Penguins to go the President of Hockey Operations Route?

Adjusting to the new trends?

We’ll see whether it actually transpires or not, but the Pittsburgh Penguins will go into the interview process this week with an open mind of implementing a major upheaval of the front office structure.

There is a growing sense around the league that Co-Owners Mario Lemieux and Ron Burkle will strongly consider a President of Hockey Operations structure with a desire for Team President David Morehouse, while still acting as the liaison to ownership on hockey level dealings, To read this insider news, subscribe to get “Inside Access”!

Some are expressing caution that this will actually play out, but it’s something being seriously mulled by Lemieux and Burkle, sources say, and that’s a good thing.

That has the Penguins bringing in 3-4 candidates this week to hear pitches on this model and actually be interviewing for President of Hockey Operations, not General Manager.

Multiple league sources confirm PTo read this insider news, subscribe to get “Inside Access”! Sources say former Kings General Manager Dean Lombardi, now with the Philadelphia Flyers in an executive role, has expressed strong interest in being considered for such a role.

Meanwhile, whispers in the Penguins organization is don’t rule out P[hide]ierre McGuire quietly surfacing at some point for the President of Hockey Operations role if the Penguins actually go this route, whether now or in the summer.

How is the Penguins job viewed around the league:

It’s pretty much in two parts:

Former General Managers are clamoring for the job and see it as a great chance and opportunity

The top tier of younger assistant General Manager’s who are rising stars in the ranks don’t see it the same way.

— Pittsburgh’s early stage of the search is who they won’t be getting permission for, not who they have permission for right now.

In-season permission is not expected to be granted for Rangers assistant GM Chris Drury while Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported Saturday night of the expected news that the New Jersey Devils are not “inclined” to grant permission to allow Tom Fitzgerald permission to interview for the job. Fitzgerald has strong interest in taking over the Penguins front office, multiple sources say, but Fitzgerald isn’t about to pull a John Chayka. Fitzgerald and Drury were at the top of the Penguins early wishlist. If there was a way, the Penguins would name Fitzgerald their next General Manager today without interviewing anybody. That’s how much of a front-runner he would be if he was available and he was going to be the top target this summer were Jim Rutherford had actually honored his contract and stayed on for the rest of the season.

— Penguins have been granted permission to interview To read this insider news, subscribe to get “Inside Access”! among the recommendations from executives the Penguins have been getting as someone they should take a look at is STo read this insider news, subscribe to get “Inside Access”!

PIT – NYR Takeaways

There’s some teams the Penguins match up well with in the East Division and some they don’t. One team they matchup really well with is the New York Rangers. Every game might have been close thus far on the scoreboard, but there’s enough of a sample size here with three games to show this is a favorable matchup for Pittsburgh. The Penguins can get exposed greatly against teams that are hard on the puck, imposing below the dots (Washington) and have great puck support (Boston) in all three zones.

The Rangers have none of that. Sure it’s a skilled lineup in certain spots with an elite talent in Artemi Panarin and a budding star in defenseman K’andre Miller, but they just don’t play a good team game, and it allows the Penguins to go out there and skate to create offense with their speed compared to facing other opponents.

The Penguins were efficient in Saturday’s game by turning defense into offense by creating turnovers in the neutral zone or just inside the blueline off the opponents zone entries. I’ve said it before, that has to become a staple for this team. Learn to sit back some, stay in your lanes and pressure at the right time to try to push offense the other way.

— The two standouts from the win were obvious Kasperi Kapanen and Pierre-Olivier Joseph. Kapanen has been great to start the year with his play away from the puck in getting behind defenders. The Leafs brass became frustrated with the lack of finish, but so far he’s added a much needed element this team desperately needed.

With young comers and new additions, you have to always take into account the adrenaline rush and not to go overboard with what you see right away. Mark Jankowski is a good example of that. There’s not much there despite the hot start in the first two games.

PO Joseph is different. Don’t need an 8-10 game sample to see this is a talented player and what is most impressive for the 21 year old defenseman is he doesn’t rush things when pressured. He’s patient with the puck, lets passing lanes open up. He excelled Saturday night in connecting with stretch passes that fueled the Penguins speed game. Again, there’s going to be some rough nights for him, but the Penguins have something here.
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