The Pittsburgh Penguins have promoted Tom Kostopoulos to director of player development after the Vancouver Canucks pipeline activated to lure away Scott Young. Both teams’ moves were announced Friday.
Kostopolous, 43, has spent the past four seasons as a development coach for the Penguins and their American Hockey League affiliate, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.
Young has spent the past five years in his position with the Penguins. He now will be the Canucks’ director of player personnel, Vancouver general manager Patrick Allvin announced Friday. It was one of several promotions and additions to that club’s hockey operations department.
Former Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford is the Canucks’ president of hockey operations, and Allvin left the Penguins to become Canucks GM.
With a rebuild possible in the coming years as older Penguins core players retire or move on — Sidney Crosby is signed for three more seasons, and Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang will become unrestricted free agents this summer if not re-signed — the development of prospects will be crucial.
The Penguins also announced that Madison Nikkel has been promoted to video coach. That comes after the team recently promoted Andy Saucier from video coach to hockey operations analyst/pro personnel.
Here is the Penguins news release:
The Pittsburgh Penguins have promoted Tom Kostopoulos to director of player development and Madison Nikkel to video coach it was announced today by general manager Ron Hextall.
Kostopoulos, 43, has spent the past four seasons as a player development coach for Pittsburgh and the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins of the American Hockey League. He worked with young prospects throughout the Penguins organization and assisted in the development of players in minor leagues, junior and college hockey.
“Tom has done an excellent job developing and monitoring players at the minor league and amateur levels over the past four years,” said Hextall. “His work ethic and experience coming up through the ranks during his career serve as a great example for our players. We are excited to have him lead our player development staff.”
Kostopoulos played a 19-season professional hockey career in the NHL and AHL, logging 1,468 combined NHL and AHL games. He was the WBS Penguins’ captain from 2002-04, as well as his final five seasons and is credited with the development of several of the young players that went on to win Stanley Cups in Pittsburgh, including Matt Murray, Jake Guentzel, Bryan Rust, Conor Sheary and Tom Kuhnhackl.
Kostopoulos was originally drafted by the Penguins in the seventh round (204th overall) of the 1999 NHL Draft, and made his NHL debut with Pittsburgh during the 2001-02 campaign. He played for Pittsburgh through the 2003-04 season, and went on to suit up for Los Angeles, Montreal, Carolina, Calgary and New Jersey in the NHL. He totaled 157 points (61G-96A) in 630 regular-season games and five (3G-2A) in 16 postseason contests.
The forward enjoyed three tours of duty with WBS (1999-04; 2012-13; 2013-18), and is one of just four players to play over 600 games in both the NHL and AHL. He ended his career as the WBS Penguins’ all-time leader across the board in games played (588), goals (159), assists (257), points (416), playoff games played (94), playoff goals (23), playoff assists (44) and playoff points (67).
The Mississauga, ON native played three seasons with London of the Ontario Hockey League from 1996-99 prior to turning professional.
Nikkel, 28, spent the last three seasons as the Penguins’ assistant video coach from 2019-22. Prior to his time in Pittsburgh, he spent the previous three seasons as Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s video coach from 2016-19. He also spent four seasons working for Boston College’s men’s ice hockey program where he completed pre-scout and in-game video analysis for the team.
A native of Elizabeth, Colorado, Nikkel graduated with a degree in economics and mathematics from Boston College in 2016.