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Penguins evaluating GM Ron Hextall, president Brian Burke after latest first-round exit?

Yardbarker logo Yardbarker 5/16/2022 Zac Wassink, Yardbarker
The Penguins could be in for a front office shakeup. © Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports The Penguins could be in for a front office shakeup.

Fans of the Pittsburgh Penguins are left asking themselves many "what if" questions following the club's fourth straight first-round playoff exit, this one at the hands of the New York Rangers. For example, they'll wonder all summer what could have been had All-Star starting goalie Tristan Jarry and superstar captain Sidney Crosby been healthy for the entire series. 

They weren't, and what's done is now done. Pittsburgh begins its offseason with more questions than answers regarding its roster and could be on the cusp of losing big names such as defenseman Kris Letang and forwards Evgeni Malkin and Bryan Rust to free agency. Back in January, Pittsburgh general manager Ron Hextall told reporters re-signing those three was "a top priority for us." It's possible, though, that Hextall may not get the opportunity to make such a call. 

Hextall accepted the gig at the same time Brian Burke was named Penguins president of hockey operations in February 2021, less than a full year before the NHL Board of Governors approved the team's sale to the Fenway Sports Group. According to 93.7 the Fan's Jeff Hathhorn, Pittsburgh ownership could be looking at making changes to the team's front office this summer.

Per Tim Benz of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Mark Madden of 105.9 The X also believes a front-office "facelift" could be in Pittsburgh's near future. 

"I expect both (general manager Ron) Hextall and (president of hockey operations Brian) Burke will be gone if not sooner then certainly later," Madden explained. "In fact, I’ve been told Burke is not coming back next year, for sure. And I doubt if Hextall will be here for the long haul or even the short run. Because the first thing Fenway Sports group does when they get a team is bring in the best management possible. Burke and Hextall do not come under the heading of best management possible."

It's unclear who could be tasked with attempting to get Crosby at least one last Stanley Cup run before the all-time great rides off into the sunset of retirement if Burke and/or Hextall are shown the door. 

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