The Pittsburgh Penguins have reportedly hired former Carolina Hurricanes GM Jim Rutherford as their new general manager.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Penguins will make the official announcement at a press conference later today. Rutherford spent two decades with the Hurricanes stretching back to their final years as the Hartford Whalers. The Hurricanes between 2002 and 2009 reached the Eastern Conference Final three times, the Stanley Cup Final twice and won the Cup in 2006. However, the Hurricanes failed to make the playoffs over the final five years of Rutherford’s tenure. While he brings years of experience into the role, his struggles to rebuild the Hurricanes in recent years could be of concern to Penguins fans.
He’s inheriting a talented club which has been a strong regular season team but struggled to follow up its own championship success since 2009. Among his first decisions will be determining the fate of head coach Dan Bylsma, as well as those of goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury, defenseman Kris Letang and winger James Neal, who’ve all been mentioned as trade candidates since the Penguins elimination from the second round last month. He must also liaise quickly with the Penguins scouting department to determine their targets for the upcoming NHL draft.
**UPDATE** Well, that didn’t take long. The Penguins announced they’ve fired Dan Bylsma as head coach, something they probably should’ve done three weeks ago, rather than let the guy twist in the wind.