Predators’ Fenton, Devils’ Fitzgerald withdraw from Carolina GM search

Carolina Hurricanes new NHL hockey team majority owner Thomas Dundon. (Chris Seward/The News & Observer via AP)

The Carolina Hurricanes‘ search for a new general manager narrowed slightly Friday as two more potential candidates bowed out of the race.

Nashville Predators assistant general manager Paul Fenton has withdrawn his name from consideration, according to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman.

New Jersey Devils assistant GM Tom Fitzgerald has taken himself out of the running as well, telling Friedman: “This is nothing against Tom Dundon. I am very happy in New Jersey and this is not the right time for me.”

Fenton and Fitzgerald were among the five candidates outlined by Sportsnet’s panel of insiders during a Headlines segment on Hockey Night in Canada earlier this month. One more name from that initial five-man group is out of the mix as well, as Los Angeles Kings assistant GM Michael Futa also passed on a shot at the Hurricanes front-office role. Futa withdrew his name on Tuesday, according to Friedman.

With those three set to remain with their current clubs, former Vancouver Canucks assistant GM Laurence Gilman, Buffalo Sabres assistant GM Steve Greeley, and current Hurricanes assistant GM Mike Vellucci appear to be the only remaining known candidates being considered by Hurricanes owner Tom Dundon, per Friedman’s reports.

Carolina’s search for a new manager began on March 7, when Dundon — who took over as majority owner of the Hurriances in January — re-assigned former GM Ron Francis to a new role as president of hockey operations.

Friedman wrote about the new owner in a recent 31 Thoughts column, discussing Dundon’s desire to play a bigger role in all key decisions regarding the Hurricanes’ operation.

“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 when asked what he wants in a new GM. “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. Someone to create a structure of how something is a good idea, and now we are going to get it done.”

Carolina currently sits nine points out of an Eastern Conference wild card spot with a 30-29-11 record heading into the season’s home stretch.

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