Sullivan to enter 2019-2020 Season as lame-duck coach?

With rising coaching salaries, Mike Sullivan has fallen out of the top-10 in coaching salaries and Sullivan’s bosses don’t seem eager to extend Sullivan’s contract anytime soon.

Penguins GM Jim Rutherford appearing on The Cook and Joe Show this morning (937 The Fan) again downplayed the importance of extending Sullivan this summer.

Rutherford indicating to the show he has other things to deal with, saying “both [Matt Murray and Mike Sullivan] guys have another year” and added “maybe just let it run out” regarding the contract situations regarding Matt Murray and Mike Sullivan.

Matt Murray’s contract situation is not a big story. He’s going nowhere, he’ll be an RFA next summer. You have time and I kind of agree with him to let it play out than dishing out a $5.5-$6 million a year long-term deal.

Mike Sullivan is just a different story.

If he’s not extended and I don’t get the sense ownership is giddy about paying a coach $4-$5 million a year, this is going to be a major distraction if the Penguins get off to a so-so start which they’ve done the last two years.


The biggest takeaway from Rutherford’s interview on The Fan was a 3-4 second pause when asked if he will come out and say the likes of Evgeni Malkin, Kris Letang, Patric Hornqvist won’t be traded.

“I can’t,” Rutherford said. There’s been great players traded in this league [hide]. Somebody comes along with a package that makes sense for the Penguins we have to look at it……. Gretzky was traded,” Rutherford later added.

— On Phil Kessel: “I’m not actively trying to trade him at this point. We’re not finished making changes. I will expect there will be a couple more. He’s [Phil Kessel] exercising his right. Obviously it’s frustrating for the team where the trade we were going to make was right for the Penguins.”

— Rutherford said the goal was to move one of Olli Maatta or Jack Johnson to open some cap space.

“Jack Johnson was not involved in original deal,” Rutherford said of the failed Kessel deal. [/hide]