The NHL’s Seattle expansion team is closing in on hiring Ron Francis as their first general manager, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reports.
Seattle declined Friedman’s request for a comment.
Francis, 56, served as GM of the Carolina Hurricanes from 2014 to 2018. A Hall of Fame player, he had 549 goals and 1,798 points as a centre for the Hartford Whalers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Carolina Hurricanes and Toronto Maple Leafs from 1981-2004.
The Hurricanes missed the playoffs in all four seasons Francis was in charge, but he is still credited with acquiring a lot of the players that helped the team reach the Eastern Conference Final last season.
The Seattle expansion team will begin play in the 2021-22 season after renovations are complete on the Seattle Centre arena. An expansion draft will take place in June of 2021 and will see the new team select one player from every NHL team except the Vegas Golden Knights, who joined the league in 2017-18.
Francis wouldn’t be the first hire by the new Seattle team. In June the team hired Alexandra Mandrycky to be the director of hockey administration. In that role, Mandrycky will provide analytics expertise as the team prepares for the expansion draft.
Dave Tippett was working with the Seattle team as a senior advisor, but he left that role in May to be the new head coach of the Edmonton Oilers.