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Penguins set precedent by not asking for draft pick for fired employee

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The Pittsburgh Penguins could have sought a 3rd round draft pick for the New Jersey Devils for signing Ray Shero, but they didn't. What it might mean for the future.

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Ray Shero is the new New Jersey Devils general manager. Shero was still under contract with the Pittsburgh Penguins for 2015-16, but he of course was fired last May. We had a story here detailing that the Pens could have sought a 3rd round pick for the team that hires Shero (and fired coach Dan Bylsma), but they have elected not to do so.

Why not take a pick?

Money, as always, factors in. If Shero sat out this season, the Penguins would have had to pay him again this year (like they did last year). By virtue of going to NJD, the Pens will save $2.5+ million dollars. That might not be a big deal to the average fan, but anytime a business can shave 7 figures off their payroll, that's a good day for that business.

There's also the factor of running a good business and upholding a reputation. The Pittsburgh Penguins would look petty if they held up a good man from taking a NHL GM job- of which their are only 30 of in the entire league, with few openings each year. It's good business to let Shero move on - even if he is going to a division rival.

It's good business to let Shero move on - even if he is going to a division rival.

Couldn't the Pens have pushed a little further and tried to get a pick? Maybe, but considering 3rd round picks have a ~15% chance of playing 100+ NHL games, it's not like the team left a ton on the table. Probably not worth the hit in reputation to throw up a road block, even if the allure of an extra draft pick -- for a team that's traded their 1st, 3rd and 4th round picks this year -- seems to be high.

More interesting is the decision this sets as a precedent that the Pens have now established. The rule to offer a 3rd round pick to a team that loses their coach, GM or Team President is a new one in the NHL. From Lebrun, again:

NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly, who authored the memo on this, told ESPN.com Monday that for coaches, general managers or presidents of hockey operations who are fired but remain under contract, their teams are privy to draft pick compensation if they choose to pursue it.

But the team can also waive the draft pick compensation if it wants, Daly said.

The reason many teams would waive in most cases is they're more interested in getting the person who is under contract but no longer working for the team off the books. So why discourage a hire elsewhere.

In this case, the Pens have decided to clear the contract, and not throw up a roadblock for a fired GM. Will others follow in the future?

Also, another interesting point is any poaching that Shero might do from the Penguins staff.

Tom Fitzgerald and fellow Penguins assistant GM Jason Botterill are said to have their contracts ending this summer. Penguins GM Jim Rutherford has been complimentary of both, saying he expects no changes to the front office, but added that if someone can make a step to improve their career, he wouldn't block that from happening either.

If either or both Fitzgerald or Botterill jump ship, that would be significant losses to the Penguins, who would be even more reliant on Rutherford and his right-hand man Jason Karmanos.

Personnel movements will be interesting to track and watch unfold, however the bigger precedent that the Pens have set is not requiring a draft pick for a fired management official. You would have to assume the same would apply for any team that wishes to hire Bylsma this summer as well.