You may question some of his moves, but you can’t say he lacks candor.
Penguins GM Jim Rutherford met with reporters today in Pittsburgh, and proceeded to:
— Admit the club erred in the development of Beau Bennett, that the player should have spent more time in the AHL.
— Express regret for trading young defenseman Simon Despres for veteran defenseman Ben Lovejoy.
— Concede he could have handled an interaction with a certain member of the media better.
Those were the mistakes for which he held himself accountable.
But Rutherford also said:
— He has the full support of ownership to make the changes he sees fit, which may include buyouts. (Rob Scuderi?)
— He will look to add a top-six winger, most likely through a trade, given the dearth of options in free agency.
— The head coach he hired, Mike Johnston, did a good job, and the players said so.
Anyway, it should be a very interesting offseason in Pittsburgh. The Penguins have a number of pending unrestricted free agents, including Paul Martin, Christian Ehrhoff, Steve Downie and Thomas Greiss.
It could also be a challenging one for Rutherford. If he wants to add a top-six winger through a trade, what, exactly, could he offer in return? He already traded his first-round pick to get David Perron, and it’s not like the Penguins are blessed with an overabundance of prospects.
Besides, they need to develop their prized youngsters, not trade them away for short-term fixes. (You know, like they traded away Després.)