So who's the next Penguins general manager?
The Fenway Sports Group is known for being organized, well-prepared, and deliberate with their choices. They bought the Penguins for a shade below a billion dollars. When you make a purchase like that you are probably going to want to know exactly what the people put in the position to make decisions think like. You might even expect them to be able to put forth a presentation of their ideas and philosophies about how they want to run the team. You might even think those people would be prepared to do so. Apparently, not Ron Hextall
Earlier this season, the Penguins’ new ownership group told Hextall they wanted to see his vision for the team in writing. Hextall, a creature of habit and in the middle of regular-season responsibilities, initially explained that his plan for the Penguins’ future was in his head and not easily articulated by the written word.
He was told to write his vision for the Penguins’ future anyway.
I can’t lie I audibly laughed reading his response the first time. Like, you can’t expect an organization like FSG to be down with that response. When the team was sold you have to know as a GM you are being put on notice by default. You gotta have a better response there. It was probably a longshot for Hextall to keep his position to begin with. I think something like this is likely to make it official. What other industry would tolerate such a response?
Hextall respected ownership’s request and provided a written summary, painting a verbal picture of the Penguins’ future on his watch.
Only the ownership circle is privy to Hextall’s words and his vision. If the Fenway Group is satisfied with it, he presumably will remain. If not, an already fascinating summer in Pittsburgh could become more tumultuous.
Perhaps Hextall brings the goods and is able to stay. Personally, I don’t think it is likely after the response he gave. I can’t imagine it was a good first impression. Hextall’s best chance here is if he shares the same vision for what to do with Malkin and Letang. Earlier in the piece Josh wrote the following
Here’s what we know about the Penguins’ new ownership group:
It doesn’t like to rebuild.
It has a lot of money.
It likes its own people in charge.
If the first bullet point is true I’m not sure how passing on Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang helps things. The team would indeed have a lot of cap space. There is no guarantee you can entice the top UFA’s to sign. You will likely have to give them max term. You’ll be paying big money. UFA’s are old by default. What are these UFA’s aging curve going to be? It won’t be like Malkin or Letang. They are Hall of Fame talents. It isn’t normal what they are capable of. Vincent Trochek had one more goal than Malkin this year. He also played 40 more games. I’ve always liked Nazem Kadri as a player. Saying you would be buying high would be an understatement. This year was his career best in points. He bested his previous high by 26 points. He is also already 31 years old. You can give him seven years to his age 38 season or just give Malkin three for the same finishing point. Those are the best center options on the market. Neither are better than Malkin on a three- or four-year deal.
These are issues for the likely new GM though, I suppose.
Thanks for reading!