Pittsburgh Penguins team president David Morehouse announced today that Ray Shero was fired. By now, you probably knew this. One of the biggest pieces of information- aside from coach Dan Bylsma remaining in limbo until a new general manager is names- was the announcement that Jason Botterill is the new interim Penguins GM. Botterill has also emerged as the only publicly acknowledged candidate to be the next Pens GM, although there surely will be more to come.
So, who is Jason Botterill?
Botterill was drafted in the first round by the Dallas Stars in 1994. He stayed at the University of Michigan for all four years (stay in school, kids) and eventually turned professional. His pro hockey career was littered with injuries mostly spent in the minor leagues, though he did play in 88 career NHL regular season games with four different teams (Dallas, Atlanta, Calgary and Buffalo). He retired after the 2004-05 season and went back to Michigan, earning a MBA. (Again, kids, stay in school).
After finishing that degree, Botterill worked as a scout for the Stars in the 2006-07 season and was hired by the Penguins in summer 2007 as "Director of Hockey Administration". When Shero's right hand man, Chuck Fletcher, left Pittsburgh for the Minnesota Wild GM job in 2009, Botterill was promoted to be the assistant AGM.
For more on Botterill, check out this 2011 piece by Mike Colligan. Our favorite quote:
"You have to project who’s coming up [for free agency] and what else is going to be out there. It’s difficult to project the whole league because so many teams are now trying to lock up their young players. We try to look at who on our team is coming up and what the projection is from a salary standpoint, but in the back of our mind in all our five-year projections we understand that we have to be flexible in this and all the situations."
And, since the new GM will decide Bylsma's fate, Botterill had this to say about the Pens embattled head coach back in 2011:
"You look at what [Penguins coach] Dan Bylsma demands, all you have to do is find a way to knock that guy off the puck just a little bit to get that separation so you get the puck. From a fan’s perspective, I love our [style]."
Time will tell if Penguins ownership thinks that Botterill is the man for the full-time job, but for now he finds himself behind the big desk as the Pens approach the 2014 offseason.