Carolina Hurricanes: Don Waddell Interviews for Minnesota GM Spot

DALLAS, TX - JUNE 22: Don Waddell attends the first round of the 2018 NHL Draft at American Airlines Center on June 22, 2018 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
DALLAS, TX - JUNE 22: Don Waddell attends the first round of the 2018 NHL Draft at American Airlines Center on June 22, 2018 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

Carolina Hurricanes’ general manager Don Waddell had an in-person interview for the GM opening in Minnesota on Monday.  It’s a strange turn of events, but what are the chances that he leaves?

During his tenure as the Carolina Hurricanes GM, Don Waddell has made some really good moves.  One of the best was the trade he pulled off that brought Nino Niederreiter from the Wild in exchange for the struggling Victor Rask.  That deal played a large part in creating the opening that Waddell interviewed for, at least in the minds of fans.

Paul Fenton, Minnesota’s GM at the time of the January 17th trade, was fired on July 30th.

Now, this is where things get strange.  Before being hired by the Minnesota Wild, Fenton (a highly-touted assistant general manager with the Nashville Predators) interviewed for the vacancy left by Ron Francis‘ departure last spring.  Fenton opted for Minnesota while Hurricane’s owner Tom Dundon removed the interim tag from Waddell.

It’s important to note that Waddell is not currently under contract with the Hurricanes, though he has continued his work as GM, including the completion of a trade earlier today, swapping Trevor Carrick to San Jose for Kyle Wood.

That said, it’s odd for a current-serving GM to interview for the same position with another team.  Add to that the fact that training camp opens next month, and things seem to get a bit murkier.  Granted, the timing can be chalked up to Fenton being fired at a relatively late stage of the offseason.

So, what are we looking at?

The biggest concern over whether Don Waddell chooses to move on is his contract status.  While he has continued uninterrupted in carrying out his duties, this is the easiest fact to point at.  Waddell has made some very astute moves and many of us are wary that he’s been left unsigned.  However, I see him remaining with the Hurricanes as the much likelier option.

The first point is that the Carolina Hurricanes are positioned for success much better than the Minnesota Wild are.  The Wild finished 2018-19 with 16 fewer points than the Hurricanes and missed the playoffs in an insanely inconsistent Western Conference.  While the prospect of turning that team around could be enticing, Waddell has just begun to put his stamp on a Hurricanes team that is poised for success over the next several years.

Another factor is the apparently good working relationship that Waddell and Dundon have.  The Hurricanes owner ruffled feathers amongst hockey’s old guard with his hands-on mentality and outwardly rigid ideas of how things should be run.  He wants to have a say in everything to do with his team and Waddell has shown himself to be flexible in this arrangement.  They know what to expect from each other and that bodes well for all parties moving forward.

While the situation makes me a little uneasy, I would be very surprised if Don Waddell opts to leave for Minnesota.  He knows the talent that the Hurricane’s have, what needs to be looked out for, and what types of moves to make when they become available.  If nothing else, perhaps this interview speeds up the process of coming to an agreement on a new contract with Dundon.

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Do you think Waddell moves on to Minnesota or will he stay on with the Carolina Hurricanes?