Pittsburgh — Trevor Daley’s steadying presence on the blue line helped the Pittsburgh Penguins win consecutive Stanley Cups in 2016 and 2017. The team hopes Daley can make the same impact in a different capacity as a hockey operations advisor.
The 37-year-old Daley, who played his final three seasons with the Red Wings, announced his retirement after 16 seasons on Monday in conjunction with his decision to begin his post-playing career by returning to the Penguins.
The team said Daley will assist in player evaluations at both the NHL and minor league levels and help the coaching staff during games.
“In addition to being a Stanley Cup Champion with us, he left us with a great impression due to his professional demeanor and quiet leadership qualities,” general manager Jim Rutherford said. “Those traits, along with his desire to want to learn about the business side of the NHL, made him a great candidate to join our staff.”
In addition to Daley’s hire, the Penguins announced Monday that they fired assistant general manager Jason Karmanos. Sam Ventura, the team’s director of hockey research, will assume Karmanos’ duties on an interim basis.
Daley scored 89 goals to go with 220 assists in 1,058 games with Dallas, Detroit, Pittsburgh and Chicago. The Penguins acquired him during the 2015-16 season and his arrival was part of a midseason makeover that propelled Pittsburgh to the franchise’s fourth Stanley Cup. Penguins captain Sidney Crosby handed Daley who did not play during the Cup Final due to an ankle injury — the Cup shortly after the Penguins clinched so Daley could honor his mother Trudy, who was battling cancer at the time. She died nine days later.
“One of my mom’s last images of me being on the ice,” Daley said. “It’s something I’ll never forget.”
Daley won another Cup with Pittsburgh the following year before finishing up his career with three seasons in Detroit, where he played 164 games (11 goals, 20 assists). He scored 41 points (11 goals, 30 assists) in 109 regular-season games and added 11 points (two goals, nine assists) in 36 playoff games with the Penguins. He met with Rutherford while considering his future, and their chat eased his mind about moving to the front office.
“I feel comfortable with the city,” Daley said. “My kids love it there.”
Daley comes to a team in the midst of significant changes following a qualifying-round loss to Montreal in the playoffs. The Penguins are 2-9 in their last 11 postseason games dating to the second round of the 2018 playoffs. Forward Patric Hornqvist and goaltender Matt Murray — teammates alongside Daley on the Cup-winning teams — were traded during the offseason. Still, Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and defenseman Kris Letang among others remain. Daley is looking forward to reconnecting with those veterans as the Penguins try to keep their championship window open.