Penguins fire assistant GM Karmanos

The Pittsburgh Penguins announced the dismissal of assistant general manager Jason Karmanos on Monday, continuing a shift in the club’s leadership.

“We would like to thank Jason Karmanos for his contributions to the organization over the past six years,” Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford stated in a short news release. “I have been evaluating our hockey operations department, and this is the first part of the process to reorganize our group.”

Rutherford and Karmanos worked together with the Carolina Hurricanes before Rutherford moved on to the Penguins, and Karmanos joined him there.

The club said Sam Ventura, the director of hockey research, will take over for Karmanos and that Erik Heasley, manager of hockey operations, will serve as interim general manager of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.

On Aug. 12, the Penguins announced they would not renew the contracts of three assistant coaches, the first of the changes Rutherford had hinted were coming.

“We are in the process of conducting a review of our organization because we have underperformed in the playoffs the last few years,” Rutherford said then. “We just thought we needed to change the dynamic of our coaching staff. We have very high standards here in Pittsburgh, and we want to continue competing for Stanley Cups. The message to our fans is that ‘We are not rebuilding, we’re retooling.'”

The Penguins won the Stanley Cup in 2016 and 2017 but are 2-8 in their past 10 playoff games. The Montreal Canadiens eliminated them 3-1 in the best-of-five qualifier for the Stanley Cup playoffs in August.