Penguins' Offseason Renaissance: A Fresh Start with Kyle Dubas and Arena Upgrades | Pittsburgh Penguins (2024)

Penguins' Offseason Renaissance: A Fresh Start with Kyle Dubas and Arena Upgrades | Pittsburgh Penguins (1)

By Michelle Crechiolo

@PensInsideScoop Penguins Team Reporter

After an untimely and disappointing end to the 2022-23 campaign, the Penguins entered this summer with some significant tasks – and executed them with remarkable finesse during one of the most thrilling offseasons in team history.

It started with the home-run hire of Kyle Dubas as President of Hockey Operations and General Manager, who immediately went to work setting the Penguins on a new path for success in the short term with the current championship-caliber core, as well as beyond with a plan for sustainable, long-term success.

And when Dubas’ team takes the ice at PPG Paints Arena this fall, it will be in a beautifully updated building. The Penguins have made over $30 million in improvements these past few months, with the marquee addition being a huge brand-new scoreboard.

Okay, we are OBSESSED 🤩 pic.twitter.com/uwZ1GnSCFg

— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) August 31, 2023

Fenway Sports Group has demonstrated a clear commitment to building a best-in-class operation on both the hockey and business sides, and the Penguins are ready to deliver for the best fans in hockey. Here’s a more in-depth look at where the organization stands heading into the 2023-24 season, with Training Camp presented by UPMC just a couple of weeks away.

**

Landing Dubas was the watershed moment. He’s a young, forward-thinking and intelligent hockey mind who embodies leadership qualities that are essential to building a winning culture, and quickly impressed the Penguins and FSG with his impeccable reputation and his vision for the organization on and off the ice.

The fanbase was also enamored, with that admiration continuing to grow as Dubas assembled a strong roster that should return to competing for the Stanley Cup after the Penguins’ 16-year playoff streak ended in the spring.

“What excites me most about this group is that it has a lot to prove and there is a lot of doubt in hockey that the group can still contend,” Dubas said. “Starting this month, our entire program will have a chance to prove those who doubt it wrong, and that excites me because this is a very proud group that has a championship history. This season is the chance to show that we are still a championship contender.”

Dubas did an excellent job of addressing the team’s needs and complementing the pieces already in place, doing everything he could to put the Penguins in a position to succeed – highlighted by acquiring superstar blueliner Erik Karlsson, the reigning Norris Trophy winner as the league’s top defenseman, from San Jose in a masterful three-team trade. Dubas pulled off the deal without resorting to any buyouts and actually managed to shed cap space in the process, getting the contracts of Casey DeSmith, Mikael Granlund, Jeff Petry and Jan Rutta off the books.

Karlsson is a piece that will help the Penguins in so many ways, particularly when it comes to moving the puck out of their own end. He and franchise defenseman Kris Letang will lead the blue line, with Ryan Graves – who signed a five-year deal on the first day of free agency to help replace the departed Brian Dumoulin – and Marcus Pettersson adding some youth and some size to the top four. There should be good competition for third-pairing spots between younger players already in the mix, like P.O Joseph and Ty Smith, and more veteran players like Chad Ruhwedel.

Up top, Dubas acquired five-time 20-goal scorer Reilly Smith from the Vegas Golden Knights to fill the hole left by winger Jason Zucker in the top-six. Dubas then added a number of talented proven players on shorter-term deals, who can support the stars with secondary scoring and be hard to play against, as part of a bottom-six overhaul.

Lars Eller should start as the team’s third-line center, while Dubas brought in depth on the wings, signing Matt Nieto, Vinnie Hinostroza, Andreas Johnsson, Rem Pitlick and Radim Zohorna – who are all candidates to replace Jake Guentzel while he recovers from offseason shoulder surgery – and Noel Acciari, who provides toughness, penalty killing ability and a bit of an offensive touch.

Finally, in goal, the Penguins inked No. 1 netminder Tristan Jarry to a five-year contract. Dubas said it was the right bet for the team to make, as he feels confident Jarry will be able to reach his potential and handle a big workload. Alex Nedeljkovic, a talented goalie who was a finalist for the Calder Trophy in 2020-21, was an impactful signing on July 1 – but became even more important with DeSmith’s departure. They should be a strong tandem between the pipes.

“We feel that training camp should be extremely competitive with the depth additions that we have made at all three positions to our group, and that competition will carry over deep into the season as players push to win more ice time and opportunity,” Dubas said.

**

As Dubas and his staff made improvements to the team, the Penguins made significant capital upgrades to PPG Paints Arena for the first time since the building opened in 2010, ensuring that they evolve and remain innovators amongst their peers. Fenway Sports Group invested in these new state-of-the-art assets to further enhance the overall fan experience at every home game.

Penguins' Offseason Renaissance: A Fresh Start with Kyle Dubas and Arena Upgrades | Pittsburgh Penguins (3)

The new high-resolution scoreboard will be one of the largest in the NHL, measuring almost 50 feet across each face and over 32 feet tall, going almost from blue line to blue line and bringing the crowd closer to the action both on and off the ice.

On the underside of the scoreboard, new “underbelly screens” are being installed so the first 17 rows of both club seating areas can enjoy a 25-foot LED board for a more comfortable viewing angle. Players on the ice and bench, along with Mike Sullivan and his coaching staff, will also be able to take advantage of watching replays without having to completely crane their necks.

To put it in perspective, those underbelly screens are the same size as the old scoreboard. The Penguins have also invested into the entire infrastructure that enhances fan engagement, installing a new sound system, LED fascia rings, and advanced technology Musco LED sports lighting. Not only does this lighting provide energy savings of up to 40%, helping the Penguins do right by the planet – it’s going to make the bowl look incredible.

Penguins' Offseason Renaissance: A Fresh Start with Kyle Dubas and Arena Upgrades | Pittsburgh Penguins (4)

Previously, the old lighting could only be one color, and had to be either on or off with no in-between. Now, this Musco LED sports lighting will have dimming capabilities along with various color options, which will set the foundation for the Penguins game entertainment crew taking the in-game show to another level, helping to transform the entire experience. They’ll be able to do color washes throughout the arena in Penguins black and gold, and put the lights at 20 percent while the ice is being cleaned.

Below the bowl, the team built two additional bunker suites – called Suite 91 and 92 in honor of Pittsburgh’s first Stanley Cups – next to the Penguins' runway and bench adjacent to Suite 66. The existing premium space honoring Hall-of-Famer and hockey legend Mario Lemieux also got upgraded.

Then, on the event level underneath sections 107-109, the Penguins have partnered with Casamigos tequila to open the premium Casamigos Club. It’s a unique addition to PPG Paints Arena, as it’s the first of its kind in the building to not only offer an all-access option for unlimited food and drinks, but to offer those amenities at event level, as it converted unused space to create this new luxury area.

Fans seated in 109 can walk right down to the Casamigos Club and stock up on grab-and-go snacks and beverages during intermission and head right back to their seats; or hang out at the bar and eat a meal at one of the stations that will feature arena favorites and chef-prepared game day specials. Access to the Casamigos Club is offered as part of the new, one-of-a-kind All-Event Club Seats, which include tickets to all regular-season Penguins games, as well as all concerts and non-hockey events at PPG Paints Arena.

“We took full advantage of the offseason to make incredible new improvements to PPG Paints Arena, and are excited to welcome fans back in September for another exciting season of Penguins hockey,” said Kevin Acklin, President of Business Operations.

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Penguins' Offseason Renaissance: A Fresh Start with Kyle Dubas and Arena Upgrades | Pittsburgh Penguins (2024)

FAQs

How many preseason games do the Penguins have? ›

Pittsburgh's pre-season schedule features seven games—three at PPG Paints Arena and four on the road.

When were the Penguins added to the NHL? ›

1967 June 5

How many games have the Penguins sold out? ›

The Pittsburgh Penguins' sellout streak of 633 consecutive games came to an end Tuesday night with the team's home contest against the Dallas Stars. Attendance for the game was listed as 16,440. Full capacity for hockey at PPG Paints Arena is 18,187.

What is the longest game in Pittsburgh Penguins history? ›

No. 1: Philadelphia Flyers vs. Pittsburgh Penguins (May 4, 2000) – 152:01.

Does Mario Lemieux still own the Penguins? ›

There have been 11 ownership groups for the Penguins franchise since the team's founding in 1967. The Penguins' Mario Lemieux was a Penguins majority owner before his group sold ownership of the team to Fenway Sports Group in December of 2021.

What were the Pittsburgh Penguins originally called? ›

Contrary to popular belief, Pittsburgh did have an NHL franchise before the Penguins, which was known as the Pirates.

What was the Pittsburgh Penguins' first name? ›

The Pittsburgh Pirates, 1925-26 season. Sports Team History. The Pirates hockey franchise was broadly influential in the branding of Pittsburgh teams to come, primarily because it was among the early teams that helped create such a strong association between Pittsburgh and the black and gold color scheme.

How many games does each hockey team play in a season? ›

In the regular season, which generally runs from early October through early April, teams play 82 games which determine their standings. The three highest-placed teams in each division and two wild card teams per conference enter the playoff elimination tournament to determine the Stanley Cup champion.

How many home games do the Penguins play? ›

2. The Penguins will play 18 weekend home games, accounting for 44% of all games in Pittsburgh. The full schedule can be found on the Penguins' website.

How many regular season games did Mario Lemieux play? ›

Lemieux's career was plagued by health problems that limited him to 915 of a possible 1,430 regular season games between the opening of the 1984–85 campaign and the final game of 2005–2006.

How to get all Pittsburgh Penguins games? ›

You can watch Pittsburgh Penguins games out of market with ESPN+. ESPN+ will show most Pittsburgh Penguins games that aren't exclusively airing nationally on ESPN or TNT. ESPN+ is the home of out-of-market NHL games this season. ESPN+ will also air nationally televised games.

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