Report: Top Penguins executive leaves and joins rival NHL team.

Surprising move from top Penguins executive.

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A top Pittsburgh Penguins executive has left the team for a position with a rival, and frankly much less successful, franchise. 

Pittsburgh Penguins insider Jason Mackey is now reportingthat Penguins Chief Operating Officer Travis Williams has made the decision to leave the organization after over a decade with the team. The news is especially surprising when you consider the fact that he will be joining the New York Islanders franchise, a team that has had very little success in recent years. 

Mackey reports that Williams was offered a significant promotion by the Islanders and it that in fact Williams will completely oversee the business side of operations within that organization moving forward. Of course general manager and team president Lou Lamoriello will remain the man in power but Williams is expected to have full autonomy when it comes to business decision for the Islanders organization. Additionally in spite of their lack of success as of late there is no question that New York is a much bigger market than Pittsburgh and they also have a new state of the art arena project underway.

Williams is no stranger to new arena projects as he spearheaded a lot of the work that went into the PPG Paints Arena project as well as the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex project. With that kind of experience under his belt, as well as his extreme and consistent level of success on the business side of the Penguins organization it's not very difficult to see why the Islanders would want a man like Williams in the fold as they look to spearhead their own arena project moving forward.

While functioning as the chief operating officer of the Penguins the team not only captured multiple titles, something that admittedly Williams played no direct role in, but they also regularly finished at the top, or near the top, of every NHL business metric. Those metrics include things like the sale of jersey's as well as additional merchandise, ticket sales, television ratings and even social media penetration. Now of course you have to give some credit for that to the team's success on the ice over those years but there's no question that Williams also played a rather significant role. 

Mackey has been able to confirm the news with multiple sources at this time although it currently remains unclear how the Penguins plan to move forward without Williams or who they might look to hire as his potential replacement.