by PuckStopsHere on 06/10/14 at 06:29 PM ET
On Friday the Pittsburgh Penguins announced that Jim Rutherford would be their next general manager. He takes over from recently fired Ray Shero. Shero was a very good GM who was jettisoned because Pittsburgh lost in the playoffs. The problem was Penguins ownership had no idea what to do next and that is clear from the Rutherford hiring.
Jim Rutherford is a 65 year old who was the Hartford Whaler/ Carolina Hurricane GM from 1994 until earlier this year when he stepped aside to let Ron Francis take over. At that point it was presumed he was retiring. The highlight of his run as GM was winning the 2006 Stanley Cup. That success was the exception rather than the rule under Rutherford. In twenty years the team's record was 571 wins, 698 losses and 20 ties. He had 167 regulation tie points over that time. That record is well below .500. A Rutherford team was usually a losing team. They never were the worst team in the league and sometimes were above average but it is not a spectacular record. Rutherford appears to be a competent NHL GM but well below the best in the game. As he went into retirement it looked like there would be no desire for another team to give him a run.
The hope is that Rutherford will guide the ship until a younger man in the Pittsburgh organization is ready to take over. Jason Boterill, Bill Guerin and Tom Fitzgerald are hopefully his replacements. They are associate and assistant general managers in the organization today.
A much more coherent plan would be to keep Ray Shero as GM and perhaps replace him if any of these younger candidates ever become ready. Jim Rutherford is at best a stop gap to buy some time. That wasn't needed with Ray Shero in the organization. This is a step down in the quality of their general manager. Pittsburgh made a mistake in firing Ray Shero as their general manager. The fact they replaced him with a recently stepped down (and presumed retiring) GM shows this. The fact they are already talking about who they hope replaces Rutherford shows it. This move does not bode well for the Pittsburgh Penguins.
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