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Trade Talks Between Canucks and Penguins Doomed by Dubas Hire

If the Pittsburgh Penguins were talking to the Vancouver Canucks about a big trade, expect those talks to stop with the Kyle Dubas hire.

The Pittsburgh Penguins and Vancouver Canucks were closely linked to each other last season, specifically in trade talks where reports had surfaced that J.T. Miller might have quickly worn out his welcome after signing a new long-term deal and as the Penguins were looking to make a splash and potentially change pieces of their core. Leadership and attitude issues were front and center until new coach Rick Tocchet was hired and things seemed to settle down a touch.

That said, there is still chatter that the Canucks might be exploring the idea of a trade before July 1 and rumors will surround Miller until that date passes.

But, with the news this week that Kyle Dubas has been hired by the Penguins as the new President of Hockey Operations, we can safely assume that any trade talks between the two sides that might have included Miller will eventually stop.

Kyle Dubas Penguins Canucks Trade rumors
Kyle Dubas Penguins Canucks Trade rumors

Coming to Pittsburgh, Dubas brings with him any lessons likely learned from his time in Toronto. Among them is that a core group of really expensive forwards is attractive on the surface, but might not equate to the best possible chances to win playoff games. It’s hard to know what his answer would be if you asked him if he’d build his team in the same way again, but there’s got to be some room for him to say, ‘Probably not.’

With that in mind, Dubas inherits a team in Pittsburgh that isn’t all that different from Toronto. The biggest gap is the age group of his new core, but it includes some pretty talented people making some pretty good money. Where Toronto has Auston Matthews ($11.6M), Mitch Marner ($10.9M), John Tavares ($11M) and William Nylander $6.9M), the Penguins have Sidney Crosby ($8.7M), Evgeni Malkin ($6.1M), Bryan Rust ($5.125M) and Rikard Rakell ($5M). All players listed from the Penguins have some version of a no-move clause and that’s not factoring in Jake Guenztel who also has a modified no-trade. What Dubas won’t want to do is add another player who is aging, locked into a big-money contract, and has the leverage of a no-move clause, all of which J.T. Miller has. It isn’t until July 1, 2027, that the team who owns his rights could force him to submit a 15-team no-trade list.

Even if the Canucks Are Desperate, the Penguins Are Probably Out

Daily Faceoff’s Frank Servalli notes:

“Yet, we know that the Canucks were deep in talks with the Penguins to move Miller before the deadline. Those fizzled and now Pittsburgh’s regime has changed. Has that trade partner evaporated? How much will the Canucks push to move him before his “no-trade” clause kicks in on July 1? They could desperately use the cap flexibility. You have to allow for the possibility in a depressed free agent market that a team will covet Miller enough to make a play.”

Dubas has other problems to fix that don’t include his forwards. He’s got a defense to look at and a goaltending situation that requires attention. Miller is not what the Penguins need and in talking about giving support pieces to his older stars that have control over their exits from the organization, adding Miller to the mix is not the solution.

If anyone knows what kind of handcuffs that contract could place on an organization it’s Dubas. And, considering the handcuffs he’s inheriting, why add more?

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