The Penguins have turned to an old face to run their team.
They have hired former goaltender Jim Rutherford to replace Ray Shero as general manager.
Rutherford, 65, is a former goaltender with the Penguins who played for the franchise in the 1970s. Up until a few weeks ago, he was the Hurricanes' general manager since June 28, 1994 when the franchise was located in Hartford. Under Rutherford, the Hurricanes won the Stanley Cup in 2006 but had failed to reach the postseason since 2009.
In parts of three seasons, Rutherford appeared in 115 regular season games with the Penguins and had a 44-49-14 record with a 3.14 goals against average and four shutouts.
-EN Says: In the immediate sense, this strikes us as a lateral move at best. Rutherford had fewer resources than Shero and far less success. Perhaps a change of scenery might do Rutherford some good but his successes in recent seasons have been few and far between.
One of the Shero's big failings came with regards to the draft, if recent history is a true barometer, the move to Rutherford offers minimal improvement. Since 2006, Shero's first season, the Penguins had 11 of their 50 draft picks appear in an NHL contest for the Penguins (22.0 percent). Over that same span, Rutherford's drafts with the Hurricanes, 13 of their 49 daft picks (26.5 percent).
In the long term, it's hard to see this being a move for the future considering Rutherford's age. There have been various reports of the Penguins and Red Wings coach Mike Babcock having mutual interest in one another. Babcock currently had one year remaining on his contract. With that in mind, the Red Wings recently signed Jeff Blashill, head coach of their AHL affiliate in Grand Rapids, to a three-year contract extension. It's entirely possible Rutherford could be a placeholder for Babcock or someone else such as Jason Botterill, the assistant general manager who has serve as interim general manager following Shero's firing three weeks ago.
Hurricanes owner Peter Karmanos suggested Rutherford could serve as a mentor as he did for new Hurricanes general manager Ron Francis:
Karmanos said Rutherford did a great job mentoring Francis for GM position. Said he expects Rutherford to do the same for Pens.— Chip Alexander (@ice_chip) June 6, 2014
The Penguins are holding a press conference at 1 p.m. We'll expand this post at its conclusion.
(Photo: Dave Sandford/Getty Images)