The Pittsburgh Penguins have a new Director of Hockey Operations, and they reached into the agent world to find him, but he had several dealings with Penguins GM Ron Hextall. On Tuesday, the Penguins named former agent Alec Schall as the director of hockey operations.
His primary responsibilities will be aiding with player contract negotiations, managing the salary cap, and assisting with other hockey-related duties. Some of those duties previously involved Sam Ventura, who departed for the Buffalo Sabres organization.
Schall will report to Hextall. Here is his Puckpedia.com clients page
“Having spent over 25 years in professional sports, Alec brings a wealth of knowledge and experience with contract negotiations,” said Hextall. “His unique perspective and background make him an exciting addition to our hockey operations staff.”
Hextall and Schall have sat across the table from each other on at least two occasions. Schall represented Philadelphia Flyers forward James van Riemsdyk during contract negotiations in 2018. He also represented Flyers first-round pick, Joel Farabee in 2019. Hextall was the Flyers GM in both cases.
It may speak well of Schall that Hextall wanted him on his side of the table.
Schall spent the last nine years as director of athlete representation at LEGACY Global Sports. Before joining LEGACY Global Sports, Schall founded R4PA in 2001, an independent agency specializing in the comprehensive representation of professional hockey players. LEGACY Global Sports acquired R4PA in 2012.
He was an NHLPA registered agent, and some of the notable players Schall has represented include van Riemsdyk, Alec Martinez, Connor Clifton, Farabee, and Luke Glendening. In total, he has negotiated over $200 million in contracts for various clients.
An under-the-radar, AHL only signing could pay dividends for the Pittsburgh Penguins down the road. Christopher Merisier-Ortiz signed a two-year deal with the WBS Penguins. The 20-year-old defenseman was a teammate of Penguins prospect Nathan Legare with the Baie-Comeau Drakkar before each was traded last season.
Close team sources said Merisier-Ortiz is a solid skater with creative puck skills. He ran the Drakkar power play and was one of the leading defenseman scorers in the QMJHL.
Splitting time with Baie-Comeau and Blainville-Boisbriand, the young defenseman scored 20 points (4-16-20) in just 24 games. He is a bit undersized at 5-foot-11, 172 pounds. Professional scouts told PHN his pro prospects are unclear but liked his potential.