Many had predicted it: there are a lot of changes taking place when it comes to head coaches across the National Hockey League. While none of them were fired during the regular season, a lot have gotten the boot once the regular calendar came to an end. Alain Vigneault and Glen Gulutzan lost their jobs with the New York Rangers and the Calgary Flames respectively, and Ken Hitchcock decided to retire as the head coach of the Dallas Stars. Now, it seems like one coach is not waiting to get the resignation papers from his club and has decided to walk out on his team by himself.
According to NHL insider Bob McKenzie, Hurricanes head coach Bill Peters is expected to exercise today his option (which expires today) to leave Carolina to pursue other coaching opportunities. McKenzie added that for now, it means that there would be head-coaching vacancies in Calgary, Carolina, Dallas and New York Rangers.
Peters is believed to be a candidate for the openings with the Calgary Flames and Dallas Stars, per McKenzie, and the belief is Peters, an Alberta native, would like to go home.
McKenzie also reported earlier this week that Hurricanes new owner Tom Dundon's preference is for Peters to not return, but he probably was hoping Peters exercises his option to leave so that Dundon is not on the hook for his contract. Peters would be making $1.6 million next season, on the final year of his deal with the team, according to a report from the News and Observer.
Earlier Thursday, the team announced they hired Paul Krepelka as vice-president of hockey operations, which definitely hints at many changes to come in the next season for the Hurricanes. Some believe that assistant coach Rod Brind’Amour may be a leading candidate to take over the Canes’ head-coaching position for the next season. Another option is Charlotte Checkers coach and Hurricanes assistant GM Mike Vellucci, who will be coaching his team in the Calder Cup playoffs this weekend.
The Hurricanes have missed the playoffs for four consecutive seasons, coming off a 36-35-11 finish during the 2017-18 campaign. During his time in Carolina, Peters posted a combined record of 137-138-53.