For two years, Pittsburgh Penguins GM Jim Rutherford had a green thumb as he grew the Penguins trade tree. Rutherford swapped coaches and started adding players that fit a mold for new coach Mike Sullivan. Two years later, the Penguins organization had two more Stanley Cups, but in the years since the last Cup Rutherford has been chasing mismatched players and mistakes.
And, he’s been chasing himself.
In the last three seasons, nine times, Rutherford has acquired a player then traded him away within approximately 12 months. Nine times. Ryan Reaves, Riley Sheahan, Jamie Oleksiak, Derick Brassard, Matt Hunwick, Tanner Pearson, Erik Gudbranson, Dominik Kahun, and Evan Rodrigues.
In the door they came, then out the door they went, but the Penguins have rarely been better for the arrival…or departure.