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What do rival executives expect of the Penguins this off-season?
Some tweaks around the edges and the team to ‘run it back’.
Several weeks after a third straight Round 1 ouster, General Manager Ron Hextall and his group are said to still this group is right their with the Tampa Bay’s and others to compete for a Stanley Cup next season and the possibility of seismic changes is going to get pushed back to next summer.
Maybe Hextall has the ultimate poker face going on but good luck finding anyone in the know who has expectations of anything else playing out.
With a number of big names available, a major change in how Jim Rutherford operated compared to how Ron Hextall goes about is already being seen.
Rutherford was notorious for being in on everything, even if the Penguins had no business in being in the mix. He would always keep his ear on talks until the end.
The Ryan McDonagh trade sweepstakes as limited as they were, is a perfect example from 2018, where Rutherford made a swing for McDonagh pretty much out of nowhere in the final hours of the deadline that even surprised his own management team.
Hextall isn’t going to be that guy and whether that ends up being a good or bad thing for this team remains to be seen.
Sources say Hextall will go in with a plan and stick with it. He’s doesn’t veer off the path.
If Rutherford was still in the GM chair, you’d be hearing the Penguins as a team that checked in on Jack Eichel because Rutherford 100% would have and kept his pulse on where talks were and headed, especially with Sabres going to get nowhere near the prospects/multiple first round picks return Buffalo initially sought.
Jack Eichel, Buffalo Sabres
Signed Through: 2025-2026
Cap Hit: $10.5 Million
Salary Owed: $50 million
Signing Bonus Remaining On Deal: $7.5 Million
Signed Through: 2025-2025
Team sources say Hextall Want the Full Story? Get "Inside Access" A game breaker who can start taking pressure off the Penguins being so reliant on Crosby offensively. Pittsburgh is losing their minds that Evgeni Malkin is or can still be that guy for the next couple seasons. Want the Full Story? Get "Inside Access"
The most intrigue around the league on Eichel centers around three teams Want the Full Story? Get "Inside Access" Guerin has some Jimmy Rutherford in him. He’s not afraid to make bold moves and it’s on the table for Minnesota.
— Ron Hextall Want the Full Story? Get "Inside Access" There was little surprise that Sam Ventura moved on when his contract expired, joining the Buffalo Sabres front office last week. Ventura was one primary individual in the Penguins organization whose influence moving forward was significantly impacted by Rutherford’s resignation. The writing was on the wall for months that he’d be seeking other opportunities.
— Rick Tocchet and the Toronto Maple Leafs failed to agree to terms on Tocchet joining the team as a top assistant to head coach Sheldon Keefe. Tocchet was offered the job but sounds Want the Full Story? Get "Inside Access"
— Penguins assistant coach Mike Vellucci had his name in the mix for a few specific openings this summer. Vellucci interviewed twice Want the Full Story? Get "Inside Access"