Penguins name Jim Rutherford general manager

  • Joe Ray
jim rutherford

Jim Rutherford has been confirmed  as the next general manager of the Pittsburgh Penguins. (AP)

In a move that could be classified as surprising by many, the Pittsburgh Penguins have identified their successor to Ray Shero as general manager.

TSN’s Bob McKenzie reported Friday morning that Jim Rutherford, who stepped down this offseason after 20 years as general manager of the Carolina Hurricanes, will take over in the same role with the Penguins.

 

The hire was confirmed at a press conference shortly after 1 EDT.

The most noteworthy name among the external candidates for this job was NBC Sports Network commentator Pierre McGuire, who had two interviews with the Penguins and was an assistant coach and scout with the team in the early 1990’s. Tampa Bay assistant general manager Julien Brisebois and Nashville assistant general manager Paul Fenton were also expected to compete with internal candidates like Jason Botterill and Tom Fitzgerald for the general manager position.

Rutherford was a part of the Hurricanes’ transformation from the Hartford Whalers, establishing the franchise in the southern market. In Rutherford’s tenure, the team lost to Detroit to the 2002 Stanley Cup finals after the return of current Hurricanes general manager Ron Francis. The Hurricanes won their first and only Stanley Cup in 2006 led by youngsters Eric Staal and Justin Williams.

Rutherford and Shero, whom Rutherford would be succeeding in Pittsburgh, once negotiated a blockbuster trade at the 2012 NHL Draft. In order to reunite center Jordan Staal with older brother Eric in Carolina, Rutherford sent center Brandon Sutter, defenseman Brian Dumoulin, and the eighth overall pick (used on defenseman Derrick Pouliot) to Pittsburgh.

After five consecutive years with no postseason berths, Rutherford decided to step down from his general manager position with the Hurricanes and remain as team president. It was expected that Rutherford, 65, would stay in the Hurricanes’ organization even as Francis took over.

After interviewing for the Penguins vacancy earlier this week, however, the opportunity to retool a team around Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin appears to have been enough to lure Rutherford to Pittsburgh.

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