In-depth forward look: The next Penguins GM

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In-depth forward look: The next Penguins GM

Postby FLPensFan on Tue Mar 06, 2018 4:19 pm

Read an article this morning from Down Goes Brown about the GM class of 2014 (Read it here: https://www.sportsnet.ca/hockey/nhl/gm-class-2014-brad-treliving-jim-benning-joe-sakic/)

This article got me thinking a little bit about the Penguins GM position moving forward, and what I mean by that is, preparing for the post Crosby/Malkin era. To me, I think there are really 3 types of GM's out there.....ones that are good at drafting, ones that are good at trading, and a hybrid between the two. Whether you are good or bad at being that type of GM is a whole other ball of wax.

From my point of view, the Penguins past 2 GMs (Rutherford and Shero) have really been more trade focused than drafting focused. Moving forward, like this year or the following year, I think this team is going to need to shift gears to either a hybrid GM that is adept at both, or a GM who is better at drafting players to restock the system than making trades.

I've mentioned before that after the top 10 picks or so, the draft is really a crap shoot. Your top 5 overall picks typically have a good chance of being a high-level player with a quick path to the NHL (some in their draft year, others within 1-2 years). Your picks 6-10 are usually solid and can be just as good in deeper drafts, just usually in that 1-3 year range to get to the NHL. Once you get past 20th overall, you may be looking at 3-5 years path to the NHL. Once you hit that 23-25 age range, if you haven't been able to crack an NHL roster with some regularity by then, you likely aren't going to be an impact player at the NHL level.

For the purposes of this discussion, I am going to look at draft picks 20th overall and higher (so 20th overall to the last player taken in the draft). The reason I have started there is because quite honestly, if you are picking in the top 5, you've probably got an 80% chance success rate of being successful. This is usually less about the skill of the GM/Scouting department and the equivalent of a layup in most cases. What I am looking for is anyone drafted beyond 20th overall that has played in 80 games or more (with some room for small adjustments, ie 74 games) that is putting up .4 to .5 points per game. .4 is actually on the low end, that's roughly 33 points a season, whereas .5 you are up at 42 plus points. But, I'm using that as my basis for this discussion, and I'm really only focusing on forwards....not goalies or defenseman. I'm also going to keep the draft classes to the turn of the century, year 2000 to present.

If we look at Pittsburgh, the Penguins have only 7 players since 2000 falling in this impact forward point range:
--Jake Guentzel, Bryan Rust, Tyler Kennedy, Matt Moulson, Erik Christiansen, Colby Armstrong, and Michel Ouellet
--Guentzel has the best rate at .66 points per game. 2nd is Ouelett at .61 pts/game. 3rd is Matt Moulson at .56pts/game.

Next, I want to take a look at a few other teams that are generally considered to be good drafting teams (using the same criteria above) and see how they stack up against the Penguins. One thing to note here is that good drafting teams is including defense and goaltending as well, so it is a bit subjective since I am just looking at the forwards.

First up, the Islanders:
--Anthony Beauvillier, Brock Nelson, Anders Lee, Frans Nielsen, Raffi Torres

The Capitals:
--Andre Burakovsky, Evgeny Kuznetsov, Marcus Johansson, Mathieu Perrault

The Blues:
--Robbi Fabbri, Jori Lehtera, David Perron, Patrik Berglund, TJ Oshie, Carl Soderberg, David Backes, Lee Stempniak, Peter Cajanek

The Ducks:
--Ondrej Kase, Rickard Rakell, William Karlsson, Kyle Palmieri, Correy Perry, PA Parenteau

The Kings:
--Adrian Kempe, Tanner Pearson, Tyler Tiffoli, Wayne Simmonds, Mike Cammaleri, Alexander Frolov

The Bruins:
--David Pastranak, Ryan Spooner, Milan Lucic, Brad Marchand, David Krejci, Kris Versteeg, Patrice Bergeron

The Blackhawks:
--Nick Schmaltz, Ryan Hartman, Vince Hinostroza, Phillip Danault, Brandon Saad, Andrew Shaw, Kevin Hayes, Brandon Pirri, Dave Bolland, Troy Brouwer, Tuomo Ruutu

Carolina (which gives you a look at Rutherford's Canes tenure)
--Victor Rask

While the number of player the Penguins got since 2000 draft (7) isn't that far off the high of Chicago (11), really look at the quality of the players taken. I think the Islanders are the only team listed here that may have a worse forward group, and it isn't by much. I'd take the forward group of every other team listed here over the players the Penguins list of forwards. The Penguins group mostly hits the mark I was looking for.....while the other groups have players well exceeding the minimum .4-.5 pts/game. This part is hindsight, but consider a few of the following:
--David Pastranak was taken 3 picks after Kasperi Kapanen
--In 2011, Chicago drafted Danault, Saad, and Shaw. The Penguins had a 1st, 2nd, 5th, 6th, and 7th that year. They took Joe Morrow and Scott Harrington with their first 2 picks.
--In 2006, Boston took Milan Lucic in the 2nd round, and Brad Marchand in the 3rd. Pittsburgh took Jordan Staal 2nd overall. Their 2nd round pick was Carl Sneep, and their 3rd rounder was Brian Strait

So, the point of all this rambling is, with it taking 3-5 years for some of these lower end picks to make an impact at the NHL level, the Penguins need to put themselves in a position to have a GM/Scouting group that in these next few drafts can have a much better success rate of landing some impact forwards to move past the Crosby/Malkin era. Shero was so focused on defenseman, and while they were used for some trades and helped along the way, only Maatta remains from all those defenseman he drafted (half points for Dumo being acquired via trade that same year).

The Penguins are going to need to be a much better drafting team, and that time really starts with next years draft if you consider when Crosby/Malkin/Letang contracts are up, you'd want these young impact guys to just be breaking into the league. You look at Rutherford's tenure at Carolina, which started in the late 90's....and he is getting shorted 3 years because he came to Pittsburgh in 2014....but he only had ONE...ONE...guy that was over a .4 point per game player drafted after 20th overall. That should be cause for some concern.
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Re: In-depth forward look: The next Penguins GM

Postby Humperdink on Tue Mar 06, 2018 7:08 pm

Good analysis (where do you find the time?).

"From my point of view, the Penguins past 2 GMs (Rutherford and Shero) have really been more trade focused than drafting focused. "

As you mentioned later, this is directly attributable to Malkin/Crosby being on the team, at least with Rutherford. Win now. Can't wait for drafts picks to develop. The window is closing.

Regarding the draft and success, I was listening to Buffalo sports radio the other day and they were talking about the 100 game guideline. As in, at what point in the draft does a player have a decent chance of playing a 100 games in the NHL. They mentioned a draft pick in the late second round/early third has a mere 30% chance of playing 100 games in the NHL. I was surprised. So I checked it out. I found the following link:

https://www.tsn.ca/statistically-speaki ... e-1.786131
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Re: In-depth forward look: The next Penguins GM

Postby Jim on Wed Mar 07, 2018 7:52 am

On the other side of the coin (just using the one line as an example)... Every team passed over Lucic some twice. Every team passed over Marchand, some 3 times.

Once it gets to a point that a supporting cast for Crosby and Malkin isn't going to matter (due to their age/drop in ability) obviously the value of trading for said supporting cast will drop. But drafting, no matter the draft #, is always a roll of the dice. Once you get out of the 1st round (even out of the top 15) is is more luck than anything else. Detroit... them picking Zetterberg 210th, 7th round, wasn't good drafting, it was luck. It was luck that no one else picked him with the 209 prior picks. If their scouting on Zetterberg was so high, why would thy not have plucked him in the 6th round? 2nd round?
Datsyuk, 6th round 171st. Luck. Patrick Roy was a 3rd round pick. Hasek was a 10th round pick, 199th overall.

Luck.
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Re: In-depth forward look: The next Penguins GM

Postby no name on Wed Mar 07, 2018 8:14 am

In the salary cap era I think we can see drafting is key even during the cup runs to have quality depth and keeping the cap down for you to make moves. Guys like Wilson Rust Sheary and Knuckle-head. All when they were on entry level contracts contributed to the cup runs. The entry level was key as well as them being to be able to play our system.
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Re: In-depth forward look: The next Penguins GM

Postby Humperdink on Wed Mar 07, 2018 9:01 am

Jim wrote: Detroit... them picking Zetterberg 210th, 7th round, wasn't good drafting, it was luck. It was luck that no one else picked him with the 209 prior picks. If their scouting on Zetterberg was so high, why would thy not have plucked him in the 6th round? 2nd round? Datsyuk, 6th round 171st. Luck. Patrick Roy was a 3rd round pick. Hasek was a 10th round pick, 199th overall.


Not to put too fine a point on it, but with the exception of Roy, all three players you referenced were Europeans, drafted before 2000. I suspect they were not highly scouted/sought in that era. When looking when Datsyuk was drafted by the Wings, I stumbled across this sentence:

"Andersson (Wings Director of European Scouting, Hakan Andersson) believes he was the only NHL scout to have seen Datsyuk play prior to the 1998 NHL Entry Draft, when the Red Wings drafted him 171st overall."

But your larger point is right on. The draft is a roll of the dice, especially after the first round.
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Re: In-depth forward look: The next Penguins GM

Postby FLPensFan on Wed Mar 07, 2018 9:35 am

To add to this, it also got me thinking if teams (especially Pittsburgh) should put more effort into Junior overage/undrafted and College UFA scouting. The Penguins have had recent success with Aston-Reese and Prow signing from the college level.

On the Junior level, they snagged Jordy Bellerive and Sam Militec. Bellerive is 10th in WHL scoring with 89 points in 64 games. Bellerive turns 19 at the end of this month, while many of the guys ahead of him are over-agers (guys not drafted by NHL teams and still playing in Juniors). WHL leader has 112 points in 65 games, but turns 21 or 22 in a few months. Big difference putting up big numbers when most 80% of your competition is 2-4 years younger than you. Militec is 5th in scoring in the OHL with 86 points, but he is currently 21 years old.

Still, the ability to see these college UFAs and undrafted Juniors play a few extra years gives you the ability to see if the reasons they went undrafted were valid, or if maybe with more TOI, experience, etc, they get passed the obstacles scouts saw.

Having a 4th line of ZAR-Bellerive-Sprong would be scary to me. (I honestly know nothing about Bellerive's defensive side, so scary could be taken in a few ways). I think Pensburgh did a piece recently on some of the Pens prospects, and made mention that if the Penguins didn't sign Brassard, there is a strong possibility with another good camp Bellerive could have been the 4C next year. Bellerive stayed much longer last year in training camp, and had 7 points (4g, 3a with a hat trick) in 3 games.

Here is a Bellerive highlight video the WHL put together about 2 weeks ago. Kid seems to have a pretty good shot. Scores several goals at some pretty tough angles. (love those Lethbridge uniforms on the 2nd goal clip):

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Re: In-depth forward look: The next Penguins GM

Postby RisslingsMissingTeeth on Wed Mar 07, 2018 9:42 am

2 thoughts/points:

1. The NHL draft age is a significant problem. They could make the draft more meaningful by raising the age and designating a few stud players as early draft eligible. The Pens are surviving on the college/Jr (older player) FA market. Sheary and ZAR were huge wins that covered over a lot of sins.
2. To truly see how valuable drafting is, I think the analysis that needs to be done would be, how many scorers and leaders in ice time in the top 5 of every team were drafted by that team?

I see the Trochecks and Gaudreaus and such and think, this isn't about 1st round necessarily, but it IS about drafting well like our hit of Jake.
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Re: In-depth forward look: The next Penguins GM

Postby Pruezy11881 on Wed Mar 07, 2018 9:57 am

FLPensFan wrote:To add to this, it also got me thinking if teams (especially Pittsburgh) should put more effort into Junior overage/undrafted and College UFA scouting. The Penguins have had recent success with Aston-Reese and Prow signing from the college level.

On the Junior level, they snagged Jordy Bellerive and Sam Militec. Bellerive is 10th in WHL scoring with 89 points in 64 games. Bellerive turns 19 at the end of this month, while many of the guys ahead of him are over-agers (guys not drafted by NHL teams and still playing in Juniors). WHL leader has 112 points in 65 games, but turns 21 or 22 in a few months. Big difference putting up big numbers when most 80% of your competition is 2-4 years younger than you. Militec is 5th in scoring in the OHL with 86 points, but he is currently 21 years old.

Still, the ability to see these college UFAs and undrafted Juniors play a few extra years gives you the ability to see if the reasons they went undrafted were valid, or if maybe with more TOI, experience, etc, they get passed the obstacles scouts saw.

Having a 4th line of ZAR-Bellerive-Sprong would be scary to me. (I honestly know nothing about Bellerive's defensive side, so scary could be taken in a few ways). I think Pensburgh did a piece recently on some of the Pens prospects, and made mention that if the Penguins didn't sign Brassard, there is a strong possibility with another good camp Bellerive could have been the 4C next year. Bellerive stayed much longer last year in training camp, and had 7 points (4g, 3a with a hat trick) in 3 games.

Here is a Bellerive highlight video the WHL put together about 2 weeks ago. Kid seems to have a pretty good shot. Scores several goals at some pretty tough angles. (love those Lethbridge uniforms on the 2nd goal clip):


Couple things I see there on Jordy. He certainly doesn't mind going to the front of the net for rebounds in traffic. His shot looks pretty good and I think it appears to be sneaky, similar to Kessel's, in that he likes to take quick wristers while in stride which tends to cause goalies pause. I was really looking forward to seeing what he could do at the Prospect's camp last year knowing he was a potential wild card and was very happy that he did well. This could end up being another huge steal for the Pens when it comes to undrafted players.
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Re: In-depth forward look: The next Penguins GM

Postby Jim on Wed Mar 07, 2018 12:59 pm

Humperdink wrote:
Jim wrote: Detroit... them picking Zetterberg 210th, 7th round, wasn't good drafting, it was luck. It was luck that no one else picked him with the 209 prior picks. If their scouting on Zetterberg was so high, why would thy not have plucked him in the 6th round? 2nd round? Datsyuk, 6th round 171st. Luck. Patrick Roy was a 3rd round pick. Hasek was a 10th round pick, 199th overall.


Not to put too fine a point on it, but with the exception of Roy, all three players you referenced were Europeans, drafted before 2000. I suspect they were not highly scouted/sought in that era. When looking when Datsyuk was drafted by the Wings, I stumbled across this sentence:

"Andersson (Wings Director of European Scouting, Hakan Andersson) believes he was the only NHL scout to have seen Datsyuk play prior to the 1998 NHL Entry Draft, when the Red Wings drafted him 171st overall."

But your larger point is right on. The draft is a roll of the dice, especially after the first round.


I just knew that they were very late picks with really having to research. Extreme example usage only. Then Roy popped into my head too.
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Re: In-depth forward look: The next Penguins GM

Postby longtimefan on Wed Mar 07, 2018 1:07 pm

Jim wrote:
Humperdink wrote:
Jim wrote: Detroit... them picking Zetterberg 210th, 7th round, wasn't good drafting, it was luck. It was luck that no one else picked him with the 209 prior picks. If their scouting on Zetterberg was so high, why would thy not have plucked him in the 6th round? 2nd round? Datsyuk, 6th round 171st. Luck. Patrick Roy was a 3rd round pick. Hasek was a 10th round pick, 199th overall.


Not to put too fine a point on it, but with the exception of Roy, all three players you referenced were Europeans, drafted before 2000. I suspect they were not highly scouted/sought in that era. When looking when Datsyuk was drafted by the Wings, I stumbled across this sentence:

"Andersson (Wings Director of European Scouting, Hakan Andersson) believes he was the only NHL scout to have seen Datsyuk play prior to the 1998 NHL Entry Draft, when the Red Wings drafted him 171st overall."

But your larger point is right on. The draft is a roll of the dice, especially after the first round.


I just knew that they were very late picks with really having to research. Extreme example usage only. Then Roy popped into my head too.


The best current day player who fits is Jamie Benn, who was a 5th round pick.
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Re: In-depth forward look: The next Penguins GM

Postby Jim on Wed Mar 07, 2018 2:42 pm

Hornqvist, cept he's Euro too
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Re: In-depth forward look: The next Penguins GM

Postby longtimefan on Wed Mar 07, 2018 3:02 pm

The draft really is a crapshoot, especially after the first 15-20 picks. I was just looking over the Pens drafts since the beginning. I certainly don't want to highjack the thread, but it really is interesting to see how many more players don't make it than make it. Who is the greatest player the Pens ever drafted after the first round? My vote easily went to Recchi.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_P ... ntry_Draft
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Re: In-depth forward look: The next Penguins GM

Postby FLPensFan on Wed Mar 07, 2018 3:12 pm

longtimefan wrote:The draft really is a crapshoot, especially after the first 15-20 picks. I was just looking over the Pens drafts since the beginning. I certainly don't want to highjack the thread, but it really is interesting to see how many more players don't make it than make it. Who is the greatest player the Pens ever drafted after the first round? My vote easily went to Recchi.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_P ... ntry_Draft

Pretty hard to argue with a HOF, multiple cup winning player with over 1000 points and 1600 games played.
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Re: In-depth forward look: The next Penguins GM

Postby wondermoose on Wed Mar 07, 2018 3:50 pm

I'm okay with the WBS development machine performing better than most organizations than the draft history of a team that routinely trades its top picks away. Even if their project prospects don't end up playing much in the NHL, they've proven to be very valuable. They've netted names like Hossa, Dupuis, Guerin, Roberts, Laraque, Kunitz, Neal, Niskanen, Morrow, Iginla, Winnik, Cole, Kessel, Schultz, Hainsey, Reaves, Sheahan, and now Brassard.

I mean, a lot of those guys didn't work out, but look at those names. When you consider all of those players were traded for guys that, by and large, had almost zero impact on the team that got them. The one trade where a legit prospect went out the door was Kessel and that's still the best Pens trade since Francis and Ulf were acquired.
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Re: In-depth forward look: The next Penguins GM

Postby Defence21 on Thu Mar 08, 2018 9:22 am

Ron Francis was removed as the Hurricanes' GM yesterday and "promoted" to president of hockey operations. A new GM will be hired. Not thrilled with his work as a GM with Carolina, but if this is a way of pushing him out, I would love for the Penguins to find a way to get him back into the organization. Probably just my love for nostalgia talking, but I just have a feeling he, like GMJR, was hampered for the tight purse strings and ridiculous ownership in Carolina more than he was by a lack of ability/knowledge.
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Re: In-depth forward look: The next Penguins GM

Postby Humperdink on Thu Mar 08, 2018 9:31 am

Defence21 wrote:Ron Francis was removed as the Hurricanes' GM yesterday and "promoted" to president of hockey operations. A new GM will be hired. Not thrilled with his work as a GM with Carolina, but if this is a way of pushing him out, I would love for the Penguins to find a way to get him back into the organization. Probably just my love for nostalgia talking, but I just have a feeling he, like GMJR, was hampered for the tight purse strings and ridiculous ownership in Carolina more than he was by a lack of ability/knowledge.


From FPF's link above: "Current outlook: It’s hard to imagine Francis ever being fired, given his history in Carolina, and he signed an extension in 2016 that takes him through the end of next season. But could he be moved upstairs to make way for a new set of eyes? With new ownership in place and the Hurricanes on track to miss the playoffs for a league-high ninth straight year, it wouldn’t shock anyone."

Some might call that prescient.
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Re: In-depth forward look: The next Penguins GM

Postby FLPensFan on Thu Mar 08, 2018 10:25 am

Humperdink wrote:
Defence21 wrote:Ron Francis was removed as the Hurricanes' GM yesterday and "promoted" to president of hockey operations. A new GM will be hired. Not thrilled with his work as a GM with Carolina, but if this is a way of pushing him out, I would love for the Penguins to find a way to get him back into the organization. Probably just my love for nostalgia talking, but I just have a feeling he, like GMJR, was hampered for the tight purse strings and ridiculous ownership in Carolina more than he was by a lack of ability/knowledge.


From FPF's link above: "Current outlook: It’s hard to imagine Francis ever being fired, given his history in Carolina, and he signed an extension in 2016 that takes him through the end of next season. But could he be moved upstairs to make way for a new set of eyes? With new ownership in place and the Hurricanes on track to miss the playoffs for a league-high ninth straight year, it wouldn’t shock anyone."

Some might call that prescient.

TIOPS says Francis has permission to seek employment elsewhere, and the move to Hockey Ops president was a nice way not to outright fire him. TIOPS then also has the possibility of Francis coming to Pittsburgh, especially if teams hire Guerin as GM. TIOPS says he is highly sought after for his eye for developing/finding good young talent.
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Re: In-depth forward look: The next Penguins GM

Postby netwolf on Thu Mar 08, 2018 11:38 am

That site always seemed like a "throw everything against the wall and see what sticks" place, so I don't pay it much attention, but I would love to add Francis to the staff.
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Re: In-depth forward look: The next Penguins GM

Postby thehockeyguru on Thu Mar 08, 2018 12:18 pm

With GMJR signed through next year and Billy G getting interest for GM jobs Ron Francis would be a nice add.
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Re: In-depth forward look: The next Penguins GM

Postby FLPensFan on Thu Mar 08, 2018 12:21 pm

netwolf wrote:That site always seemed like a "throw everything against the wall and see what sticks" place, so I don't pay it much attention, but I would love to add Francis to the staff.

Agreed. They aren't much better than an Eklund.....but every once in awhile they hit on something. Never figured out if it was because they had sources, or they just got really good at connecting some dots and making some educated guesses.
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Re: In-depth forward look: The next Penguins GM

Postby FLPensFan on Thu Mar 08, 2018 12:36 pm

thehockeyguru wrote:With GMJR signed through next year and Billy G getting interest for GM jobs Ron Francis would be a nice add.

I know Guerin is good with working with young players ON the ice. I am not sure how well we does in evaluating young talent by watching games and film. If he is good at it, then he may very well be the type of GM this team needs to be the successor to Rutherford.

If there is an internal desire to make him the next GM, then name him the next GM this summer. You don't replace Rutherford, you let Rutherford finish out his last year and name Guerin his replacement when his contract is up. If they think that is too awkward, they can also ask Rutherford to move into a Hockey Ops or other senior management role for the last year of his contract.

But I don't know how the Penguins management/ownership feel about Guerin. I hear a lot of good things, but, I heard a lot of good things about Botteril too and they let him go pretty easy.
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Re: In-depth forward look: The next Penguins GM

Postby wondermoose on Thu Mar 08, 2018 12:52 pm

I was about to respond that maybe Guerin doesn't have enough experience yet, but the double-checked and found out this is his 7th year doing management work. Three years as a development coach then this is the fourth year as an assistant GM. Huh. Maybe he is about ready to take over.

That said, if Rutherford ended up staying another couple years then Guerin might be gone. I doubt Francis can be ripped away from the Carolina franchise, but if he were, then Pittsburgh would be a fitting destination.
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Re: In-depth forward look: The next Penguins GM

Postby thehockeyguru on Thu Mar 08, 2018 12:53 pm

FLPensFan wrote:
thehockeyguru wrote:With GMJR signed through next year and Billy G getting interest for GM jobs Ron Francis would be a nice add.

I know Guerin is good with working with young players ON the ice. I am not sure how well we does in evaluating young talent by watching games and film. If he is good at it, then he may very well be the type of GM this team needs to be the successor to Rutherford.

If there is an internal desire to make him the next GM, then name him the next GM this summer. You don't replace Rutherford, you let Rutherford finish out his last year and name Guerin his replacement when his contract is up. If they think that is too awkward, they can also ask Rutherford to move into a Hockey Ops or other senior management role for the last year of his contract.

But I don't know how the Penguins management/ownership feel about Guerin. I hear a lot of good things, but, I heard a lot of good things about Botteril too and they let him go pretty easy.


Maybe they were ok with Botteril leaving because they have Guerin. It's easier to let 1 go when you have 2 capable replacements.
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Re: In-depth forward look: The next Penguins GM

Postby longtimefan on Thu Mar 08, 2018 12:55 pm

FLPensFan wrote:
Humperdink wrote:
Defence21 wrote:Ron Francis was removed as the Hurricanes' GM yesterday and "promoted" to president of hockey operations. A new GM will be hired. Not thrilled with his work as a GM with Carolina, but if this is a way of pushing him out, I would love for the Penguins to find a way to get him back into the organization. Probably just my love for nostalgia talking, but I just have a feeling he, like GMJR, was hampered for the tight purse strings and ridiculous ownership in Carolina more than he was by a lack of ability/knowledge.


From FPF's link above: "Current outlook: It’s hard to imagine Francis ever being fired, given his history in Carolina, and he signed an extension in 2016 that takes him through the end of next season. But could he be moved upstairs to make way for a new set of eyes? With new ownership in place and the Hurricanes on track to miss the playoffs for a league-high ninth straight year, it wouldn’t shock anyone."

Some might call that prescient.

TIOPS says Francis has permission to seek employment elsewhere, and the move to Hockey Ops president was a nice way not to outright fire him. TIOPS then also has the possibility of Francis coming to Pittsburgh, especially if teams hire Guerin as GM. TIOPS says he is highly sought after for his eye for developing/finding good young talent.


It actually makes a ton of sense, although I don't think it's any earth shattering revelation. If you recall, JR had been given the same title when Karmonos "promoted" him to president, and gave the reigns to Francis. Ronnie learned the ropes from JR, and I've read they're still quite close. JR had no problem bringing in Karmonos' son. Couple that with the fact that it's the other franchise he's known for having played for, and in a city he won two cups. There are a ton of people in the organization he's played with. Tocchet resurrected his coaching career here. Perhaps Ronnie will find an offer better to his liking, but I wouldn'tbe at all surprised to see him here in some capacity.

From what I've read, the new owner is more interested in a figurehead in the GM's position, as he sees himself as a MArk Cuban type owner, who wants the GM and coaches to report directly to him. Carolina has been a wreak for years with the older Karmonos in charge. Especially after his kids sued him, and the team got entangled in an ugly family situation. It drove him crazy when JR referred to the Canes as a budget team. It could ultimately be the best thing that ever happened to Ronnie's front office career. It certainly seems to have given a boost to JR's career........ I was going to say that it was the best career move of Francis' life, but than I remembered a certain trade. :) It will be tough to trump that.
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Re: In-depth forward look: The next Penguins GM

Postby longtimefan on Sun Mar 18, 2018 3:21 pm

https://www.canescountry.com/2017/6/30/ ... nguins-nhl

I came across this article written by a Canes blogger after Rutherford did an interview in Raleigh after the Pens won the back to back cups. It is not favorable, as you might expect, but was telling. JR was hired originally while the team was in Hartford in 1994. He made this statement on the radio, which caused this guy to write his analysis.

Rutherford recently joined The David Glenn Show on 99.9 FM The Fan to discuss his Pittsburgh Penguins team that recently claimed their second consecutive Stanley Cup. He also shared a retrospective thought on his tenure with the Hurricanes, which, if you haven’t seen by now, you can read below:


David Glenn Show
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Rutherford: With the resources we had in Carolina, some years we missed the playoffs were some of my best management years, I believe.

1:12 PM - Jun 27, 2017
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That’s a pretty brazen thing to say on the airwaves of a city whose lone professional sports team for which there’s an argument that you ran into the ground. Honestly, it reads like a pretty serious insult to the intelligence of the fan base.


Now the blogger proceeds to dissect JR's last five years. In his view, he lacked direction. As far as his drafting, he had this to say.

I’m not going to hold Rutherford particularly responsible for the poor drafting that plagued the Hurricanes prior to 2010 (the scouting department was largely responsible for that), but for the same reasons, I also don’t think he deserves a whole lot of credit for the turnaround that we’ve seen in that department.


That kind of stumps me, since JR was the one hiring the scouts in both cases. He proceeds to break down the seasons individually, and, no doubt, JR mad some errors. He's made some here too. He isn't afraid to be bold and decisive. The writer concluded he couldn't figure out what JR meant by the quote. But I found this telling.

This was the year in which Rutherford made his biggest moves to upgrade the team. He dealt Brandon Sutter, Brian Dumoulin, and the 2012 1st to Pittsburgh for Jordan Staal.

He then signed Alex Semin to a one-year, $7 million contract. With a top six forward group of the Staals, Semin, Skinner, Tuomo Ruutu, Jiri Tlusty and Jussi Jokinen, the Hurricanes figured to have one of the more formidable top six units in the league.

However, with all that money tied up to the forwards and with $6.3 million committed to Cam Ward in net, the defense suffered. That problem was only exacerbated when the team’s #1 defenseman, Joni Pitkanen, suffered a career ending injury during the season. Following that, the team regularly iced a defensive unit consisting of Jay Harrison, Bobby Sanguinetti, Brett Bellemore, and Michal Jordan.

Further, which so much money tied up on the top-six forward unit, the bottom six was often a mish-mash of waiver claims and AHL caliber players. Led by a huge season from the first line of Tlusty, Eric Staal, and Semin, the Hurricanes led the division through the first month of the season before their lack of depth all throughout the roster did them in. They finished with the fifth-worst record in the league.


If he wanted to know, he just has to read what he wrote. The Canes never approached the cap, They were a budget team. If they weren't, the defense and bottom six may have gotten more attention. The Pens are blessed to be a cap team, not a budget team. Which makes a huge difference in what a GM can accomplish.
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