Thursday was the first domino to fall in what will be a pivotal offseason for the Hurricanes, as general manager Don Waddell announced the team had signed head coach Rod Brind’Amour to a three-year extension.
Waddell spoke to the media about Brind’Amour’s deal, updates on negotiations with Andrei Svechnikov and Dougie Hamilton, and much more. Here’s a full breakdown of everything he had to say:
Opening Statement: Good morning everyone, thanks for joining us here. Lots happened in the recent period of time, but we’re here in particular today to announce something that the organization is very excited about and very happy to get done. That we’ve reached a contract extension with Rod Brind’Amour. He’s a finalist for coach of the year, done a tremendous job leading our team for the last three years and into the playoffs. We truly believe we are truly headed in the right direction so we are very happy to get Rod signed to a long-term deal and we look forward to the next step. Thank you.
On how long Brind’Amour’s contract is for: It’s a three year extension.
On if he sees a role long-term within the organization after Brind’Amour is done coaching: He’s a Hurricane. And if that day ever comes that he decides he doesn’t want to be behind the bench, I’m sure as we’ve done with [Justin Williams] here recently, I’m sure there might be those next opportunities. But right now, as we’re focused on being the best team we can be, we’ve got a lot of work to do this summer to get ready for next year. A lot of planning. So that’s the focus, but Rod has stated very clearly that he wants to be a Hurricane and so one way or another, I’m assuming it will all work out not only for today, but for the future.
On if this is as good as spot for Brind’Amour as it was when he was playing: I put this one of the easy side because of the relationship we have where we can sit and talk about it very openly. We’ve traveled together on the road, we’ve spent a lot of time together, so when you’re around the group and around Rod like I am, you build a relationship and you can sit down and talk about everything you possibly can think about, so it’s just a matter of coming to a deal from a financial end, and obviously Tom was very supportive of it and involved, and we talked early on that it was important to get the whole group done. From dealing with Rod, I have to put it on the easy side because of the relationship that we have.
On the outside perception of Tom Dundon: The perception about anybody until you really know somebody is probably always different. All I know is for three years here, we’ve been a cap team. Tom is very passionate about the team. He’s shown that by how he committed to our players and getting things, I don’t know if there’s anything he’s said no to from a player standpoint. We just built a new practice facility that’s been talked about since 1997 when the team moved here. We opened that last year, so I can only say Tom is very committed to this franchise, he’s very passionate about it, and we have a choice as people to work here or not work here and work for Tom or not. I don’t know about the perception outside the organization, I just know how things are inside, and we’ve got a very tight-knit group here.
On letting Dougie Hamilton talk to other teams: We’ve had discussions, obviously, with Dougie and his representation. There’s a difference of opinion right now, so we said we can either wait until July 28, and if we’re unable to sign him, then he can walk away for free. So we said maybe if he finds out there is something out there that makes sense, we can trade him and pick up an asset or we’ll have an opportunity to sign him. The door is wide open here. We love Dougie. Dougie’s been good for this franchise and we are certainly all hoping that he comes back. But we also felt that we didn’t want to wait until July 28 to try and figure that out, so we just got a little head start on it.
On Andrei Svechnikov: We just actually had some discussions very recently. I think we’ll be talking every day. The goal, from our end, is to get him signed. Make sure we don’t miss anything this summer and get ready for the start of the season, and I think the goal on the other side is the same. It’s just negotiations, there’s no deadline. It seems like things always happen around our league when deadlines are in place, but the discussions are ongoing, will be ongoing until we get something done. I’m very confident that we’ll reach a compromise and get him signed way before the start of the season.
On the next most important thing to get done this offseason with Brind’Amour signed: We were going to do pro meetings starting today for the next few days. Go through our team, I think we have seen unrestricted free agents, and we’ll go through the league, see what free agents are potentially going to be out there. We’ve got to talk about the expansion draft. So that’s really, now it’s more all focused on players. How do we make our team better. What moves do we need to make? Which guys do we need to sign? As I said, there’s seven unrestricted guys, so those decisions will start happening here in the near future, and we’ve got a lot going on in July with the draft being pushed back and then the expansion draft. And then right followed up by the amature draft. This next month is going to be a busy time for the organization.
On Jake Gardiner and if anyone else needs surgery: [Gardiner] had some MRIs done here recently. It’s in discussion right now with him and the doctors as far as the next move, so I don’t really have an update. I know he just did an MRI the other day. Other than that, [Jordan Martinook] had his cleanup yesterday. I don’t think there’s anybody else. I think we’re in pretty good shape going forward. There’s nobody else that I can think of that needed any surgery. I think when the guys left here, they had their exit physicals and everybody left here in pretty good shape.
On the Tampa Bay Lightning being over the cap:I don’t think it had any effect for our players at all. Everybody’s aware of the situation. They didn’t break any rules. Whether those rules need to be looked at, I’m sure is something that will be talked about this summer. I’m sure they’d like to have their best player for the whole season. He had hip surgery and was able to come back for the playoffs. So there’s so many things that happen within the league that maybe some people dislike, but those are the rules, and I’m sure if it needs to be looked at, the powers that be will do that.