The Rutherford Fallout & Latest on the GM Search
Worst kept secret around the league right now:
Jim Rutherford will be laying the groundwork the next couple months to join a franchise as a President of Hockey Operations with former Penguins Assistant GM Jason Karmanos coming in as General Manager. Karmanos who was Rutherford’s top lieutenant the last couple seasons wasn’t just a puppet for Rutherford. He has been considered an up and coming name in the executive ranks and was a sleeper GM candidate in the Coyotes recent search and also spoke with the Devils for their opening last season.
— There is more and more noise from those close to Rutherford that sometime around late October/early November he started to believe a mutual parting AFTER the season was more likely than not, which is a shock to many as it was always assumed Rutherford would be allowed to stay on as long as he wanted due to the relationship he had with David Morehouse at a personal/professional level. But, cracks started to mount at the professional level between the two.
Sources say Issues/Disagreements just continued to fester and fester since the bubble until Rutherford for whatever reason reached a breaking point this week and just abruptly quit on the franchise. That continues to be the accurate picture of the situation, sources say.
— Underrated part of the breakup. Jim Rutherford willingly took a massive pay cut during the start of the pandemic as did other high paying members of the organization like Mike Sullivan. Multiple league sources say, though, when pay cuts to Rutherford’s staff (those under him) were still on-going several months after the start of the pandemic when the Penguins were going through preparations Want the Full Story? Get "Inside Access"
— Two-Way contracts are normally negotiated by the assistant General Manager but in the case of Yannick Weber who is likely to debut tonight vs the New York Rangers, it was Jim Rutherford who did all the leg work in signing Weber.
That’s how inexperienced the situation is now and was under Rutherford prior to abrupt exit. All parties involved deserve criticism for that. The fact the staff under Rutherford was so unqualified in NHL level dealings and other pro level aspects even before Rutherford quit was extremely risky in itself when you had a General Manager Rutherford’s age and being a high risk person in a global pandemic.
This is an extremely important hire for the Penguins and all bets equal, if they have to wait until after the season to get the guy they really want, that’s Want the Full Story? Get "Inside Access" Others around the league, though, say Pittsburgh’s management hierarchy is so unqualified right now for this situation that they feel Pittsburgh Want the Full Story? Get "Inside Access"
— One of the myth’s going around is that Jim Rutherford was not permitted to trade Kris Letang and that the next GM will have a mandate from ownership that Letang will be off limits. Completely bogus, multiple league sources say, and the next General Manager will not have any such orders. Rutherford was allowed to shop Letang and did so pretty hard leading into the Want the Full Story? Get "Inside Access"
— When combining in-person/phone interviews, Pittsburgh conducted 33 interviews during the 2014 GM Search. Will not be that large this time around. The Penguins plan to speak to around Want the Full Story? Get "Inside Access"
At the end of the day, the 2014 search came down to who the Penguins were comfortable with as a person. It will be the same again. That’s why Pat Brisson was an initial top target, then Pierre McGuire was offered the job after three in-person interviews over a three week period. Jim Rutherford brought in the worst looking resume the Penguins had seen on paper of all the candidates. He knocked his interview out of the park. He was just real, one source said. During the 14 search the Penguins had a ton of recommendations from NHL people they consulted with that they have to hire Want the Full Story? Get "Inside Access"