Dave Beeston, the Penguins’ alternate governor and surrogate for Fenway Sports Group (FSG), is part of a process for which he wanted no part: finding new hockey leadership for a franchise that just finished a turbulent season.

This wasn’t how it was supposed to go for Beeston or FSG when it purchased the Penguins midway through the 2021-22 season. Then the flagship franchise of the NHL’s salary-cap era, the Penguins seemed a sure bet to smoothly keep sailing the waters of prosperity.

Change — like a puck turned over in the neutral zone — comes at you fast in life. After a hockey operations overhaul Friday, Beeston is playing a pivotal role in finding the person, or persons, who will try to quickly turn around what remains of the high-end seasons for aging stars Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang.

Beeston said Friday he had no predetermined candidates to lead hockey operations. FSG is open to everything from a singular GM to an executive VP of hockey and a GM, and maybe something that hasn’t been done yet in the NHL.

This is FSG’s first chance to define what it wants from hockey operations. Seemingly anything is possible.

The Athletic has identified 10 potential candidates on FSG’s radar when it comes to a GM role. More could emerge, but this list is a good starting point for possible candidates.


Mathieu Darche

Assistant GM, director of hockey operations (Lightning)

Darche has a varied background. With the Lighting, he has assisted GM Julien BriseBois on all major decisions and in all facets of management. A former NHL player, he played a big role on the NHL Players’ Association’s behalf in negotiations during the 2012-13 lockout. After retiring as a player, he was vice president of sales and marketing for Delmar International, a Canadian customs broker and freight forwarder.

He has worked under one of the league’s most successful and aggressive GMs since May 2019. Darche has witnessed firsthand how to keep assembling rosters around an aging core of star players, which should appeal to FSG’s stated desire for the Penguins to again become a Stanley Cup contender.


Tyler Dellow

Vice president hockey analytics (Devils)

Dellow is viewed universally — if not always favorably — within the NHL as an advanced analytics whiz. A former litigator, influential blogger (and, yes, columnist for The Athletic), his work with the Devils has been across their entire hockey operations department. He’s done that since April 2019, after previously spending two seasons as an analytics consultant with the Oilers. His skill for combining data with video was groundbreaking in the early part of the last decade.