According to Geoff Baker of The Seattle Times, Ron Francis will be named the first general manager in Seattle’s NHL expansion franchise history later this week.
Baker reported that his contract will most likely be for five seasons, including the two leading up to the 2021 NHL Expansion Draft.
Francis, 56, was the general manager of the Carolina Hurricanes from 2014-2018 before the team terminated his contract after they missed the Stanley Cup Playoffs for 10 consecutive seasons.
Francis was named one of the top 100 players in NHL history during the team’s centennial celebration in 2017. His 1249 career assists are the second-most in league history only behind Wayne Gretzky. Francis posted 1798 career points (fifth-most all-time) and played in 1731 games (third). He played 23 seasons in the NHL for the Hurricanes, Hartford Whalers, Pittsburgh Penguins, and Toronto Maple Leafs. He won the Stanley Cup twice with the Penguins in 1991 and ’92.
Francis will be tasked with the job of selecting one player from each of the 30 other teams around the league (the Vegas Golden Knights will be exempt) for Seattle in the 2021 NHL Expansion Draft and scout those teams in the next two seasons leading up to it. He will also have to build his front office and coaching staff prior to the expansion draft.
Baker also said that the Seattle franchise has been eying Francis for their GM job for “quite some time,” though they needed permission from the ownership group to hire a general manager this early. Golden Knights’ GM Kelly McCrimmon, Detroit Red Wings’ GM Steve Yzerman, and Edmonton Oilers’ GM Ken Holland were all pursued by the Seattle franchise before each of them landed new jobs.
Because Francis was under contract for one more year with the Hurricanes, Seattle had to ask them for permission to hire Francis prior to naming him their general manager.
By Harrison Brown