Jim Rutherford: Reckless Or Rightfully Aggressive?

The Fan Morning Show debates after Kasperi Kapanen deal

Matt Koll
August 26, 2020 - 11:34 am

PITTSBURGH (93.7 The Fan)- Jim Rutherford made his first big move of the offseason on Tuesday by shipping out yet another first round pick (15th overall in 2020), along with Evan Rodrigues and prospects Filip Hallander and David Warsofsky to Toronto in exchange for Pontus Aberg, Jesper Lindgren and former Penguins first round pick Kasperi Kapanen.

The trade has gotten mixed reviews among fans since it went down midday Tuesday and The Fan Morning Show with Colin Dunlap and Chris Mack discussed the job Rutherford is doing as he looks to rearrange his roster for next season.

“My issue with this deal…and I’m not going to burn the house down over it…is not that they went out and got Kasperi Kapanen,” said Mack. “Or even that they necessarily see him as a fix for the right wing on Sid’s line, OK, I’ll buy that. See if he can grow into that role, certainly. He's a 20-goal guy, I think he can be that at the NHL level.

I keep coming back to the idea of giving up as much as they did to essentially backfill what was the Dominik Kahun role with this team. I see a lot of similarities between Kahun and Kapanen. You traded Kahun for Sheary and Rodrigues and now Rodrigues is going to Toronto with a couple other pieces, and a 1st round pick.”

Colin Dunlap said, “I see it as the window still being open. Kasperi Kapanen isn’t old. This is a 24 year-old guy. [Those against the trade], their argument is ‘Jim Rutherford is just chasing something and it’s a closing window.' I’ll tell ya, there’s a whole hell of a lot of GM’s around the NHL that would like to have Guentzel-Crosby-Kapanen, Zucker-Malkin-Rust as their top 6.”

Chris then wondered aloud that if the championship “window” is still open, does that mean you always have to go all in and build your current roster as much as you possibly can? Colin said yes, especially toward the end of that perceived window.

“Then in that case, trade [Samuel] Poulin, trade [Nathan] Legare, trade [Pierre-Olivier] Joseph, trade all the young guys and fill them in with guys who already know you can trust and really stock up. If you’re going to go all in, throw every single last chip on the table then," said Mack.

Colin still gives Rutherford the benefit of the doubt because he won two Stanley Cups in Pittsburgh already and because of his work in mining talents like John Marino, Jake Guentzel and Tristan Jarry.

Chris expressed his final concern with the work Rutherford is doing here by saying, “I’m ready, willing and able to recognize all of those successes. I also see the way he left the Carolina Hurricanes and what they looked like as he continued to chase mistakes in Carolina and I wonder, ‘Do we get to that point here?’ Maybe not, because you’ve got Crosby and Malkin in place.”