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5 Biggest Offseason Changes Pittsburgh Penguins Have Made So Far

5 Biggest Offseason Changes Pittsburgh Penguins Have Made So Far

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There was plenty of speculation that if the Penguins were to bomb the playoffs again, general manager Ray Shero and head coach Dan Bylsma would be looking for jobs elsewhere. But I don't think anyone expected the Penguins to undergo the massive makeover they have endured. Here are the five biggest offseason changes the Penguins have made so far.

5. Bringing in The Use of Analytics

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5. Bringing in The Use of Analytics

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When Jim Rutherford was hired as GM of the Penguins, he announced that he would be implementing the use of in-depth analytics. The Penguins have used analytics in the past but never in depth. Analytics will be a useful tool to help the Penguins understand why and where things are happening on the ice. This will help assist management and the coaching staff make better on-ice decisions throughout the season.

4. Trading James Neal to the Nashville Predators

James Neal
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4. Trading James Neal to the Nashville Predators

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The Penguins needed a roster shakeup, and the only player in the top six they could afford to lose was Neal. Neal was dealt to the Nashville Predators in exchange for Patric Hornqvist and Nick Spaling, after Rutherford stated that he was "looking for a different kind of player." Rutherford has yet to find a "replacement" for Neal, but when he does, expect a sizable trade from the blue line.

3. Letting Most of Their Unrestricted Free Agents Go

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3. Letting Most of Their Unrestricted Free Agents Go

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At the start of the offseason, Rutherford announced that he would not be extending offers to any of their 11 UFAs. Some of these notable UFAs included D Matt Niskanen, D Brooks Orpik, F Jussi Jokinen and G Tomas Vokoun. Rutherford claimed that the door would be open for some of these UFAs, but most of them have signed with other teams. Marcel Goc has been the only UFA to re-sign with the Penguins so far.

2. Firing Dan Bylsma and Hiring Mike Johnston

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2. Firing Dan Bylsma and Hiring Mike Johnston

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Three weeks after Bylsma learned that the new GM would decide his fate, he was immediately relieved of his duties. Bylsma may hold the record for the most wins in Penguins history, but he has failed to get the Penguins where they have needed to be, particularly in the playoffs. This has been one of the smartest moves the Penguins have made this offseason.

1. Firing Ray Shero and Hiring Jim Rutherford

Jim Rutherford
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1. Firing Ray Shero and Hiring Jim Rutherford

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The Penguins didn't wait for the official start of the 2014 NHL offseason to begin their makeover. Shortly after the Penguins blew a 3-1 lead against the New York Rangers in the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs, management gave Shero the boot. Shero had been with the Penguins since 2006, but he has only assisted them in winning the cup once while leaving them in a salary cup debacle. Change to the front office has been long overdue.

Amanda Sklarek is a Pittsburgh Penguins/NHL writer for RantSports.com. Follow her on Twitter @amandabukowski, “Like” her on Facebook or add her to your network on Google.