Penguins hire Jason Spezza as new Assistant General Manager
Photo credit:Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports
By Alex Hobson3 months ago
One of the worst-kept secrets in hockey was made official today. Former Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas, now President of Hockey Ops for the Pittsburgh Penguins as we all know, officially announced the hiring of Jason Spezza as their new Assistant General Manager.
Of course, the Penguins are currently without a general manager as it stands, so it’s unclear exactly who Spezza will be assisting. That said, it was always believed that the former Leaf, Star, and longtime Senator was going to follow Dubas to Pittsburgh.
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After retiring following the 2021-22 season, Spezza was hired as a Special Assistant to Dubas in a corresponding move to his retirement. While the exact duties Spezza handled during his one year in the Maple Leafs’ front office are relatively unknown, it’s believed that he was just an extra opinion and set of eyes, given his advantage of playing in the NHL as recently as the season before (now two years before). Assistant general manager and assistant TO the general manager are different roles, however, so expect Spezza to carry a different role with the Penguins.
Spezza remains only piece to follow Dubas to Pittsburgh
When the Penguins announced the hiring of Dubas for his role, it was widely believed that he was going to take a number of “his guys” with him. Along with Spezza, current Maple Leafs assistant general manager Brandom Pridham and Director of Amateur Scouting Wes Clark were both rumoured to potentially follow in the former GM’s steps and follow him to Pittsburgh. But, so far, nothing on that front indicates this is the case.
Spezza tagging along with Dubas to Pittsburgh isn’t a surprise by any means. When Dubas and the Maple Leafs “parted ways” back on May 19, he almost instantly resigned from his role with the organization as a display of loyalty. It made sense, considering Dubas essentially pulled a job out of thin air in order to keep him with the organization following his retirement.
Much remains to be seen regarding Dubas’ role with the Penguins. You’d have to imagine he’ll hire a general manager, but acting as the GM himself while maintaining his title as President of Hockey Ops doesn’t seem too far-fetched. He’s already doing that on an interim basis, and since the official announcement about Spezza’s hiring alluded to him reporting to Dubas, it might be easier for the two of them to keep working together on a full-time basis rather than hiring a GM.
With the Stanley Cup Final wrapping up last night, the offseason is officially underway for all 32 teams, opening the door for new Maple Leafs GM Brad Treliving to start making moves with his new team. There shouldn’t be a “rivalry” made out of the Treliving-led Maple Leafs and the Dubas-led Penguins, but it will be interesting to keep tabs on what both executives do this summer.
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