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The Penguins are getting closer to the playoffs… despite their GM, Kyle Dubas
Credit: Capture d'écran / Screenshot

For the past few weeks, the race for the playoffs in the East has been pretty crazy. There’s a battle to the finish between the Islanders, Capitals, Red Wings, Flyers and Canadiens and Penguins, who are fighting for the last two playoff tickets available.

The next few days will bring us some pretty intense games in this race that just won’t end.

When you look at the five clubs in the race, the Penguins are a rather special case. In fact, they were so far behind the rest of the pack until recently that team GM Kyle Dubas decided to be a seller at the trade deadline.

He traded Jake Guentzel to the Hurricanes in what was one of the biggest trades of the week.

But clearly, even if Dubas’ plan was no longer to make the playoffs this season, his players are winning despite his plan to be a seller and drop out of the playoff race.

As Renaud Lavoie reminded us on JiC yesterday, at the start of the season, Dubas said he wanted to do everything in his power to get the Penguins into the playoffs. But the club didn’t live up to expectations, which led him to sell… and once again, his new plan backfired.

I imagine Dubas must be happy to see his club getting closer to the playoffs, even if he did trade Guentzel to get some assets for the future… but it’s funny to see that his two plans haven’t exactly worked out as he’d hoped since arriving in Pittsburgh.

Let’s give Dubas some credit for one thing, though: he may have traded Guentzel, but in return he got Michael Bunting, who has been having a great time in Pittsburgh since his arrival with 13 points in 17 games.

Sidney Crosby may have been disappointed to see Guentzel leave, but in Bunting, the Penguins have found another winger who can help offensively. He’s no Guentzel, who has 21 points in 14 games in Carolina, but still.

So we’ll see if the Penguins will be able to qualify for the playoffs down the road… but obviously, being a seller in the East in 2024 was a good way to get out of the playoff race.

In bursts

– That’s a good reason.

– A warm welcome for Lane Hutson in Minnesota.

– Jack Hughes’ season is over.

– Good news.

– The Marlins are a mess.

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