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Rutherford dishes on Fleury, Cullen, Lovejoy, Bennett, Schultz and himself

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The Penguins GM, as always, had a bunch of interesting comments to the media today at the Pens end-of-season meeting with the media.

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Whenever Penguins GM Jim Rutherford speaks, it's always good. Here's some of his best quips at today's media session.

Marc-Andre Fleury

It can't be under-stated how much Jim Rutherford loves goalie depth. The Penguins have 2 good goalies and no real immediate salary crunch at this point. Though it might maximize leverage, JR wouldn't trade 1 goalie just because he has 2 good ones. Given the injuries we saw this very spring that is a wise strategy.

Now, the rumored 2017 expansion draft will force his hand and change everything. However, we don't even know the set-in-stone rules of that June 2017 draft right now. It would be wise to temper any of the Fleury trade talk while they sweep up the confetti, while we wait to see what gets announced as to if a young goalie like Murray might be exempted from expansion selection.

Bottom line is the Pens aren't going to make any hasty moves with Fleury. It wouldn't be shocking for Pittsburgh to have good reason to hold onto Fleury long into the summer, if not into the start of next season.

Matt Cullen

Rutherford also mentioned he thought Oskar Sundqvist was ready to step in as the 4th line center if Matt Cullen rides off into the sunset. And, though he will have lots of time to consider what's next, all signs to this point seem to point to Cullen pulling the "Jerome Bettis exit" and leaving the game on top.

Ben Lovejoy

GMJR also mentioned that Lovejoy deserves a raise based on the way he played this playoff. The salary cap will probably take Lovejoy away. About the only way the Penguins could make this fit would be to trade a player like Ian Cole who has a $2.1 million salary and offer Lovejoy about the same, otherwise the numbers just aren't going to work.

It remains to be seen if the Pens will be that active this summer, they might just elect to keep the guy they have under contract (Cole) and let the one they can't afford skate off for richer pastures (Lovejoy).

Beau Bennett

This is a nice move in asset management to at least qualify the former first round pick. It remains to be seen if the Pens plans for Bennett involve giving him yet another year to see if he can stay healthy, or if they intend to trade him and try to get something back for him and move along. (That would be what JR meant when he "doesn't know what will happen").

Justin Schultz

Unlike Bennett's relatively cheap QO, it would take $3.9 million to qualify Justin Schultz, which just isn't realistic. Rutherford wasn't going to close any doors today, but with Kris Letang , Trevor Daley and Lovejoy (if they bring him back) as right-side defensemen, there's not a big need for Schultz.

At least for Schultz he was able to revamp his image and reputation a little in Pittsburgh and show he can be a somewhat valuable and effective member of an NHL team when used correctly. Unfortunately due to space and salary constraints, that place probably won't be Pittsburgh any longer.

Jim Rutherford

Finally, JR spoke about his own status since at his June 2014 initial press conference he did mention only sticking around for a couple of years. Sounds like the old warhorse isn't ready to ride off into the sunset yet himself, so expect him back for at least one more season in 2016-17.