Ex-Wings GM Holland to work with new Oilers CEO, McDavid’s agent

Detroit News

Jackson will report directly to owner Daryl Katz and work closely with president of hockey operations Ken Holland, the former Detroit Red Wings general manager.

Katz called it a big commitment to the organization’s long-term success.

“He (Jackson) brings tremendous industry insight, knowledge and leadership built through a unique career experience that is ideal for this leadership role,” Katz said in a statement. “He understands what it takes to build an elite organization for the modern NHL and will work closely with Ken and our whole team to put the Oilers in the best possible position to win.”

McDavid, the NHL’s reigning MV who’s widely considered the best hockey player in the world, has three years left on his contract.

“Jeff and I have had a long, fruitful relationship,” McDavid said. “I have witnessed his care, relentlessness and obvious knowledge of the game and industry firsthand. I look forward to working with Jeff in his new role and am excited about what this means for the future of the Oilers.”

Wasserman Hockey executive vice president Judd Moldaver takes over as McDavid’s agent with Jackson joining the Oilers. Moldaver also represents Toronto Maple Leafs star and 2022 MVP Auston Matthews.

Jackson, 58, practiced law after his hockey playing career and spent time with the Maple Leafs before opening his own agency in 2010.

“I can’t think of a more exciting franchise to join or a better opportunity for me to put into practice everything I have learned during the past three decades in and around the NHL,” Jackson said. “I am very appreciative of the opportunity to help lead such a storied NHL franchise.”

Hockey Hall of Famer and former Edmonton defenseman Paul Coffey will assist Jackson in his new role.

Dumba signs deal with Coyotes

Scottsdale, Ariz. – Give Nick Bjugstad a big assist on Matt Dumba’s arrival in the desert.

Giving in to the pressure from his former Minnesota teammate and seeing what Arizona is building, Dumba signed a one-year, $3.9 million deal with the Coyotes on Monday.

“Bjugy was texting me every other day and he caught me, put the clamps on me at one of the weddings we were at a couple of weeks ago, too,” said Dumba, who lives and trains in Arizona during the offseason. “He was always dropping it in my ear and it was awesome to see guys really enjoy Arizona, the coaching staff, the style of play that they’re growing into.”

Dumba played 10 seasons with Minnesota after the Wild selected him with the seventh overall pick in the 2012 NHL draft. He served as an alternate captain for the Wild the past two seasons, playing more of a shutdown role after being one of the NHL’s better two-way defensemen.

The 29-year-old had a 50-point season while playing all 82 games in 2017-18 and has scored 20 points at least seven times. The Saskatchewan native had four goals and 14 assists in 79 games last season.

“He is a talented, reliable, physical defenseman who competes hard every night and will contribute offensively,” Coyotes general manager Bill Armstrong said in a statement. “He is also a great leader who will add a veteran presence to our blue line. We are very excited to have him on our team this season.”

Dumba should give the Coyotes a huge boost on the blue line and provide veteran leadership on a young team. He won the King Clancy Memorial Trophy in 2019-20, an award given to the player who best exemplifies leadership qualities on and off the ice and has made a noteworthy humanitarian contribution in his community.

Dumba will likely fill a top-four spot on a Coyotes blue line that will also include Sean Durzi, acquired from the Los Angeles Kings in an offseason trade for a 2024 second-round draft pick. Arizona also added Alex Kerfoot, former Wild player Jason Zucker and brought back Bjugstad as the franchise rounds into the third year of a rebuilding project.

“Playing against them last year, I thought they played tremendously hard, played free, saw a lot of good things,” Dumba said. “I’m very excited to join this squad.”

Pens’ Dubas takes on additional role

Kyle Dubas spent his first two months as the Pittsburgh Penguins director of hockey operations watching the staff around him adjust almost seamlessly to a new work environment.

So seamlessly, it turned out, that Dubas feared any more change would affect the synergy he’s felt since joining the club on June 1. So rather than add another external voice to the mix, he opted to take on the role of general manager last week, confident there are enough checks and balances around him to put the Penguins in a position to return to contention in a crowded Eastern Conference.

Pittsburgh’s revamped front office included promoting Andy Saucier to director of professional personnel, naming former NHL defenseman Trevor Daley and U.S. women’s national hockey team icon Amanda Kessel as special assistants and shifting Erik Heasley’s duties to director of minor league and amateur scouting operations.

The 37-year-old Dubas called the workflow during a very busy offseason that included a massive trade for three-time Norris Trophy-winning defenseman Erik Karlsson “open” and “transparent.” He credited the input of assistant general manager Jason Spezza and director of hockey operations and legal affairs Vukie Mpofu for helping the team navigate an eventful stretch that he hopes will let the Penguins bounce back after missing the playoffs for the first time since 2006.

“I (feel) like we are in a really good spot,” Dubas said. “I didn’t want to unsettle it further. And I feel and with what they all bring and my current energy level and where I’m at, that it was just best (for everybody) that way.”

Just over a third of the teams in the NHL have a general manager who also runs their respective club’s hockey operations, including five of the seven other teams in the Metropolitan Division.

Dubas said he was going to look for an external hire shortly after taking the job. He’s not ruling out having someone take over that role down the road, but not now.

Combining the jobs is a different direction for the Penguins, who had Brian Burke run hockey operations and Ron Hextall serve as general manager after Jim Rutherford resigned abruptly in January 2021. Burke and Hextall were fired after the Penguins fell one point short in the standings of reaching the postseason. Dubas isn’t worried about feeling he has too much power.

“I want everyone in our front office, in our building to directly call me up, including everybody in (the media),” Dubas said. “When you don’t think I’m doing something right or doing something wrong … I want to hear that versus hear the opposite.”

Dubas believes Pittsburgh’s busy summer is over and anticipates the roster as it currently stands – a group that includes free-agent signee defenseman Ryan Graves and forward Reilly Smith, who came over in a trade with Vegas – will be the roster that takes the ice when training camp begins in September.

The Penguins will begin camp, however, without forward Jake Guentzel. Guentzel underwent surgery last week to deal with a right ankle injury that had been slow to heal during the offseason. The 29-year-old, an All-Star in 2022, will be re-evaluated in late October. Dubas is hopeful Guentzel will miss only a handful of games.

Dubas believes Guentzel’s absence will provide an opportunity for some of the team’s younger players such as 22-year-old forward Sam Poulin to step in. The Penguins, who had the NHL’s oldest team last season, will likely be among the oldest this season but Dubas is confident Pittsburgh is in better shape to compete for a Stanley Cup than the franchise was when he arrived.

His message to the prospects hoping to make an impact is simple: show us what you’ve got.

“This is the opportunity you’ve waited for all this time and you’ve got six weeks to put yourself in the best spot to take advantage of it,” Dubas said. “And I’m just excited to see who comes in and takes it.”

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