Pittsburgh Penguins’ GM Jim Rutherford Resigns

Earlier today, the Pittsburgh Penguins made a very unexpected announcement. General manager Jim Rutherford has resigned due to personal reasons. The team also said that the search for a new GM will begin immediately. In the meantime, assistant GM Patrik Allvin will take over as the interim GM. Allvin has been with the Penguins organization for 15 seasons, having joined as a scout beginning in the 2006-07 season. He was later promoted to director of amateur scouting in 2017 before being named assistant GM back in November 2020. During this interim period, Allvin will also be consulting with Mario Lemieux, the team’s owner and a Hall of Fame player.

Rutherford’s Career

Jim Rutherford had been with the Penguins as general manager since the 2014-15 season. They’ve made the playoffs every year that he’s been in charge, and brought home two Stanley Cups. The 71-year-old was also elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2019.

Before joining the Penguins organization, Rutherford served as GM of the Carolina Hurricanes/Hartford Whalers organization for 20 years and oversaw the Hurricanes winning the Stanely Cup in 2006. Before that, he played 13 seasons in the NHL as a goaltender, split between the Penguins, Detroit Red Wings, Los Angeles Kings, and Toronto Maple Leafs.

Statements From The Penguins Organization

Since the news broke, Rutherford has put out a statement, as well as the Penguin’s president and CEO, David Morehouse, and interim GM Patrik Allvin. All of these are quotes are per this article from NHL.com.

Jim Rutherford, Now-Former GM

In conjunction with the press release, Rutherford put out the following statement thanking the Penguins organization and fans: “It has been a great honor to serve as general manager of the Penguins, and to hang two more Stanely Cup banners at PPG Paints Arena. I have so many people to thank, beginning with the owners, Ron Burkle and Mario Lemieux, and team president David Morehouse. There always has been so much support from everyone involved with the Penguins, both on the hockey and business staffs, and, of course, a special group of players led by Sidney Crosby. The fans here have been tremendous to me and my family. I know it’s a little unusual to have this happen during a season, but just felt this was the right time to step away.”

David Morehouse, Team President and CEO

Morehouse released a statement at the same time as the press release went out, which is as follows: “Jim has been an amazing representative of the Pittsburgh Penguins, and he’ll always have a special place in our team’s history, his own legacy. He’ll always be a part of the Penguins. On behalf of our ownership, management, staff, coaches, and players, we want to thank him for his many contributions, which go far beyond two Stanley Cups. Jim is a great friend and teammate. We wish him and his family the best.”

After the press release went out, Morehouse then went on to speak to reporters about Rutherford and the team’s plans moving forward. You can find the main bits in the tweet below, or check out this article for more.

Patrik Allvin, Interim GM

Allvin also put out a statement, thanking Rutherford and promising that he will the best he can as interim GM. Here’s the full statement: “I’m excited for this new opportunity with the Penguins, but I would not be in this position were it not for Jim’s faith in me over these past seven years. I want to thank him and wish him the best. Moving forward, I want everyone to know- from our ownership to our fans- that I’m committed to doing the best job possible for the Penguins, building on our strong start to the season.

My Thoughts

I was as surprised as anybody by this announcement. I was initially worried that he resigned due to health issues. So, I was relived to find out that was not the case. The timing of this is extremely weird though. Almost every sign is pointing to something having happened within the organization that made Jim Rutherford leave, although he was not forced out. For starters, he reportedly hasn’t made up his mind as to whether or not he’s going to retire or look for work elsewhere. But, he apparently strongly hinted towards the latter. It’s also extremely weird to me that Mario Lemieux hasn’t released a statement about Rutherford. Usually, when a GM leaves, the team president and new GM aren’t the only ones talking. You typically have at least the team owner thanking them for everything they did. 

In addition to those things, Pierre LeBrun asked Rutherford why he wouldn’t offer a reason beyond saying he felt it was the right time, Rutherford said “I don’t think it serves anybody well.” Then, Ken Campbell asked him why he didn’t just stick out the last few months of his contract, and he said “I’m not going to get into that.” All of this points to something having happened. I have no guesses as to what it could be though. It could be anything. No one has made a statement except for Morehouse and Allvin. So, even though Lemieux sticks out the most to me as someone who should’ve made a statement that didn’t, it wasn’t necessarily an issue with him.

We’ll likely never know what exactly went on that led to Jim Rutherford’s resignation. But regardless, I wish him and his family all the best in the future!

-Lydia Murray (@lydia_murray12)

Featured image courtesy of Jessie Wardawski/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

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