There are a lot of assumptions going on in Carolina. It is assumed that Jim Rutherford will soon step down as acting General Manager and it is also assumed that Ron Francis will be his successor.
About a month ago, Rutherford was quoted as saying that he was considering stepping down. When asked about possible changes over the offseason, the General Manager said that they first had to decide who was going to be making the decisions.
That is not exactly a slam dunk announcement of his pending retirement but the wheels are certainly turning in the Canes front office. There has been nothing but deathly silence coming from Edward Mills Road since Kirk Muller's postmortem, end of season press conference last week.
Will Rutherford, who has the second longest tenure as general manager in the NHL, finally step aside? Will Ron Francis take over? Will Francis be allowed to run the show and make his own decisions, or will he just be a puppet at the end of strings pulled by Rutherford, (who very likely will stay on as President), and owner, Peter Karmanos?
This is the question posed to our round table this week.
Once Jim Rutherford steps down, should Ron Francis be the next GM by default, or should the club go outside the organization?
Let's see what the Canes Country brain trust feels about the subject.
Cory Lavalette - Editor
Ron Francis has been groomed to be Jim Rutherford’s replacement as general manager, and there's no reason to divert from that plan. While many will argue that promoting Francis is just like continuing Rutherford’s up-and-down tenure, Francis is his own man with his own ideas.
That is quite the loaded question. While I’m sure that many fans would rather see the next Canes General Manager come from outside the organization, I don’t have a problem with Ron Francis taking control. But I don’t feel him getting the job by "default" is the correct choice either. I believe Peter Karmanos should interview a couple of candidates and make his decision based on those interviews. Maybe Francis has a edge over other candidates, but the smart business move is to at least explore your options.
While Jim Rutherford might have trained or groomed Francis for the General Manager position, I think Francis is his own man and will have his own direction for the organization. From what I’ve heard, Francis wants to get bigger and more physical, which I’ve been saying for years. I’ve also heard from different places that Francis was instrumental in the Canes selection of Jeff Skinner, the scouting of Riley Nash and the targeting of Andrej Sekera. These were 3 pretty good players for the Hurricanes last season and if his hands aren’t tied by Karmanos and Rutherford, maybe he can turn this roster into a contender and get the organization going down the right path. He’s paid his dues as Rutherford’s understudy and I think he deserves very strong consideration for the Canes General Manager position. Just because he has been a good company man for many years, doesn’t mean he shares the same vision as his boss. So giving him the opportunity to run the franchise is just like giving the opportunity to any other candidate. There is potential for failure and there is potential for success, but none of us know how things will turn out until that opportunity is given and time reveals it’s answer. I feel Francis has earned the right for that opportunity and look forward to seeing what he can do.
Matt Krombach - Contributor - Intern
After five consecutive seasons without a playoff berth, it is time for change. Ron Francis is the likely candidate to take over the General Manager position for Jim Rutherford. He is the most suitable for the job, hands down.