This one is a bit of a surprise. It was announced today that the Penguins have removed Jason Karmanos from the organization.
GM Jim Rutherford: “We would like to thank Jason Karmanos for his contributions to the organization over the past six years. I have been evaluating our hockey operations department, and this is the first part of the process to re-organize our group.”— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) October 26, 2020
Karmanos has been with the Pens as long as Rutherford. Both came over in the summer of 2014 from Carolina. Karmanos as Pittsburgh’s VP of hockey operations from 2014-17, before being promoted to assistant GM in the summer of 2017.
The Pens’ currently have no assistant GM’s after this decision. It has been rumored to various degrees that former assistant Jason Botterill will return to Pittsburgh sooner than later but neither side has been in a hurry given budgetary constraints. Perhaps that will kick up a bit now.
Karmanos was described by the Pens’ website as:
“Spearheaded the revamping of the Penguins’ use of hockey analytics to assist management in their decision-making process”
And now the press release announces Sam Ventura as taking over most of those duties on an interim basis. Erik Heasley, with deep roots in Wilkes-Barre getting a role there makes sense.
In an offseason of change ups for Pittsburgh, perhaps the most surprising move to this point is shedding Karmanos from Rutherford. Karmanos has been the seen as GM’s right hand man this whole time, but now the organization is moving in a different direction.