Change starts at the top in Canes’ offseason
Mired in the longest playoff drought in the NHL, the Carolina Hurricanes are changing.
New owner Tom Dundon has repeatedly said the franchise needs it, and with Bill Peters’ resignation Friday, the team will have a new general manager and head coach before the 2018-19 season begins.
Peters made his decision to resign official Friday afternoon, but it didn’t come as a surprise.
Both sides were ready to “move on,” as Peters said in a final statement released by his former team.
Now, the challenge for Dundon and interim general manager Don Waddell will be finding a GM-coach duo who can provide the necessary adjustments to lead the Hurricanes out of mediocrity and back to the postseason.
Carolina ended the 2017-18 season in 10th place in the Eastern Conference, 16 points out of a playoff berth. It was the ninth consecutive year without a postseason run for the team.
Dundon said Friday that Waddell will lead the way on both searches.
“Don has a pretty good handle on who we should and shouldn’t talk to,” Dundon said in an interview with Adam Gold and Joe Ovies on 99.9 FM The Fan. “Then we’ll decide who we want to talk to and make a decision.”
Waddell said the team won’t spend much time worrying about the order of how they fill the openings.
“Traditionally, you would probably say the GM has to come first, but Tom, the way he thinks –which he’s been very successful in all his businesses – he doesn’t necessarily believe that you have to have the GM in place,” Waddell said.
“We’re going to run both searches. We’re not going to wait for a GM to start the coaching search. If you hire the coach first, the GM comes in, he’ll know who the coach is and know some of the staff that’s been put in place, and he’s either going to accept that or he’s not going to take the job.”
So, who’s in the mix to take over on the bench?
While neither Dundon or Waddell mentioned any specific candidates, Dundon said current assistant coach Rod Brind’Amour is someone the team would be “lucky to have.”
“I really like the guy. He’s great. He’s really intelligent, he’s committed, hard working,” Dundon said. “He definitely has a lot of the qualities you would look for. We have to make sure we talk to enough people to make the best decision. But he’s someone we’d be lucky to have if that’s the way we decided to go.”
Brind’Amour told WRAL News Friday night that he’s interested in the job.
“I think (Dundon) knows I’m interested,” Brind’Amour said. “I told him if he’s going to start looking, start with me.”
Brind’Amour, 47, is one the most well known players in Hurricanes history. He was the captain of the 2005-06 Hurricanes squad that won the Stanley Cup and he played in Carolina’s last playoff game in 2009.
He said Friday that he’s ready to take the leap and become a head coach.
“I’ve been out for eight years and on the sidelines. I know I’ve been on the bench, but I want to get more involved, one way or another,” he said.
The Hurricanes have made the postseason just once since winning the Stanley Cup in 2006, and just twice in 15 seasons. This will be their third coaching change since their last playoff appearance in 2009.