While the 2011 Stanley Cup finals heat up, inactive NHL teams hope to gear up for the 2011-12 season. That means making signings both big and small, from locking up prospects, pending free agents and tweaking their front office.
The Carolina Hurricanes – or at least their president and general manager Jim Rutherford – seem to make many of their decisions based on previous loyalties. They brought current head coach Paul Maurice back into the fold after firing him once and re-acquired players such as Erik Cole, Cory Stillman and Anton Babchuk after they departed one or more times.
Even when it comes to retired players, the Hurricanes organization seems to be most comfortable with familiar faces. The team made four notable changes to their front office staff today, with two of the parties being obvious bedrocks of the team during their playing days.
- First, let’s get to one familiar face to the hockey world who isn’t as obvious a choice for Carolina. Former Detroit Red Wings and Boston Bruins head coach Dave Lewis was added as an assistant coach, according to the team’s release. The team didn’t elaborate on which specific duties Lewis will have, though.
- Now, onto the first of two very familiar faces for Hurricanes fans. The team gave former longtime captain Rod Brind’Amour a more formal title of assistant coach and development coach. As you may remember, he received a rather unusual title of “director of forwards development” during the 2010-11 season.
- Speaking of former Canes captains, revered figure Ron Francis was promoted to director of hockey operations. The well-respected Hall of Famer was an associate coach for the team since December 2008 and also worked as a director of player personnel, director of player development and assistant general manager at different points in his post-retirement career.
- Finally, the team added Tom Rowe to their scouting department. Rowe served as an assistant coach in Carolina for three seasons, so he’s a familiar face to many even if he probably isn’t immediately identifiable to fans.