Penguins Ink GM Ray Shero to Five-Year Contract Extension

Pittsburgh Penguins co-owners Ron Burkle & Mario Lemieux announced today that the club has re-signed General Manager Ray Shero to a five-year contract extension, lengthening the tenure of the man that brought the franchise its first Stanley Cup title in 17 years in 2009, and continues to retain a competitive roster year in and year out. The new pact will keep Shero in Pittsburgh until 2016, with his current deal set to expire at the end of the 2010-11 season.

Shero took over the GM's reigns in Pittsburgh in May 2006, when Craig Patrick was let go after a season in which the team had finished 15th in the East and 29th overall in the National Hockey League. The Penguins have made the playoffs in every season since his arrival, including an Atlantic Division crown in 2008, back-to-back Stanley Cup Final appearances in 2008 and 2009, and a Stanley Cup title in the latter year. During Shero's tenure, he has also drafted Jordan Staal 2nd overall in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft, traded for Chris Kunitz, Pascal Dupuis and promising youngster Eric Tangradi, and signed such notable free agents as Paul Martin, Zbynek Michalek, Mike Comrie and Arron Asham, while also locking up franchise cornerstones Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Marc-Andre Fleury to long-term deals, arguably for far less than they could have earned on the open market. Shero was also responsible for the promotion and eventual hiring of current Head Coach Dan Bylsma, who after taking over for the fired Michel Therrien mid-season in 2008-09, brought the team back into playoff position and through to their eventual Cup title.

With full control of the team's on-ice product for the next 6 years, only time will tell how many more accolades Shero can accumulate during his newly-extended term.

Pittsburgh Penguins Official Press Release:

Quote:

Penguins general manager Ray Shero spent the last few years ensuring the team’s long-term competitiveness and success by locking up a solid foundation of players to multi-year contracts.

Now the Penguins have locked up the foundation’s foundation.

The Penguins and Shero have agreed on a five-year contract extension that ensures the team’s 2009 Stanley Cup champion architect will remain in Pittsburgh through the 2015-16 season.

“I’d like to thank Mario Lemieux, Ron Burkle and the ownership group for showing confidence in me,” Shero said. “They made a decision to hire me back in May of 2006, and it’s worked out for both of us. The ownership group has supported me and given me the resources to do the job. The stability we get from with our ownership group is how you have success both on and off the ice.

“I wanted to stay here long term. This is a good fit for me and my family.”

On the hockey operations front, Shero’s work speaks for itself. He helped rebuild the Penguins from a club that finished at the bottom of the NHL standings for five-straight seasons into a perennial contender.

Shero inherited a team with an abundance of talent when he was hired May 25, 2006. But his fine-tuning and personnel moves helped Pittsburgh win the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference title in 2008 and the Stanley Cup championship in 2009.

“To be able to win a Stanley Cup in my third year with this group meant a great deal,” Shero said. “It meant a great deal for our players because it is very difficult to achieve. It gave us a lot of credibility moving forward of being a competitive hockey team.”

Thanks to Shero, the Penguins will be a championship contender for years to come with the long-term signings of core players like Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Jordan Staal, Marc-Andre Fleury, Brooks Orpik, Kris Letang, Zbynek Michalek and Paul Martin.

Much has already been written and discussed about Shero’s craftiness and abilities in building a championship team, but his philosophy and management style is highly underrated, and possibly his best asset.

“The first thing I wanted to do after being hired was establish a foundation for the organization,” he said. “We hired different people, a new training staff, director of player personnel, director of player development and a director of team services to take care of the players and their families. Establishing that foundation with the right people has been very important.”

Shero modernized the Penguins hockey operations department, utilizing cutting-edge technology and scouting methods, upgraded and expanded the team’s pro and amateur scouting, added a player development director and created a player-friendly environment.

Shero’s firm and honest approach and managerial style has set the tone for the Penguins team.

“We talk about passion, work ethic and accountability for our hockey team, but I say all the time that it includes our scouts, our trainers, our coaches, our management,” Shero said. “It’s managing people. It’s great to give people the latitude to do their job and make decisions. I like giving them responsibility, whether it’s coaching, scouts or trainers making decisions, at the end I’m responsible for their decisions. If you hire the right people, they have ideas and can be creative. I think that makes for a better organization.”

And that philosophy will reign in the Penguins organization as long as Shero is in charge. Which, thanks to his new contract, will be for (at least) the next five seasons.

4 Comments

George Prax's picture

Good move by the Pens, Shero deserves it obviously. They had him on Montreal radio today with Pierre McGuire (who's a good friend of his). It was pretty funny, it was kind of a surprise and they caught McGuire off-guard by making him say a bunch of nice things about Shero haha. He actually had some insightful things to say about last year's playoffs, the big contracts around the league, injuries, etc.

Ranger4ever's picture

It's so interesting to note how the "new-age" hockey guys like Shero micro-manage not just their rosters, but every aspect of the pro game with a view to giving their group of millionaire athletes the best chance of survivng the gruelling NHL schedule. Some of Shero's off-ice moves sound like those I was just reading about Mike Gillis having brought to Vancouver--including a sleep consultant who is consulted regularly about travel and practice schedules, and a full-time chef who is preparing proper meals for the troops. It's a competitive market for the spiorts entertainment dollar in Steeltown and I say Shero is full value for the money he is putting [back] into Mario's pockets!

George Prax's picture

In today's NHL, a good management type has to be aware of issues that are off the ice. Gone are the days where a player like Maurice Richard would play a game one night and then move a coach the next afternoon. Hockey is more of a career, a lifestyle than it ever was and GMs and coaches have to be careful of what they let their players do outside of the team.

Take for instance how they handled Crosby in the first few years, living in Mario's basement. More teams should do that. Imagine, how, for instance, Carey Price's last couple of years would have turned out if he wasn't let loose on the city of Montreal as a 20 year old, if he wasn't allowed to bar and club hop every night?

That's obviously just a smart part of it. If I was a GM, I would consider all the players to be sort of like my children, you gotta guide them, make sure they get everything they need, beyond just signing them to a contract and telling them to score goals.

Shero is definitely the model GM of the 21st century.