Ray Shero, the assistant general manager of the Nashville Predators since November 1998, announced on Thursday that he has accepted the general manager position with the Pittsburgh Penguins. Shero, who spent eight years with Nashville and six years in the same role with the Ottawa Senators, was introduced by Penguins chairman Mario Lemieux and president/CEO Ken Sawyer at a press conference in Pittsburgh Thursday afternoon.
Shero wasted little time outlining his plan for the future of the Penguins club, which finished 29th out of the 30 NHL teams this season but has stockpiled some of the brightest young talent in the league. Shero's blueprint will sound familiar to Predators fans who have watched as the Nashville franchise has been developed patiently and deliberately by general manager David Poile and Shero.
"When I look back at what happened in Ottawa when we made the playoffs for the first time in 1997, I thought the team was built correctly," Shero said. "I thought the team was built with patience, a lot of losses along the way, but it was built the right way and they've made the playoffs every year since and have been a force in the league.
"In Nashville, the same situation happened where we went through a period of five years without making the playoffs. I think we did a great job of building. We've made it [to the playoffs] two years in a row now and I think Nashville is poised to be a long-term playoff contender and a team that's going to be reckoned for many years down the line.
"That's what I'd like to have happen in Pittsburgh."
With Nashville, Shero oversaw the Predators' primary developmental affiliate, the Milwaukee Admirals, while also negotiating player contracts, managing scouting at the professional and amateur levels, and directing the day-to-day operation of the Predators' hockey department.
Ironically, on Wednesday night, the Admirals completed a series sweep of Grand Rapids in the Western Conference Finals of the American Hockey League playoffs and will await the Eastern Conference winner to play for the Calder Cup. Milwaukee features some of the organization's top prospects, including Scottie Upshall, Jordin Tootoo, Shea Weber, Pekka Rinne and Kevin Klein, among others.
Additionally, Alexander Radulov, the Predators' first-round pick in 2004, scored a goal and an assist Wednesday to help his Quebec Remparts junior team advance to the Canadian Hockey League's Memorial Cup Final this weekend. Radulov led junior hockey in scoring this season with 152 points, including a 50-game point-scoring streak, and he has averaged two points per game in the playoffs.