The Pittsburgh Penguins’ search for a general manager appears to be over and to the delight of many fans, it won’t be Pierre McGuire stepping into the seat vacated by Ray Shero’s firing.
Instead, according to Bob McKenzie from Canadian network TSN, the Penguins have hired former Carolina Hurricanes general manager Jim Rutherford to head up the front office.
He will try to adjust a team that has underperformed miserably during the postseason the past five years after great results during the regular year.
Rutherford, 65, was recently replaced as the general manager in Carolina by former Penguins center Ron Francis after 20 years on the job.
Like McGuire, Rutherford also has ties to the Pittsburgh organization, having played as a goaltender for the team from 1971-74. Since 1994, he has been president and part owner of the Hurricanes, who were the Hartford Whalers up until 1997.
For the past decade-plus, he was also the team’s general manager, building the Hurricanes that won the Stanley Cup in 2006.
As a player, Rutherford was credited with starting the popular trend of hockey goalies decorating their masks in 1976.
His hiring sets him up nicely in time for the 2014 NHL Draft and Rutherford will have to jump right into the fire as decisions will have to be made on current Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma and numerous free agents.
At the end of the day, though, Rutherford steps into a pristine job with the Penguins in which he has a potential Stanley Cup roster at his disposal.
We will find out if he can make the necessary changes that will prevent the Penguins from suffering yet another disappointing postseason fate in 2015.