We finally figured out what caused the most shocking moment in this NHL season so far. In what can only be described as a senior moment, Pittsburgh Penguins General Manager Jim Rutherford accidentally traded himself to the Arizona Coyotes for future considerations.
According to an anonymous team source, GMJR had multiple browser tabs open on his lap top, one booking a vacation to Arizona, another in contact with Coyotes GM Bill Armstrong looking to possibly swing another deal. The source isn’t certain, but thinks Rutherford mistook one browser for the other, and entered his name as being offered to the Coyotes instead of filling in payment information for the airline.
Armstrong was caught a bit off-guard. “We’re pretty happy with our roster, and we certainly don’t want to give up draft picks. I told him ‘All I’m willing to give up are future considerations. Who would you unload for that?’ He responded with his own name. My jaw hit the floor. I couldn’t agree fast enough. Come to think of it, I didn’t even bother to question why he sent me his credit card number.”
Armstrong sent the completed trade request to the league immediately, and it was finalized that night. Rutherford went to bed with no idea what he had just done.
A Forgettable Vacation
He landed in Phoenix the next day and was surprised to see Armstrong waiting for him at the airport. “He looked really puzzled when I welcomed him to Phoenix,” said Armstrong. “I told him ‘You’re gonna love it here! I can’t wait to get to work with you.’ He just looked at me and said ‘Work? Bill, I’m here on vacation.’ It was then that I started to realize what had happened.”
The two men had a rather uncomfortable lunch, discussing how to go about fixing the situation. Armstrong recalls, “Jim just wanted to get back to Pittsburgh, but I couldn’t let that happen. We don’t get these kinds of breaks here, so when a Hall of Fame GM falls in our lap, we’re keeping him.”
Rather than accept the mistake and go about turning the Coyotes into a dynasty, Rutherford resigned. “I don’t even think it was the organization that turned him off” said Armstrong. “I just don’t think he wanted to have to deal with Phil (Kessel) again.”