SBD/June 13, 2014/Franchises

With Focus On Analytics, Penguins Add Karmanos To Crowded Front Office

Karmanos worked for the Hurricanes for 15 seasons prior to his new role
The Penguins on Thursday named former Hurricanes Exec VP & Assistant GM Jason Karmanos VP/Hockey Operations, and he will assist new GM Jim Rutherford "in many aspects, but of immediate concern is analytics," according to Shelly Anderson of the PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE. Karmanos "worked with Rutherford in Carolina for 15 seasons before he was fired in September." Karmanos said that he and Rutherford "want to infuse analytics consistently through the organization." He added that while the team will "expand use of advanced stats, they aren’t considering an overall 'culture change.'" Jason Botterill, who was formerly the Assistant GM and the interim GM "for three weeks before Rutherford was hired," now is the Associate GM. Tom Fitzgerald and Bill Guerin were recently promoted to Assistant GMs. Rutherford said that he "expects to be on the job only 'two or three years,' with his successor perhaps coming from within the organization" (PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE, 6/13). In Pittsburgh, Rob Rossi notes Karmanos while with the Hurricanes "took the lead on analytics, contract negotiations and salary-cap management and also worked as a scout." He "was to the Hurricanes what Botterill has been to the Penguins." Karmanos and Botterill will "report directly to Rutherford, who will make the final call on hockey matters." Penguins ownership "endorses the concept of its hockey side relying more on analytics/advanced metrics analysis" (PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW, 6/13).

OWNING UP: Penguins President & CEO David Morehouse on Thursday sat for a one-on-one interview to close out the '14 Veritix Sports Facilities & Franchises Conference. Morehouse acknowledged that missteps may have been made in how information surrounding the dismissals of former GM Ray Shero and coach Dan Bylsma was disclosed, marked by several erroneous press reports, and suggested the furor around the moves highlighted a fast-changing media landscape. Morehouse: "There is a blurring of the lines between print media, individual blogs and Twitter. There used to be a distinction. ... But the people consuming the information, they don't distinguish between the three mediums." Meanwhile, with the Penguins essentially maxed out on traditional revenue lines, the club under Morehouse is eagerly seeking out alternate income streams, such as a planned mixed-use development across the street from Consol Energy Center on the site of the former Mellon Arena. The club is aiming to begin construction on the site early next year. Morehouse said, "In a market the size of Pittsburgh, we have to make more money (in other ways) because we can't just raise ticket prices." He also discussed the development and refinement of the Penguins brand, and how it differs from the Steelers, even as he expressed deep reverence for the Rooney family and the Steelers' accomplishments. Morehouse: "The essence of this brand is energy, drive and innovation. We've embraced being different. The Penguins are the future of Pittsburgh, and we've built our whole business plan around it" (Eric Fisher, Staff Writer).
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