The Pittsburgh Penguins’ housecleaning continued Monday as the club announced the firing of assistant general manager Jason Karmanos. And more apparently is coming.
Karmanos had a relationship with general manager Jim Rutherford dating to their days with the Carolina Hurricanes.
“We would like to thank Jason Karmanos for his contributions to the organization over the past six years,” Rutherford said in a team statement.
“I have been evaluating our hockey operations department, and this is the first part of the process to reorganize our group.”
There was no immediate indication what other moves might follow. One name that has been circulating is former Penguins assistant GM Jason Botterill, who was fired as the Buffalo Sabres GM.
Sam Ventura, who is director of hockey research, will replace Karmanos with the NHL club on an interim basis. Karmanos also had been serving as GM of American Hockey League affiliate Wilkes-Barre/Scranton since Mike Vellucci was elevated to Penguins assistant coach. Erik Heasley, who had been manager of hockey operations, will step in as the interim GM there.
Vellucci was promoted as part of an earlier shakeup of the coaching staff, as assistants Jacques Martin, Mark Recchi and Sergei Gonchar were fired. Todd Reirden was brought back to coach Mike Sullivan’s staff after he was fired as head coach of the Washington Capitals.
As a reminder, this is the heart of the offseason this year after things were turned sideways by the COVID-19 pandemic. The NHL has said it is aiming to begin next season around the first of January, with training camps opening in December, but that could easily change. That means Rutherford has time to continue his evaluation of and make changes to the staff.
Rutherford also has made changes on the player roster, most notably trading goaltender Matt Murray and acquiring forward Kasperi Kapanen.