LATEST ON PENGUINS GM SEARCH
The Pittsburgh Penguins have interviewed Julien BriseBois, Tampa Bay Lightning Assistant GM, Jason Botterill, Penguins Interim General Manager, Tom Fitzgerald, Assistant to General Manager, and Pierre McGuire, TV Analyst, for their General Manager position, a source tells Inside Pittsburgh Sports.
BriseBois, Botterill and Fitzgerald all met with Team President David Morehouse last week, Inside Pittsburgh Sports has learned.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette first reported Monday night that Fitzgerald, the Penguins second internal candidate to surface, is believed to have interviewed for the job.
Will there be a third internal candidate?
Former Thrashers GM and current Penguins Pro Scout Don Waddell has also expressed strong interest in the job but is not believed to be on ownership’s radar.
Fitzgerald while unlikely to get the GM job, is highly thought of by ownership and is believed to be someone ownership would like to keep around in a prominent role, especially if Jason Botterill is elevated to GM.
In fact, some in the organization would love to see Fitzgerald get back behind the bench, though, that’s something he hasn’t been looking to do in the past.
So where is the Penguins search headed after an initial wave of interviews with a select group of top candidates?
Tampa Bay’s Julien BriseBois and Jason Botterill continue to be pegged as front runners for now.
BriseBois, who has emerged as a top contender for the job, has been strongly recommended by many around the league, including Lightning owner Jeff Vinik, a close friend of Mario Lemieux’s and Ron Burkle, and someone ownership has sought information from since the Shero firing.
Assistant GM’s Norm MacIver, Chicago Blackhawks, Jeff Gorton, New York Rangers, and Rick Dudley, Montreal Canadiens, top the list of the next wave of 3-4 candidates the Penguins have done significant homework on over the last week.
The Tribune-Review has also mentioned Toronto’s Dave Poulin as a candidate.
Since Shero was fired on May 16, the Penguins had discussed up to 12 candidates internally but their focus is believed to be on six, maybe seven candidates at the most right now going into the second full week of their GM search.
It’s likely that the list gets cut down to around 3 to 4 by the end of the week.
Pierre McGuire who is under consideration for the job, has the Penguins intrigued about his ability as a talent evaluator, sources say, in addition to their being a familiarity between the two sides. McGuire, though, would be a very tough sell to the Penguins fan base.
Two of the 12 candidates the Penguins had discussed at one point included long-time General Managers Jim Rutherford and George McPhee.
For now it continues to be looked at as a long-shot that Nashville’s Paul Fenton gets serious consideration from the Penguins. Fenton is regarded in league circles as one of the best GM candidates available.