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Cumming, GA • United States • 4 Years Old • Male
It has been a busy couple of months for Ron Francis, Executive Vice President and General Manager of the Carolina Hurricanes, since he took control of hockey operations from Jim Rutherford. First order of business for Ronnie was to dismiss the coaching staff after the abysmal performance last year. Not much debate needed there. Kirk Muller, et al, never really got it done and his inability to get the best from leader Eric Staal, among others, has been well-documented.rnrnThe recent hiring of Bill Peters as head coach of the Canes was a low risk decision. It was generally conceded that Peters was one of the top up-and-coming coaches available and was in high demand. A solid move but low risk. Adding Steve Smith to the coaching staff brings an experienced assistant with some success working with young players, a common theme for the Canes given their move to increase the role of the younger guys, such as Skinner, Lindholm, Faulk, Nash, and Murphy. But again, not earth shattering.rnrnNext order of business for Ronnie was to secure UFAs Ron Hainsey and Nathan Gerbe on multi-year deals. Good solid moves aimed at shoring up the core, with a couple of solid citizens, not flashy but get-the-job done types. Thus far, Ron Francis’ moves have been underwhelming.rnrnSo, what next? We keep waiting for Ronnie to put his signature on the hockey club. He was quick to point out “I’m my own man” when he took control of the team. Well, now is as good a time as any to start to show what he’s got. The Hurricanes will pick 7th in the upcoming draft on tomorrow. Consensus picks are Jake Virtanen and Nicholas Ritchie, two large-sized power forward types, with high upside. Either would be a welcome addition to the undersized Canes. Don’t see the Canes trying to move up or down in the draft unless a deal comes together to package Cam Ward as part of it, which it highly unlikely. So, expect Mr. Francis to step to the podium as planned. rnrnI’m curious what role Mike Vellucci might play in all of this. He was quietly added to assist Ronnie in player decisions and brings a wealth of knowledge of the junior ranks, particularly Ritchie, Brendan Perlini and Josh Ho-Sang, who all toiled in the OHL, all worth serious consideration by the Hurricanes.rnrnDraft day 2014 promises to be an exciting day for hockey fans around the globe, with rumors aplenty on many possible deals in the works. As Hurricanes fans, we can only hope Ron Francis is in the middle of the scrum. rn
Filed Under:   Hurricanes   Francis   Ritchie   Virtanen   Perlini   Vellucci  
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