Jim Rutherford may be a bigger fan than most of Jack Johnson, but that doesn’t mean the Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman will be in the lineup on opening night. Rutherford, the Penguins GM, spoke with Josh Yohe of The Athletic yesterday and explained that after acquiring Mike Matheson from the Florida Panthers there may not be any room on the left side for Johnson next season.
[Brian] Dumoulin and [Marcus] Petterson are still young and aren’t going anywhere. And obviously we like Matheson a great deal. He’ll play on the left side. So, that’s our left side. Those three. That’s it.
Rutherford suggested that Johnson could play the right side or is maybe “just going to be a depth guy” for 2020-21, but it certainly wasn’t the same vote of confidence he gave when the season ended. There is still lots of offseason left and the Penguins priority may be moving a goaltender, but make no mistake that there may still be changes coming on the blue line.
- Michael Murray has been hired by the Minnesota Wild as an assistant to the general manager, coming over from his post with the AHL. Murray was named vice president of hockey operations for the minor league in 2011 and was considered the second in command behind commissioner Dave Andrews. As Michael Russo of The Athletic points out on Twitter, Murray happens to be the son of Minnesota GM Bill Guerin’s former agent. The team explained that Murray will help oversee the day-to-day of the hockey operations department and assist with contract negotiations, player development, and scouting.
- The Nashville Predators are considering moving one of their centers according to Frank Seravalli of TSN, who lists Ryan Johansen, Matt Duchene, and Nick Bonino on his latest Trade Bait board and mentions Kyle Turris as well. Nashville has an incredible $26.1MM in cap space locked up in those four, with only Bonino’s deal (the cheapest of the bunch) expiring anytime soon. There wasn’t a 45-point player in the bunch of them this season, with Duchene (42) coming closest.