In a surprise move, Pittsburgh Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford resigned Wednesday, citing personal reasons.
“There has always been so much support from everyone involved with the Penguins, who are on both the hockey and business staff, and certainly from a special group of players led by Sidney Crosby,” Rutherford said in a statement. “The fans here have been tremendous to me and my family. I know it is a bit unusual to happen during a season, but just felt it was the right time to step away.”
Patrick Alvin, who was recently promoted as Penguins assistant general manager, will serve as interim GM as the team begins an immediate search for a successor to Rutherford. According to the team, Alvin will consult with the team’s Hall of Fame owner Mario Lemieux for input and advice during the interim period.
The 71-year-old Rutherford was the Penguins general manager from the 2014–15 season. Penguin made the playoffs in each of his six seasons winning the Stanley Cup in 2016 and 2017 and Rutherford was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2019. Prior to joining the Penguins, Rutherford had a 20-year run as president and general manager. The Carolina Hurricanes / Hartford Whalers franchise won the Stanley Cup from 1994 to 2015 and in 2006 in Carolina.
“Absolutely surprised,” a rival general manager told ESPN in a text message. “Didn’t see it coming.”
Rutherford, who had a 13-year career as a goaltender in the NHL, was known as a wheeler and dealer during his time with the Penguins, constantly trying to repel the cast around Crosby and Evgeny Malkin Had stayed – especially from the last two seasons as he tried to engineer another championship run with the aging core. Two years ago, he sent Phil Cassell to Arizona and last year sent Patrick Hornkvist to Florida.
In a statement, Penguins president and CEO David Morehouse said that Rutherford “has been an amazing representative of the Pittsburgh Penguins.”
“Always in the history of our team, they will have a special place in their own heritage,” Moorehouse said. “He will always be a part of the Penguins.”
The 46-year-old Alvin, a native of Falun, Sweden, is in his 15th year with the Penguins hockey operations staff. He started as a scout in 2006 and continued his work until being promoted to assistant general manager in November.