The Pittsburgh Penguins moved to fill the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins vacancies created by promoting Mike Vellucci to the NHL. According to Penguins GM Jim Rutherford, AGM Jason Karmanos has added WBS Penguins GM duties, and the organization tabbed assistant coach J.D. Forrest as the new bench boss.
Karmanos, 46, has been the Pittsburgh Penguins AGM since 2017. He initially joined the Penguins in 2014 as the VP of hockey operations. Karmanos oversees the Penguins’ amateur scouting and player development staff.
Forrest, 39, has been a WBS Penguins assistant coach for four seasons and worked primarily with the team’s defensive group and penalty kill. During his tenure, the WBS Penguins were 161-98-19-13, including a conference title in 2016-17. In the AHL’s Atlantic Division, only the Providence Bruins (360) have earned more points than the Penguins’ 354 during that span.
“JD has done an excellent job in his four seasons as an assistant coach in Wilkes-Barre, consistently demonstrating a strong ability to develop the young defensemen in our system,” said Karmanos. “His familiarity with the organization, our prospects, and the style of hockey we want to play, together with his work ethic and team-first approach, gives us confidence that he will excel in his new role as head coach.”
Before joining the WBS Penguins, Forrest was the head coach of the Red Bull Salzburg’s farm team in Austria. In 2014-15, the Auburn, NY native, was an assistant coach of the U.S. National Team Development Program. That team included current NHL notables Auston Matthews, Charlie McAvoy, Matthew Tkachuk, and Clayton Keller.
Forrest helped lead the team to a gold medal at the IIHF U18 World Junior Championship.
As a player, Forrest played four years at Boston College with current Penguins skills development professional Ty Hennes. They won the NCAA National Championship in 2001.
Last week, Karmanos interviewed for the open Arizona Coyotes GM position, but reportedly did not interview a second time.