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Nick Spaling

Rutherford's rapid makeover paying dividends for Penguins

Tasked two summers ago with rebooting a franchise whose window for success around stars Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin appeared to be closing, Jim Rutherford didn't tinker. He gutted.

The man they call "Trader Jim" spent the better part of the next 18 months making over the Pittsburgh Penguins on the fly. It started almost immediately after he took over as general manager in June, 2014. The early returns were hardly promising. Marred by injuries and dispassionate play under then-head coach Mike Johnston, the Penguins fell to the New York Rangers in five listless games last spring, leading to concerns the man who built a Stanley Cup winner in NASCAR country in Carolina...

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