
Photo credit: The Athletic

Kyle Dubas Faces The Media Following Controversial Guentzel Trade

Published March 9, 2024 at 3:13 PM

The Pittsburgh Penguins bid farewell to fan-favorite forward Jake Guentzel, who was traded to the Carolina Hurricanes during the 2024 NHL Trade Deadline.

Crosby, Sullivan Unhappy With Trade

The move didn't sit well with veteran captain Sidney Crosby and others within the organization, including head coach Mike Sullivan, according to GM Kyle Dubas.

«The decision to trade Jake Guentzel, with his contract set to expire this offseason, was one of the most difficult decisions that I have had to make in my time in management. In my first season with the Penguins, it has become quite clear why Jake means so much to his teammates, all Penguins staff and the City of Pittsburgh. Jake's competitiveness, tenacity and spirit, combined with his talent have produced some of the greatest moments of this era of Penguins hockey. A born and bred Pittsburgh Penguin, Jake has become a pillar in the community and fan favorite for all the right reasons. We cannot thank Jake and his family enough for their contributions to the Penguins since he was drafted in 2013 and wish him our very best.»

Sidney Crosby

Crosby wanted to focus on building a competitive team for the next few seasons rather than starting a rebuild, but his GM showed that a big wave of young players is on its way to the Pittsburgh roster.

Dubas Faces The Media Following Controversial Guentzel Trade

Dubas expressed the difficulty of parting with Guentzel, acknowledging his significant contributions to the team. He noted that Sullivan, like the players, was unhappy about the decision, which is understandable given Guentzel's popularity and impact on the team.

«Mike's been here a long time, he's like the players,» Dubas said, «and when you make the decision to remove someone from the group that's hugely popular and contributes in such a great way, nobody's happy about it.

«And I wouldn't want it any other way. I wouldn't want anybody to be happy about those things. That's part of this job, and it's part of their job to be upset when those things happen.»

In addition to Guentzel, the Penguins also traded defenseman Chad Ruhwedel to the New York Rangers in exchange for a 2027 fourth-round pick.

Dubas revealed that efforts were made to negotiate a contract extension with Guentzel before the season, but they were unsuccessful. Despite the disappointment from players and staff over the trade, Dubas emphasized the need to continually improve the team and keep options open.

«From my view of it, we made an attempt prior to the season,» Dubas said. «From that point on, it was just my decision to always keep our positioning open, to keep our options open.»

«We're lucky to have a group of players in there that are fiercely competitive,» he continued. «So if that means they're not happy with me on a day like (Thursday), when you lose somebody from the group — it's my duty to improve the team on a day-in and day-out.»

He acknowledged the competitive nature of the Penguins players and accepted that his decisions might not always please everyone, but reiterated his commitment to enhancing the team's performance.
March 9   |   238 answers
Kyle Dubas Faces The Media Following Controversial Guentzel Trade

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