Burke named president, Hextall general manager of Penguins

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The Pittsburgh Penguins named Brian Burke as president of hockey operations and Ron Hextall as general manager Tuesday.

They replace Jim Rutherford, who resigned as general manager Jan. 27 because of personal reasons. The Penguins made the Stanley Cup Playoffs in each of Rutherford’s six seasons and won the Stanley Cup in 2016 and 2017. 

“We feel incredibly lucky to bring in two highly-respected executives with a combined 50-plus years of NHL management experience,” Penguins CEO David Morehouse said. “Ron and Brian are well-known in the hockey world as fierce competitors with championship pedigrees. They’re very well-connected and experienced in all aspects of the game. They are both excited to get to work here in Pittsburgh, blending their skills and building on our long tradition of success.”

Burke has 31 years of experience as an NHL executive and won the Stanley Cup as general manager of the Anaheim Ducks in 2007. He also was general manager of the Hartford Whalers and Vancouver Canucks; president and general manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs; and president of hockey operations for the Calgary Flames. From 1993-98 he was executive vice president and director of hockey operations for the NHL.

Most recently, the 65-year-old had been working as a hockey analyst for Sportsnet and on “Hockey Night in Canada.”

Hextall, who will oversee the Penguins’ daily hockey operations and report to Burke, was general manager of the Philadelphia Flyers from May 7, 2014 until he was fired Nov. 26, 2018 and replaced by Chuck Fletcher. The Flyers made the playoffs twice during his four full seasons as general manager.

Ten players drafted by the Flyers during Hextall’s time as general manager have played for Philadelphia this season: defensemen Ivan Provorov (No. 7, 2015 NHL Draft), Travis Sanheim (No. 17, 2014 NHL Draft) and Mark Friedman (third round, No. 86, 2014), forwards Travis Konecny (No. 24, 2015), Nolan Patrick (No. 2, 2017 NHL Draft), Joel Farabee (No. 14, 2018 NHL Draft), Oskar Lindblom (fifth round, No. 38, 2014), Morgan Frost (No. 27, 2017) and Nicolas Aube-Kubel (second round, No. 48, 2014), and goalie Carter Hart (second round, No. 48, 2016 NHL Draft). 

“It’s an honor to be joining the Pittsburgh Penguins — an organization well-known for its excellence on and off the ice,” Hextall said. “I look forward to working with ownership, Brian and the entire organization toward the ultimate goal of bringing another Stanley Cup to Pittsburgh.”

Hextall, selected by the Flyers in the sixth round (No. 119) of the 1982 NHL Draft, played 11 of his 13 seasons for Philadelphia, where his 240 wins and 489 games played are most by a goalie in their history. He helped the Flyers to the Stanley Cup Final as a rookie in 1986-87 and won the Conn Smythe Trophy as MVP of the 1987 playoffs despite Philadelphia losing to the Edmonton Oilers in seven games. He also helped the Flyers reach the Final in 1997, starting three of their four straight losses to the Detroit Red Wings. 

After retiring in 1999, Hextall worked seven seasons in Philadelphia’s front office as a scout and director of player personnel. He was hired as assistant GM of the Los Angeles Kings in 2006 and won the Cup with them in 2012.

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