The Carolina Hurricanes season has brought about many ups and downs but has culminated in success not seen by these fans in many years. Don Waddell may be the ultimate catalyst for that success.
At this point last year, the Carolina Hurricanes season was long over with. Years of mediocrity had taken their toll, and a new owner had seen the last of what had been a stifling regime. A floundering head coach was shown the door, and a Hurricanes legend as general manager was being asked to relinquish control, until that request became a mandate.
Like many fans, I was unsure of the changes. Sure, the old regime had their flaws, but that management group had unearthed some absolute gems late in rounds and made trades that had placed the Hurricanes on the track for success.
Yet, there was still no fruit. So, owner Tom Dundon made a decision that surprised many in the hockey world; hiring former Atlanta Thrashers general manager Don Waddell to head the front office of the new look Hurricanes.
I thought it would fail, and I was certain that it if success was on the horizon it would take years to actualize. This couldn’t be further from what transpired. In one season, Waddell has put in place a roster and organization that is closer to contention than any Hurricanes team had been in the last decade.
This is evidence enough to place Waddell in elite company. He has proven that, for this season, Waddell was far ahead of his contemporary’s and is easily the best GM of this NHL year.