If you’re looking for someone to credit for the success that the Carolina Hurricanes are having right now, it’s easy to name head coach Rod Brind’Amour, GM Don Waddell or even new owner Tom Dundon. One person who may be deserving of a good chunk of that credit though is former GM Ron Francis, who was let go before this season even started.
No, Francis wasn’t the man to pull the trigger on the Dougie Hamilton or Nino Niederreiter trades, but his fingerprints are still all over the roster. He was the GM who signed captain Justin Williams to a two-year, $9MM contract despite the forward being over 35. He orchestrated contract extensions for Brett Pesce ($4.025MM AAV) and Jaccob Slavin ($5.3MM) that look like absolute steals right now, and he was the one who selected Sebastian Aho with the 35th pick in 2015. On Sportsnet radio today Francis admitted that he is interested in returning to management, and John Shannon notes that his contract expires on June 30th. It will be interesting to see where Francis lands, and in what role.
- The Toronto Maple Leafs are expecting to add a Russian on Wednesday according to Kevin McGran of the Toronto Star, though it is not exactly clear who that would be. McGran suggests it is likely either Yegor Korshkov, a draft pick of the Maple Leafs who is expected to sign his entry-level contract this summer, or Ilya Mikheyev, who has been linked to the team in recent weeks. With the KHL season officially ending today and contracts expiring, many names will be signing over the next several days.
- The San Jose Sharks will still be without captain Joe Pavelski when they take on the Colorado Avalanche today, as he did not travel with the team to Denver. The Sharks haven’t listed exactly what Pavelski is dealing with, but he hasn’t played since suffering the scary head injury against the Vegas Golden Knights in the first round. Gustav Nyquist, who flew home for the birth of his child, is expected to play for the Sharks.