May 13, 2014; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; NHL linesman Scott Driscoll (68) escorts Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin (71) to the penalty box for slashing against the New York Rangers during the third period in game seven of the second round of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs at the CONSOL Energy Center. The Rangers won the game 2-1 and took the series 4 games to 3. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

NHL: Pittsburgh Penguins are Struggling with Jim Rutherford as GM

On June 6, 2014, the Pittsburgh Penguins hired Jim Rutherford as their new General Manager. After 20+ years of experience in that position with the Hartford Whalers and Carolina Hurricanes, Rutherford seemed like the most qualified person for the job.

Two and a half weeks later, the Pittsburgh Penguins are left in shambles. After seemingly striking out on all of their head coach options, the Pens are forced to restart their head coach searching process less than one week before the NHL Entry Draft.

The Pittsburgh Penguins have missed out on Bill Peters, who went to the Carolina Hurricanes, Willie Desjardins, who went to the Vancouver Canucks, and Ulf Samuelsson. Samuelsson felt like being head coach wasn’t the best move for him right now, so something obviously went south in Pittsburgh with those negotiations.

The Carolina Hurricanes seemingly beat the Pittsburgh Penguins to the punch with the signing of former Red Wings assistant Bill Peters on Thursday. The Pens seemed like the team for Desjardins, but they refused to give him a three-year deal, and they did not let him hire his own assistants, so he decided to go to the West Coast and join the Canucks.

Jim Rutherford seems to be the source of these issues. He couldn’t offer Peters a deal in time, he was too restrictive of Desjardins, and he scared off Samuelsson.

Now that Jim Rutherford has missed out on all of his top candidates, he has to go back to the drawing board. Candidates that once seemed unqualified or not good enough will have to be good enough now.

It makes sense to now seriously question if Jim Rutherford was the right man for the job in Pittsburgh, PA. He is obviously struggling to pull in a head coach, and we are just days away from the NHL Entry Draft in Philadelphia.


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