After leaving the Pittsburgh Penguins unexpectedly in January of 2021, former Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford is back in the NHL. The 72-year old Hockey Hall of Famer is expected to sign a deal with the Vancouver Canucks soon in upper management.
The Canucks recently cleaned house and fired head coach Travis Green, assistant coach Nolan Baumgartner, assistant general manager John Weisbrod, and general manager Jim Benning. They have since replaced head coach Green with Bruce Boudreau and are 2-0 since the change.
Rutherford will reportedly serve as the team’s president and interim general manager as the Canucks look for a more permanent solution to their managerial vacancy.
Jim Rutherford will be President & Interim GM of the Canucks. The goal is to keep looking for a GM he can mentor, that process continues.
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) December 9, 2021
Rutherford spent seven years in Pittsburgh and was one of the most outspoken and trade-happy general managers in the league. He came into the Penguins organization in the summer of 2014 and cleaned house replacing Ray Shero, firing Dan Bylsma, and trading away James Neal.
He then went on to carefully construct the Penguins back-to-back Stanley Cup Champion Rosters in 2016 and 2017. He acquired big players like Phil Kessel and Patric Hornqvist but also made huge under-the-radar moves such as bringing in guys like Trevor Daley, Carl Hagelin, and Matt Cullen.
While the effects of his trade-happy style of management may have caught up to the Penguins, Jim Rutherford is a Hockey Hall of Famer, GM of Year Award Winner, and Three-time Stanley Cup Champion.
Perhaps the Penguins and Canucks can establish a better connection on the NHL trade bait front with Rutherford now in the front office for the time being.