Rick Dudley leaves Canadiens to take job with Hurricanes

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The Carolina Hurricanes still haven’t found their next general manager, but they’ve added another experienced hockey mind to their front office.

On Tuesday morning, the ‘Canes announced that they’ve hired Rick Dudley to be their senior vice president of hockey operations. Dudley has spent the last six years with the Montreal Canadiens. He had been serving as the club’s senior VP, hockey operations since 2014.

“Rick brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to our management group,” Hurricanes CEO and governor Tom Dundon said in a release. “He has been a part of building championship teams on every level of professional hockey, and will play an important role in helping us build a winner in Raleigh.”

“I would like to thank Rick Dudley for his contributions to the Canadiens organization over the last six years. His vast hockey knowledge and extensive experience have been key assets to our team,” said Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin. “On a more personal level, since I became an amateur scout in 2005, Rick has not only been a valuable advisor and confidant, but also a great friend I could always count on. On behalf of myself and the Montreal Canadiens, I wish Rick all the success in his new role with the Carolina Hurricanes.”

[NBC’s Stanley Cup Playoff Hub]

The move comes less than a day after the team announced that Ron Francis wouldn’t be back and just a couple of weeks after they hired Paul Krepelka as a vice president of hockey operations (he’ll be in charge of negotiating player contracts).

Hurricanes interim GM Don Waddell is familiar with Dudley from their time together in the Atlanta Thrashers organization. After Waddell left his post as GM and became the president of the Thrashers in April 2010, Dudley was named as his replacement.

This isn’t the first time that Dudley has had an opportunity to leave the Canadiens organization. Back in 2013, the Buffalo Sabres requested permission to speak to him about their vacant GM position, but he just ended up signing a more lucrative deal to stay in Montreal. Things are a little different now that the Canadiens have been struggling on the ice. Last month, owner Geoff Molson and Bergevin promised that there would be changes coming this offseason, so no one was really safe.

The timing of the departure is interesting to say the least. The NHL Entry Draft is less than two months away and oh, by the way, the ‘Canes own the second overall pick and they’re drafting one spot ahead of the Canadiens. The 69-year-old probably knows more than the Habs would like him to now that he’s gone, but that shouldn’t prevent them from landing a quality hockey player. It might just result in them not getting the guy they wanted.

This is also interesting from a Hurricanes perspective because they’re still looking for their next full-time general manager, yet they’re still hiring people that next manager is going to be working with.

Joey Alfieri is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @joeyalfieri.