The Pittsburgh Penguins are only 9 games into the 2020 - 2021 regular season but it already looks like things are starting to fall apart in Pittsburgh. Although the Penguins have had a surprisingly good run on the ice since opening the season with a pair of losses to the Philadelphia Flyers, everything else around the team is not faring so well.
The biggest news of the week in the NHL was the resignation of long time general manager Jim Rutherford, a move that reportedly caught every member of the Penguins organization completely off guard and things have seemingly only gotten worse from there for the organization.
Early on in the season the Penguins have been hit hard by injuries, a common reality for just about every team operating in the NHL where the physical sport of hockey often leads to bumps and bruises, but what has made this situation for the Penguins has been how those injuries have played out. Since the beginning of the season the Penguins have slowly seen their defensive corps whittle and on Saturday night things became much more dire when Kris Letang, the organizations top blue liner, also went down with an injury.
We don't have much to share on the nature of Letang's injury at this time, head coach Mike Sullivan would only say that it was a lower body injury, however there's no question about the impact it will have on the Penguins defense. The injury to Letang now leaves the Penguins without him defenseman Brian Dumoulin, defenseman Marcus Pettersson, defenseman Mike Matheson, and defenseman Juuso Riikola all out for the foreseeable future. It seems very likely that the Penguins will have to scramble to replace some of these injured defensemen, but in the current climate of the NHL that will be easier said than done.
Replacing those players without an established general manager will be even more difficult making the timing of Rutherford's departure for the Penguins nothing short of awful. Taking the reins from Rutherford will be Patrik Allvin, whose appointment has made him the first Swedish general manager in NHL history, who has been with the Penguins organization since 2006. No doubt addressing the issues that the Penguins suddenly find themselves with on defense will be Allvin's top priority.