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Penguins fire general manager Ron Hextall and Brian Burke

Hextall’s firing comes after the Pens missed the playoffs for the first time since 2006.

2022 Upper Deck NHL Draft - Round 2-7 Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images

Ron Hextall has been relieved of his duties as general manager of the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Pens also parted ways with Brian Burke and Hextall’s “right hand man” Chris Pryor.

From the team:

The Pittsburgh Penguins have relieved President of Hockey Operations Brian Burke, General Manager Ron Hextall and Assistant General Manager, Chris Pryor of their duties, it was announced today by Fenway Sports Group.

John Henry and Tom Werner issued the following statement:

“We are grateful to Brian, Ron, and Chris for their contributions to the organization over the past two seasons, but we feel that the team will benefit from new hockey operations leadership. While this season has been disappointing, we believe in our core group of players and the goal of contending for the Stanley Cup has not changed.”

The search for new hockey operations leadership will begin immediately.

During this transition, the managerial duties of hockey operations will be shared among current Director of Hockey Operations, Alec Schall, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton General Manager/Manager of Hockey Operations, Erik Heasley and Hockey Operations Analyst, Andy Saucier. Head Coach Mike Sullivan will also assist during the transition.

Hextall’s firing comes just days after the Penguins were eliminated from contention for the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs — the first time the team won’t be in the postseason since the 2005-06 season.

Many questions had been floated regarding whether missing the postseason would be the blow the franchise would need to be dealt to force action from the Fenway Sports Group ownership team, and that sure appears to be the case.

The fingerprints of Hextall’s time as general manager could be felt especially this season, as roster moves were made that actively hurt the team, which lacked an identity and a purpose outside of the three veteran superstars in Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and Kris Letang.

Hextall’s tenure as GM of the Penguins began in February of 2021 when he was hired as a replacement for Jim Rutherford, who suddenly resigned, citing personal reasons.

Prior to his arrival in Pittsburgh, Hextall served as assistant general manager with the Los Angeles Kings and general manager with the Philadelphia Flyers.