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Penguins lose another front office member to Vancouver, promote Kostopoulos

More off-season changes in personnel

2018 NHL Club Business Meetings General Session Photo by Jeff Bottari/NHLI via Getty Images

Scott Young has departed the Penguins’ organization, it was recently announced Pittsburgh’s former director of player development has taken a job with the Vancouver Canucks with a similar title. The Canucks, of course, are now run by former Penguin executives Patrik Allvin and Jim Rutherford, who also hired Young to the Pens in 2017.

But in perhaps good news, it looks like Young will be on the only one moving west. Madison Nikkel, the primary lieutenant of Pens’ video guru Andy Saucier is staying on in Pittsburgh. It was believed Nikkel was in the running for a job in Vancouver as well, but Frank Seravalli indicated the Canucks named a different video coach. The Pens also announced that they have internally promoted Tom Kostopolous to fill Young’s position.

From the team’s press release:

Kostopoulos, 43, has spent the past four seasons as a player development coach for Pittsburgh and the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins of the American Hockey League. He worked with young prospects throughout the Penguins organization and assisted in the development of players in minor leagues, junior and college hockey.

“Tom has done an excellent job developing and monitoring players at the minor league and amateur levels over the past four years,” said Hextall. “His work ethic and experience coming up through the ranks during his career serve as a great example for our players. We are excited to have him lead our player development staff.”

Kostopoulos played a 19-season professional hockey career in the NHL and AHL, logging 1,468 combined NHL and AHL games. He was the WBS Penguins’ captain from 2002-04, as well as his final five seasons and is credited with the development of several of the young players that went on to win Stanley Cups in Pittsburgh, including Matt Murray, Jake Guentzel, Bryan Rust, Conor Sheary and Tom Kuhnhackl.

Kostopoulos was originally drafted by the Penguins in the seventh round (204th overall) of the 1999 NHL Draft, and made his NHL debut with Pittsburgh during the 2001-02 campaign. He played for Pittsburgh through the 2003-04 season, and went on to suit up for Los Angeles, Montreal, Carolina, Calgary and New Jersey in the NHL. He totaled 157 points (61G-96A) in 630 regular-season games and five (3G-2A) in 16 postseason contests.

The forward enjoyed three tours of duty with WBS (1999-04; 2012-13; 2013-18), and is one of just four players to play over 600 games in both the NHL and AHL. He ended his career as the WBS Penguins’ all-time leader across the board in games played (588), goals (159), assists (257), points (416), playoff games played (94), playoff goals (23), playoff assists (44) and playoff points (67).

The Mississauga, ON native played three seasons with London of the Ontario Hockey League from 1996-99 prior to turning professional.

Nikkel, 28, spent the last three seasons as the Penguins’ assistant video coach from 2019-22. Prior to his time in Pittsburgh, he spent the previous three seasons as Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s video coach from 2016-19. He also spent four seasons working for Boston College’s men’s ice hockey program where he completed pre-scout and in-game video analysis for the team.