As we all know, it has been reported that Carolina Hurricanes General Manager and President Jim Rutherford will step down at the end of the season.
The man has been GM of the franchise since the mid-1990’s, and he has been the only GM the Carolina Hurricanes have ever known. There has been a lot of hate thrown toward him, and much of it has been deserved, but we should all remember Jim Rutherford in a positive light.
Rutherford brought the Carolina Hurricanes to a Stanley Cup in 2006. To this day, that is the only professional championship that the state of North Carolina has achieved.
Jim Rutherford brought names like Eric Staal, Cam Ward, Jeff Skinner, Justin Faulk, Alexander Semin, and Jordan Staal to the Carolina Hurricanes. While some of these players have struggled at times, they are all huge name players, and Jim Rutherford did a terrific job at getting them here.
Many fans of the Carolina Hurricanes have blamed all on ice issues on Jim Rutherford. While some of the blame may need to go on him, just as much blame needs to go on the coaching staff and players.
Is it Jim Rutherford’s fault that Cam Ward struggled for much of the season? Is it his fault that Alexander Semin was off his game for the first half of the season? Is it his fault that Eric Staal and Jordan Staal have both struggled at times? Is it his fault that Jeff Skinner has had a concussion history over the past few years? The answer to all of those questions is no.
I’ve been tough on Jim Rutherford when it comes to bad contracts, but that really has been blown out of proportion. Players like Tuomo Ruutu, Tim Gleason, and Cam Ward all deserved the money they got at the time of their contracts, but all of them struggled with injuries and poor play over their time with the team.
Jim Rutherford stepping down at the end of the season is a good step for him and the franchise, but let’s not forget where he has taken the Carolina Hurricanes over the years. He took a new NHL team in a bad, southern market to a Stanley Cup winner in a thriving hockey market in well under 20 years.