Perfect khudobin for penguins, could Rutherford poach the AGM of pens?
On Monday, the Vancouver Canucks officially announced Jim Rutherford as their new president of hockey operations and interim general manager. As per custom, Rutherford both quelled NHL business rumors and warned the league that he was considering a long list of potential GMs. It looks like Rutherford has hinted he might poach an assistant GM, and the Pittsburgh Penguins have the perfect candidate.
There’s also a perfect candidate for the Pittsburgh Penguins on waivers.
The Dallas Stars gave up goaltender Anton Khudobin on Monday. He will cancel the waivers at 2 p.m. today and report to the Dallas AHL squad or pack for a new city. Dallas already said goodbye to Ben Bishop last week when it only took one start to rehab in the HA for the 35-year-old goalie to realize his comeback attempt was over.
Dallas has Braden Holtby who sees beach balls and Steve Ottinger, 22, who opened the door to the NHL. Dallas has injuries and illnesses. They needed places on the list and a salary cap, so Khudobin is waived.
The Penguins won’t find a better fit, but it would take work.
Why it’s a perfect fit for the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Full respect to Penguins backup goaltender Casey DeSmith. Last week, he reversed his season with two wins, including a shutout against the Anaheim Ducks. DeSmith is a capable backup, and his rebound from a brutal start to the season makes this opinion much less slam dunk material.
But if you remember the Dallas Stars’ run to the 2020 Stanley Cup Final, you remember Khudobin was the brick wall as Dallas walked through the Western Conference bubble.
He’s a big game goalie with the ability to be a reserve goalie or a 1A goalie. Or a starting goalie. The 2020 race featured his first playoff starts and he rode the bull like a rodeo pro. At 35, it was his only run in the playoffs, but he did it with flying colors.
In the regular season, his career save percentage is a solid .916.
He needs playing time. Like DeSmith, Khudobin is having a rough start. He’s 3-3-1 with a save percentage of .873. It’s concerning, as is his regression as a starter last season when his save percentage dropped to .905.
A 35-year-old man whose numbers have plummeted. Looks like gold, eh?
But here’s the big question and why Khudobin is perfect for the Penguins: On May 1 or whenever the NHL playoffs start, if Tristan Jarry is injured or in trouble, which goalie is the better option – Khudobin or DeSmith?
Dallas Stars general manager Jim Nill is probably not inclined to eat his salary, otherwise Khudobin would have been transferred through the NHL commercial market. Khudobin earns $ 3.33 million this season and the next, so he’s not a rental company.
But it would be easier than you think for the Penguins to afford it. According to Puckpedia.com, the Penguin salary cap will be about $ 2.5 million in the red if or when everyone is healthy.
The Penguins would save a little over a million dollars by sending DeSmith to the WBS Penguins. They can also save an additional $ 925,000 by sending Drew O’Connor to WBS. Or they can save $ 750,000 by sending Sam Lafferty to WBS, while they wait for Evgeni Malkin or Bryan Rust to return.
That leaves about $ 1.4 million to get back to where it is now.
Someone will leave eventually, no matter if Khudobin wears a Penguins jersey. Khudobin ticks the boxes: veteran, playoff experience, NHL success. And no visit to the NHL Commercial Market is required.
Some notes from Jim Rutherford’s introductory press conference, courtesy of our colleague who covers the Vancouver Canucks for Vancouver Hockey Now, Rob Simpson.
Rutherford has said he won’t shake things up just yet. In Rutherford’s early days at Pittsburgh, he returned scoring winger James Neal to the Nashville Predators for Patric Hornqvist.
In the first 18 months, Rutherford remade the Penguins, including Carl Hagelin and Trevor Daley. Rutherford also made a change of coach, bringing in Mike Sullivan. However, Rutherford has a brand new coach, Bruce Boudreau.
“I’m in no rush to make a trade,” said Rutherford, although his reputation has preceded him.
It looks like GM Canucks’ research won’t be quick and it won’t be small. Rutherford admitted he also had a list of 40 names he wanted to speak with.
“I compiled a list of 40 people, and categorized them as potential CEO opportunities,” Rutherford said. “One category is that of guys who were once general managers and who are no longer part of their team. The other group is made up of a lot of assistant GMs who would be entry-level GMs that I could mentor or work with, and that I really appreciate.
Rutherford does indeed appear to want fresh fish to be the Canucks’ GM.
“This is what we are going to look for. I’ll start working on it maybe even later tonight, start making calls and raising awareness, ”Rutherford said. “I have an assistant manager that I would like to bring this week. I’m just waiting to see if it’s possible or not.
Rutherford said he wanted to speak at an AGM, but would need permission for that conversation. This AGM would remain an AGM and is not one of the 40 names on Rutherford’s list.
Is that person Pittsburgh Penguins Patrik Allvin, whom Rutherford promoted at the AGM and who took over as interim GM after Rutherford left? How about analysis guru Sam Ventura in Buffalo? He worked closely with Rutherford with the Penguins.
We’ll see if Rutherford attracts his alumni so he can continue their tutelage.
Rutherford coach Bruce Boudreau puts the Canucks on the fast, hungry hockey they were meant to play. Boudreau also boasts of scoring his first NHL goal against then-Detroit Red Wings goaltender Jim Rutherford.
Rutherford says he remembers.
“Absolutely, absolutely,” said the new Canucks president. “He was having a hard time scoring against the other guys, and I was his friend, so I let him score.” Rutherford had a good laugh.
One thing is certain. The NHL got a lot less boring on Monday.
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