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Dubas: Penguins 'running out of time' as deadline looms

Steve Russell / Toronto Star / Getty

Kyle Dubas acknowledged that he's kept the Penguins on a long leash this season, but the general manager hinted that his tolerance is wearing thin as Pittsburgh drops further out of the playoff picture.

"I feel like out of respect to the group here and what they've accomplished, I'm trying to be as patient as possible and give the group the time, and I've outlined that to them, to show that we can really make a push and make a run at it," he said. "As we've continued to stay level or drop, we look up today at the standings, it's a daunting task.

"Is the group capable of it? Yes, I think we've shown this year that we are, but we're running out of time to show that we can do it consistently."

The Penguins are in seventh place in the Metropolitan Division. They're eight points back of the Detroit Red Wings for the second wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference with two games in hand, but they'll need a swift turnaround to avoid missing the playoffs again. Pittsburgh currently has a 33.5% chance of making the postseason, according to MoneyPuck.

TSN's Pierre LeBrun reported Tuesday that the Penguins were willing to listen to offers on all non-core players. Dubas addressed that report on Wednesday.

"I had another GM mention it to me today or ask me about it," he said. "I think we've received a lot of calls on a lot of our players, especially as our team has been in the spot that it's at."

The Penguin generating the most headlines is Jake Guentzel, who can become a free agent this summer. Dubas didn't commit to keeping or moving the star player.

"I understand how valuable (Guentzel) has been as a teammate. ... But at the same time, we have to take stock of where we're at and be realistic about the fact that one of the issues we have is we need to get younger," he said. "We have a lot of guys in their 30s signed - some of them are some of the best players in the history of the franchise. It's tough with Jake - as I've said to him - because he's an excellent player and playing at an elite level."

The executive said he hasn't asked anyone to waive any no-trade or no-movement clauses (Guentzel has a 12-team no-trade list). He has been looking to make a "hockey trade," but nothing has materialized.

Though there's a lot of uncertainty in Pittsburgh, Dubas doesn't expect to become a serious buyer around the trade deadline.

"I can't see us moving future draft capital at this point to try to bolster the team," he said. "At the same time, are there moves that will allow us to add good younger players to the organization that can help to expedite things here and support the group that's already here?"

Next up for the Penguins is a clash against the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday.

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