May 27, 2014, 12:06 PM EDT
Tom Fitzgerald, who’s spent the last five years as an assistant to Ray Shero, is believed to have interviewed last week for Pittsburgh’s vacant gig, the Post-Gazette reports:
Fitzgerald could not be reached for comment Monday, and team president and CEO David Morehouse, who is leading the hunt for Shero’s successor, has said that he will not comment publicly while the search is proceeding.
Fitzgerald, 45, has spent seven seasons with the Penguins, the past five in his current role. Before that, he was director of player development for two.
Shero’s other assistant, Jason Botterill, is currently serving as interim GM while the club conducts its search. While Botterill is highly regarded and considered by many to be a GM-in-waiting, Fitzgerald’s scouting acumen and history could make him better suited for the job, especially in light of what the Tribune-Review reported yesterday:
Penguins ownership is said to prefer the new general manager to have a successful background in scouting and development, believing the franchise needs to improve most in those areas.
In addition to his two years in player development, Fitzgerald worked in a scouting capacity during his time under Shero; his main responsibility, per the Post-Gazette, was to “monitor the progress of the Penguins prospects outside the NHL — be it in the minor leagues, college or junior hockey.”
It should be noted Fitzgerald is just one in a long list of people Pens CEO David Morehouse has reportedly spoken to regarding the vacant GM gig. Other names include Julien BriseBois (Tampa Bay assistant GM), Dave Poulin (Toronto VP of hockey ops), Norm Maciver (Chicago assistant GM), Rick Dudley (Montreal assistant GM), Jeff Gorton (Rangers assistant GM), Don Sweeney (Boston assistant GM), Paul Fenton (Nashville assistant GM) and George McPhee (ex-Caps GM).
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