PITTSBURGH (93-7 The Fan) – Pittsburgh Penguins General Manager Jim Rutherford joined “The Cook and Poni Show” on Wednesday morning to discuss life after winning his second Stanley Cup and the latest on moves he has made to try and repeat.
But how has he celebrated?
“We’ve done a few things,” Rutherford said. “Nothing out of the ordinary I guess except for having the Cup at my house for Father’s Day.”
He will get his day with Cup again later in the summer before training camp opens.
Rutherford has kept busy since they won the Stanley Cup as he works toward winning another. He made another move today signing defenseman Justin Schultz to a new deal.
“We just got it done,” Rutherford said. “It was important to get Schultz back. His game has really improved since he came to the Penguins, but there is still room for improvement.”
He admitted that the Pens are strapped with salary cap issues, but were able to approach Schultz with a number they could offer under the cap. Rutherford felt Schultz chose what was best for his career with Pittsburgh rather than taking the money and run.
“He really wanted to come back to Pittsburgh,” Rutherford said. “I give him a lot of credit. He took a big step backwards. I believe he was making $3.8 million with Edmonton last year and his new deal with us is a 1-year deal for $1.4 million.”
Rutherford says that have also made an offer to Matt Cullen and would really like to have him back, but he must decide to accept the offer or see if he can get a better one on the open market.
Rutherford doesn’t plan on making many other changes to the team, including in net where he will bring back both Marc-Andre Fleury and Matt Murray.
So who is the No. 1 goalie?
“We’re in a very fortunate position, ” Rutherford said. “I guess that is going to always be for the coach to decide but we have two No. 1 goalies and you can never have enough good goalies, so we will just see how it plays out. We’re in a good position right now. We have depth at every position and goaltending will be very strong.”
He expects it to be a real friendly competition as both are good team guys who support each other, but both really want to play.
Rutherford is also excited to have his right hand man Assistant General Manger Jason Botterill returning after he was being considered as the new general manager in the expansion Las Vegas franchise.
“I’m not sad that he didn’t get the Las Vegas job,” Rutherford said. “I think it was good experience for him to go out there. I’m not sure he completely really wanted to go because he knows what we have in Pittsburgh. Having your name on that Cup a couple of times like he does wouldn’t be all that bad putting it on again and that wasn’t going to happen in Las Vegas in a short period of time, so this turned out fine. It was good experience for him to go out for the interview, but I’m really happy he is still with us.”
So, could the Pens repeat?
“We have a good team going in to next year, but will be harder for us,” Rutherford said. “Everybody wants to beat the Penguins because of the superstars on the team and all of that, but now that we won the Cup everybody is going to gearing for us so we have to be ready.”
Listen to the full interview here: