Taking More Looks at What Dubas Should Do This Offseason

Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

In my last article, I looked at some of the top targets for the Penguins that they could acquire either through trades or in free agency. 

Today, I look at more likely moves that Kyle Dubas could make as the Pens’ interim GM, the player he should keep, and who the Penguins should take in this year’s draft (if Dubas decides to stay put). 

What will Dubas’ first move be?

Kyle Dubas has about $20 million in cap space to play with to improve this team. His first move will likely be either a buyout or a trade of some sort. 

The player I could see him most likely buying out is forward Mikael Granlund

Granlund had one goal and five points in 21 games with the Penguins since Hextall acquired him at the trade deadline. At times he looked lost and not like a fit with the Penguins. He always seemed scared to shoot the puck, and that’s not what the team needs. His trial didn’t go well, and it’s time to cut the cord quickly if the Penguins can’t find a trade partner quickly before it ends up as Kapanen 2.0. 

As for a trade, I’ve been high on Ducks goalie John Gibson and have wanted the Penguins to acquire him for some time. However, for this article’s sake, I will choose a different goaltender. 

Related Article: Is John Gibson Done With the Ducks?

Jets goalie Connor Hellebuyck.

Hellebuyck has made it clear that he is not re-signing with Winnipeg Jets, and the Penguins will likely need a new starting goalie as Jarry is a UFA. Hellebuyck has played a huge role in the success that the Jets have had the past few seasons. He is 238-154-37 in 445 games with the Jets, with a career 2.66 goals-against average and a .916 save percentage. He also has a 17-23 record with a 2.58 goals-against average and a .916 save percentage. 

He is a solid choice for being the Penguins’ starting goalie. He may not be as expensive as some people think, but he will still cost a decent amount. Dubas is good at acquiring good players for not giving up too much, and Hellebuyck would be a solid acquisition for Dubas. 

Related Article: Jets: Is It Time To Move Connor Hellebuyck?

The Penguins need to keep Dumoulin

One player I feel like the Penguins need to keep is defenseman Brian Dumoulin. There aren’t many players like him across the NHL. Sure last year was not that good of a year at all (besides hitting his career-high in assists with 24 and points with 25), but let’s not forget how well he’s played the years prior. Dumo is a solid defensive defenseman who makes it hard for forwards to take the puck into the zone. He’s only 31 and still can play at a good level. I feel like this was one bad season for him. I think Dumoulin will be able to find himself again and start to play like we’re used to seeing next season. Losing him would be bad for this team, and replacing him would be a lot harder than people think. 

Who should the Penguins draft?

The Penguins currently hold the 14th overall pick in the 2023 NHL Draft. There are so many skilled players in this draft that it’s nearly impossible to have a solid prediction on who each team will select (besides Chicago’s first overall pick). I tried to do a mock draft video yesterday, but it was so hard for me to determine who everyone should select due to the amount of talent. 

The Penguins could go with several different players, but I decided for simplistic purposes to just name the favorite player I would like the team to select. 

Related Article: 2023 NHL Draft Prospect Profile: Nate Danielson

I decided to go with forward Nate Danielson for my selection for Dubas to go with. Danielson is a solid two-way forward who seemed to make strides on the offensive side throughout the season. Danielson can become a solid top-six forward in the NHL and could be a nice replacement for Malkin and Crosby when they decide to hang ‘em up. 

Nik Shermeto

PT ‘23 | 🇺🇸/🇨🇦 | Penguins writer for Inside The Rink | Thoughts are my own.

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