As details trickle out regarding Jim Rutherford’s resignation as Pittsburgh Penguins GM on Wednesday, multiple sources told the National Hockey Now that Rutherford was close to a Penguins trade before he turned in his keys and left the organization.
Sources close to the process on both the Penguins side and the St. Louis Blues side each told Hockey Now that Rutherford was circling St. Louis Blues defenseman, Vince Dunn.
Both sides said the Penguins “were close on Dunn.”
The return isn’t known.
Last weekend, Pittsburgh Hockey Now’s Off the Record column from Jimmy Murphy reported both the Penguins and Philadelphia Flyers were interested. One of those same sources indicated things had progressed.
Because of rampant internet speculation, PHN must assert no sources mentioned any of the Pittsburgh Penguins star players, and such a trade would both break St. Louis’ salary cap and be well more than the reported ask for Dunn, which was a high pick.
Dunn, 24, has been a healthy scratch in St. Louis, which touched off NHL trade rumors. The left-handed defenseman is a slick skating puck mover who is still settling his game. He has a lot of talent and can run a power play, but has been spotty at times. The 6-foot, 203-pound defenseman does have a feel for the game.
He will be an RFA after the season and currently makes $1.8 million. The Penguins are desperate for LHD help as the top four d-men on the depth chart are out with serious injury.
After one season in the AHL, this is Dunn’s fourth NHL campaign. Last season, Dunn scored 23 points (9g, 14a) in 71 games. He was a plus-15.
In 2018-19, Dunn scored 35 points with 12 goals and was a plus-14.
This season, Dunn had a slow start and was a healthy scratch by coach Craig Berube. He has one goal and one assist in six games.
Conspiracy theories have abounded in Pittsburgh as to why Rutherford left the job. He used a local radio show to dismiss speculation and curiosity that a fight over trading one of the Penguins superstars led to his resignation.