After it was reported Friday that two more candidates had withdrawn their names from consideration for the Carolina Hurricanes‘ vacant general manager position, more information has come to light regarding why the team might be seeing its search running into trouble.
One of the early-known issues was the question of how much authority the future GM will have given new owner Tom Dundon’s stated desire to have a greater impact on key decisions, according to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman.
The second issue appears to be a lacklustre starting salary.
“I’m told in the ballpark of $400,000 a year — that’s where that job will start,” Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos said Saturday during the Headlines segment on Hockey Night in Canada. “And there’s just no way that they can attract good hockey people, credible people, experienced people to take that salary. Whether or not it’s a lesser role still remains to be seen, but it’s a non-starter for many of the established people that are out there and that have shown interest.”
The Hurricanes are looking to keep the remaining portion of their GM search away from the public eye after news of candidates bowing out of the race has continued to surface in recent days. Nashville Predators assistant GM Paul Fenton and New Jersey Devils assistant GM Tom Fitzgerald both passed on the position on Friday, following Los Angeles Kings assistant GM Michael Futa’s similar decision on Tuesday.
“It got very public. Everybody kind of knew who was being interviewed, who was being contacted, and who was pulling themselves out of the race. And what Carolina has done is decided to go underground,” Friedman said during Saturday’s Headlines segment. “They talked yesterday internally and decided they didn’t like how much of this was public. And while they’re saying that the GM search has been suspended, I don’t necessarily believe that’s the case.
“I think they will continue to go at this, but they want to do it quieter.”
Friedman reported that Futa, Fenton and Fitzgerald were all interviewed for the position, while Buffalo Sabres assistant GM Steve Greeley went as far as Mexico to meet with Dundon, who’s currently vacationing in the area. Per earlier reports from Friedman, former Vancouver Canucks assistant GM Laurence Gilman and current Hurricanes assistant GM Mike Vellucci are also among those being considered for the position.
Don Waddell is currently serving as the Hurricanes interim GM, having taken over after former manager Ron Francis was transitioned into a role as president of hockey operations in early March. Francis, who played a total of 16 years for the organization — first as a Hartford Whaler and later as a member of the Hurricanes — originally took over as GM in 2014.
Carolina will now continue its search with a shrinking list of known candidates. While questions have circulated regarding Dundon’s expectations of his future general manager, the Hurricanes owner recently spoke to Friedman about how he envisions the relationship working.
“I think what I’m looking for, is we have to be comfortable with each other. That’s the most important thing,” Dundon told Friedman, as written in the latter’s recent 31 Thoughts column. “I actually like to disagree and argue. I don’t want someone to come in and just do what I say, and I don’t want to make decisions.”
The Hurricanes currently sit 11 points out of an Eastern Conference wild-card spot with a 30-30-11 record.