Report: Jim Rutherford will be Penguins’ new GM

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Less than two months after he stepped aside as the Carolina Hurricanes’ general manager, Jim Rutherford will fill the GM vacancy in Pittsburgh, according to TSN’s Bob McKenzie.

Rutherford was the general manager of the Hartford Whalers/Carolina Hurricanes for two decades before Ron Francis assumed that role in April. Rutherford remained a member of the organization as the team’s president.

During his lengthy tenure with the Hurricanes, Carolina reached the Stanley Cup Final twice and won the championship in 2006. However, the Hurricanes only made the playoffs five times and haven’t secured a postseason berth in their last five years.

The Penguins have made the playoffs for eight consecutive seasons, but they haven’t lived up to expectations in their recent playoff runs. Part of their problem has been a lack of depth, which is likely to be exasperated by the start of Kris Letang’s eight-year, $58 million contract. Along with Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, the Penguins are now dedicating $25.45 million annually in cap space to three players.

Assuming the report is true and Rutherford will indeed be the Penguins’ next general manager, he will need to decide what to do with the team’s coaching staff. When the Penguins fired former GM Ray Shero, they made the decision to leave head coach Dan Bylsma in limbo. The Penguins next general manager will have the option of either backing Bylsma or firing the bench boss.

Update: The Penguins are expected to officially announce that Jim Rutherford will be their next general manager during a press conference at 1:00 p.m. ET, per the Globe and Mail’s James Mirtle.