For a quarter century, Ed Johnston has been a member of the Penguins’ family in some form or another. Johnston has had many roles with the organization, including head coach (1980-83; 1993-97), general manager (1983-1988), assistant general manager (1989; 1997-2006) and senior advisor (2006-present).
But Johnston’s most memorable moment with the Penguins organization was when he saved the franchise.
"The thing I’ll remember most was making the decision to keep Mario," Johnston said. "The franchise wouldn't be here if I had let him go. He was the one that got people back in the stands. That, I thought, was the turning point for our franchise."
If Mario Lemieux
had never become a Penguin, the team may not be in Pittsburgh right now. Lemieux saved the franchise twice (once with his play and once as owner). But Johnston was the man who drafted Lemieux with the first-overall pick in the 1984.
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