DUDLEY ON RADAR
With Pat Brisson taking himself out of the running for the Penguins GM position, there’s believed to be no clear front runner at this time, and possibly no plan B, though, some whispers on candidates of interest are starting to come out.
Two NHL sources tell Inside Pittsburgh Sports that Canadiens Assistant GM Rick Dudley is expected to garner strong interest from the Penguins and is very much on the Penguins radar in the early stages of their search.
Dudley who has over 40 years of hockey experience, has worked in various managerial roles with the Montreal Canadiens, Toronto Maple Leafs, Atlanta Thrashers, Chicago Blackhawks, Florida Panthers, Tampa Bay Lightning and Ottawa Senators.
Dudley had stints as a General Manager with the Ottawa Senators, Tampa Bay Lightning, Florida Panthers and Atlanta Thrashers.
From 1999-2002, he was GM of the Tampa Bay Lightning and he often gets credit for the Lightning eventually becoming a Stanley Cup Champion in 2004.
Dudley who is highly regarded as a talent evaluator and has a strong track record of scouting and building, worked for the Blackhawks from 2004-2009 as a consultant and then elevated to assistant General Manager as the Blackhawks transformed into a Stanley Cup team by building through the draft.
Dudley has been the Canadiens assistant GM since 2012. He was also a serious contender for the Penguins GM opening in 2006, a search at the time that was led by then team CEO Ken Sawyer.
Dudley, though, is 65 and believed to be comfortable with his role in Montreal but he’s expected to listen if the Canadiens grant permission. During the Sabres GM search this season, Dudley signed a lucrative extension in November that kicks in next season and he said to be paid very well.
Penguins co-owner Mario Lemieux has publicly said the Montreal Canadiens are built the way he would like the Penguins to be built. The Canadiens who play with some of the characteristic’s Lemieux seeks, speed, character, grit, are down 2-0 in the Eastern Conference Finals to the New York Rangers.
Henrik Lundqvist stole the show early and New York is two wins away from reaching the Stanley Cup Final for the first time in 20 years.