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Wrap-Up: Penguins Get Highest NHL/NBA Ratings, Jim Rutherford Gets Agent



Pittsburgh Penguins trade; GM Jim Rutherford NHL trade rumors

The Pittsburgh Penguins season ended on Wednesday night but there are some accolades for Penguins fans. Penguins fans tuned into games at a rate higher than any other fan base in the NHL, but you probably already suspected that. What is more surprising is the Penguins’ ratings also eclipsed any NBA team, too.

The Penguins finished on top of the National Hockey League’s local TV ratings for the 2020-21 season, averaging a 7.79 rating on AT&T SportsNet Pittsburgh, according to ratings published by the Sports Business Journal on Wednesday.

The 7.79 rating is up 36% over the previous season. It also means the Pittsburgh Penguins finished first or second in local television ratings for the past 15 consecutive years.  Not coincidentally, that is also the length of the Penguins NHL-best 15-year playoff streak.

The other teams included in the top five were Vegas, St. Louis, Buffalo, and Boston.

In addition, the SBJ also listed the National Basketball Association’s ratings for this season, noting that the Golden State Warriors led with an average 5.96 rating on NBC Sports Bay Area.  The numbers confirm that the Penguins led local TV ratings amongst all U.S.-based NHL teams and NBA teams included in the rankings.

Former Penguins GM Jim Rutherford

According to a Twitter announcement, former Penguins GM Jim Rutherford has obtained high-powered representation for his job search which can begin this offseason after his Penguins contract expires, or the Penguins grant permission for Rutherford to speak to other teams.

The agency does not list their clients on their website but instead challenges coaches and management who think they need strong brand management to reach out. The agency specializes in contract negotiation, career management and advisory services, and business management with sports consulting.

Several teams are assumed to have openings in the GM spot or in a President of Hockey Operations role, including the Buffalo Sabres, whose current GM Kevyn Adams came from the business side of the organization after Jason Botterill was fired.

Earlier in May, the New York Rangers let go of President John Davidson and GM Jeff Gorton. Also, the New Jersey Devils don’t officially have a GM for next season as current general manager Tom Fitzgerald’s contract does not yet include GM duties.

Clarification: Chris Drury was not only named the Rangers GM, but also President Hockey Operations. However, a larger management role could be available.

Other teams could create openings as the organizations digest the end of their seasons.

Rutherford abruptly resigned from the Penguins organization in January, in a move that caught many, including ownership off guard.