Tag: Jim Rutherford

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Fancy that: Pens hire War on Ice’s Sam Ventura


Perhaps there will be a sequel to 2014’s fancy stats summer?

It would be hard to top that this time around, but hardcore number-crunching hockey fans will likely take note anyway, as the Pittsburgh Penguins scooped up Sam Ventura, co-creator of War on IceThe Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports that Ventura was hired as a “consultant responsible for analytics.”

The team seems especially excited to add a local, especially one like the 27-year-old, who recently earned a Ph.D. from Carnegie Mellon.

“To have someone who grew up here in Pittsburgh, literally in our backyard, to have the skill set and knowledge base that Sam has, he seemed like the perfect fit,” Jason Karmanos told the Tribune-Review. “Once I met him and started talking to him, I knew that he was the perfect fit for our group here.”

Penguins GM Jim Rutherford seems to give advanced stats some serious respect extending back to his days running the Carolina Hurricanes (even if some situations worked out better than others in that regard).

Karmanos said that Ventura’s addition will “augment” the analytics arm in Pittsburgh, indicating that the team may do more in that area in the future.

Ventura’s hiring reminds one of the Toronto Maple Leafs snatching Extra Skater’s Darryl Metcalf last summer, although it sounds like there’s a chance War on Ice may function for some time. That said, Ventura’s venture shows that the “fancy stats” community can recover from big losses; perhaps Ventura may help the Penguins avoid more letdowns on the ice?

Report: Changes coming to compensation for executives

Dan Bylsma

When the Buffalo Sabres hired Dan Bylsma on Thursday one of the issues reportedly holding up the deal was compensation.

In the end, the Sabres agreed to send the Penguins a third-round selection at the 2016 NHL Draft because Bylsma was still under contract with Pittsburgh despite being fired last year.

Pittsburgh didn’t seek compensation however when New Jersey hired former Pens’ GM Ray Shero earlier this month.

Why not?

“The rule is not as clear as it should be,” Penguins GM Jim Rutherford said on Friday. “We felt that the intent of the rule was for employees that were still with the team, that were working with the team, not terminated employees.

“Once Edmonton (gave Boston) a pick for (former Bruins GM) Peter Chiarelli — when he was a terminated employee — we decided to ask for picks for future employees.”

According to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, the NHL’s Board of Governors will look to clarify the compensation rule.

During his headlines segment on Saturday night, Friedman reported that if an executive is fired by the club, that team will not receive compensation when the individual is hired by another organization.

A team would only receive compensation for an individual still working for a team.

The NHL’s Board of Governors are scheduled to meet next month when the league heads to Las Vegas for the awards.

Report: Bylsma to meet with Sabres this week

Dan Bylsma

On Thursday GM Jim Rutherford opened the door for teams to interview former Pens’ head coach Dan Bylsma without seeking permission.

According to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, Bylsma will meet with the Buffalo Sabres this week.

Bylsma, 44, has not coached since being fired by Pittsburgh last June.

The 2011 Jack Adams Award winner was behind the Penguins’ bench for six seasons posting a 252-117-32 record winning a Stanley Cup in 2009.

As Friedman notes, Bylsma could appeal to the Sabres because he already has a connection with Jack Eichel, who is likely headed to Buffalo. The two were together with Team USA at the 2015 World Championship in the Czech Republic.

Rutherford has given Buffalo and San Jose to speak with Bylsma.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports New Jersey GM Ray Shero has also gotten permission to speak with Bylsma and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton coach John Hynes about the Devils coaching vacancy.

Rutherford has not gotten to the point of seeking compensation.

“We haven’t gotten to that point,” said Rutherford. “That [right to seek compensation] rule kind of works against itself. On one hand, you’re paying an employee who’s not working, so teams prefer to get their salaries moved on [to another club]. But at the same time, we have a rule that, in some cases, there could be compensation.”

The Pens did not get compensation when the Devils hired Shero and Rutherford admitted they may go the same route with Bylsma in an effort to get a deal done.

“We don’t want to jeopardize what [Shero and Bylsma] could do going forward,” Rutherford said. “We’ll just wait to see who Dan possibly could get hired by, and make that decision at the time.”

The Sabres fired head coach Ted Nolan on April 12 after he led Buffalo to a 40-87-17 record in parts of two seasons. Nolan has since interviewed with the Vancouver Giants of the Western Hockey League regarding their coaching vacancy.

Pens looking to acquire a first round pick

2014 NHL Draft - Round 2-7

It’s expected to be the deepest draft in over a decade so there’s no surprise the Pittsburgh Penguins are looking to get themselves a first round pick.

GM Jim Rutherford dealt the Pens’ first round selection, which would’ve been 16th overall, to the Edmonton Oilers along with Rob Klinkhammer for David Perron in January.

“I’ll certainly pursue it,” Rutherford told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, adding, “I don’t know if we’ll be able to pick up one or not.”

Edmonton along with Buffalo, Toronto, Arizona, Philadelphia and Winnipeg all have two first round selections at next month’s draft.

According to Sportsnet’s Damien Cox, the Sabres, who hold the second overall and the 21st overall selections, are listening to offers for No. 21. Buffalo GM Tim Murray ideally wants to move up or acquire a young player in return for the pick.

“There are some teams that have acquired an abundance of first-round picks, and they may not need them all,” Rutherford said. “I’ve actually talked to a couple of those teams already.”

Due to other trades the Penguins have only one selection, their second-rounder, in the first four rounds of this year’s draft.

Pens not interested in Babcock’s services

Mike Babcock

You can cross the Pittsburgh Penguins off the list of teams interested in Mike Babcock’s coaching services.

There was some thought that with Babcock’s ties to a number of Penguins, including Sidney Crosby; through his Olympic coaching experience that Pittsburgh could be a fit.

Penguins CEO David Moorehouse said last month that he has “never given any consideration” to replacing head coach Mike Johnston or GM Jim Rutherford.

Today Rutherford echoed that sentiment.

“We are committed to our present coaching staff,” Rutherford said.

Buffalo, Philadelphia, Toronto, and Edmonton are amongst the teams reportedly interested in Babcock.