In case you missed it, the Carolina Hurricanes have relieved Ron Francis of his general manager duties and given him an promotion to the position of president of hockey operations. The announcement came last night straight from the mouth of new Hurricanes owner Tom Dundon.
Technically Francis has been “re-assigned” within the organization, but anyone with half a clue can figure out what exactly is going on in Carolina. Dundon wanted Francis out, but because Francis is such a legend in Carolina, outright firing him was not an option. By promoting Francis and keeping him within the organization, Dundon can save a bit of face while still giving the team a new direction. So far, however, there’s no indication of who might replace Francis as the Hurricanes new GM or what the team’s timeline is for finding a replacement.
"Since I took control of the team, I've had a good chance to be around and assess the operations," said Dundon in a prepared statement. "There are a lot of good people working in the organization, but I feel that a change in direction is needed when it comes to hockey personnel decisions.”
“Ron is a smart and talented hockey man. I am glad that he will continue to be a part of the team, serving in this new role."
Francis, as you might expect, was not available for comment at the time of the announcement.
In four years as Hurricanes GM the 55-year-old Hockey Hall of Famer failed to get his team into the Stanley Cup playoffs and has been criticized by the team’s fanbase for failing to make significant changes to the team’s roster. Sure, he acquired Teuvo Teravainen from a desperate Chicago Blackhawks club and he has drafted young players like Sebastien Aho and Noah Hanifin, but Francis never really made a true player-for-player deal or drafted an impact player during his tenure as team GM.
Of course, the former Pittsburgh Penguins superstar was a major contributor to the Penguins’ 1991 and 1992 Stanley Cup championships, but he’s yet to experience anything remotely close to that level of success with the Hurricanes franchise.