It won't take long for Penguins legend and Hall of Fame inductee Ron Francis to get back into a general manager position in the NHL. The Seattle Times is reporting that Francis was offered a contract, and he accepted, to make the former centerman the general manager of the expansion Seattle team.
Francis was relieved of the same position with the Hurricanes in March 2018, but remained with the team as president of hockey operations. Francis was linked to a cross-country move to Seattle as the future team expressed interest in candidates for the job, but it wasn't until Steve Yzerman, Ken Holland and Kelly McCrimmon became unavailable that Seattle felt it had to pounce.
According to the report, interest in Francis from the Senators forced the Seattle ownership group to pursue Francis, or any GM, a full year ahead of schedule. They simply wouldn't risk losing all of their desired hires over an extra year's salary, it seems. It's a multi-year deal and being reported that Francis will have full say over his staff. The Seattle Times hypothesizes Francis' deal matches Holland's with the Oilers -- a five-year deal that would give Francis two years to build a team ahead of their 2021 debut and then three years to manage said team.
Francis was instrumental in creating the exciting Hurricanes team which played itself into the big stage in 2018-19 and went to the Eastern Conference final before being swept by the runner-up Bruins. His playing career had ... well, it had a few more accolades.
BREAKING: @NHLSeattle_ will name Ron Francis its first general manager. Francis, who was GM in Carolina from 2014-18, played in the NHL for 22 seasons and is fifth all time in points. @GeoffBakerTIMES story: https://t.co/eOytcscl78
— The Seattle Times (@seattletimes) July 17, 2019
Francis, of course, was acquired by the Penguins from the Whalers, where he was the Hartford, Conn. team's career leader in most categories. Francis went on to win two Stanley Cups with the Penguins and is second in all-time NHL assists with 1,249, fifth all-time with 1,798 points, fourth with 1,731 games played and was chosen among the NHL's best 100 players of all time during the 100th anniversary season.
It's simple. Ron Francis taught me to love the art of the face off and that getting blasted while admiring a beautiful assist was a heck of a lot better of a feeling than finishing a perfect pass. Seriously, it's so much more fun when people come to you for the celebration than going to someone who did all the work.
His work as a GM is ... kind of the same way. Francis helped set up this Hurricanes team. Although he won't get the credit for their run, he's a big reason why that team is able to post quirky retorts over matching offer sheets on Sebastian Aho by drafting the star in the first place.
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