Carolina Hurricanes general manager had a smile on his face and said the news all Canes fans wanted to hear.
“We’ve reached a contract extension (three years) with Rod Brind’Amour. We truly believe we are heading in the right direction.”
Brind’Amour is one of the best guys I’ve ever covered as a player and a coach. So seeing this happen was great to see.
“We have a special group down here, and for me to do my job to the best of my ability, it’s important to have the right people around me. I know what’s down here. With the coaches and training staff. That’s why it took so long we have a lot of people, so we had to figure it out. You go down the list to equipment guys.”
Rod, as he likes to be called, is always learning.
“We learned a lot. If you don’t learn from your failures, if you want to call it that, you are in big trouble,” he said candidly. “To be the best team, and beat the best teams, you can’t beat yourself, which I thought we did at times. The Tampa series is what I’m referring to. The margins are so tight. We’re still a bit of a young group in some ways.”
We hear about culture and this seems to be the most important part of the team to Brind’Amour. So not all players fit there. Even a guaranteed 30-goal scorer as one reporter asked him.
“If he scores 30 but doesn’t fit our group, that’s not a guy we’re even going to entertain it. We are trying to build a culture here. If that guy doesn’t fit, we don’t want him.”
Waddell said something that was telling about Hurricanes owner, Tom Dundon.
“I don’t know if there’s anything he’s said no to, from a player standpoint.”
If that’s true then Waddell has to do better. This is a good group. It has great coaching. There was a nice assortment of young talent that many of the previous regime drafted before he got here and they haven’t been able to make big gains. Why? They need a solid, veteran goaltender. Alex Nedeljkovic is a good goalie. I’m not convinced he’s a true #1 and Peter Mrazek isn’t going to cut it as the guy to win it if he isn’t that guy. This team has needed a goalie for two years now and we are going on season three and Waddell never said anything about that position.
Dougie Hamilton was told to see what kind of long-term deal is out there. Here is how Waddell spun it.
“There’s a difference of opinion right now, we could wait until July 28th and he could walk away for free, if it makes sense, we could trade him, pick up an asset, or we could have the opportunity to sign him,” he stated. “The door is wide open here. We love Dougie.”
So the sign and trade aren’t going to happen. If he gets traded it will be for his negotiating rights, that’s what Carolina has done in the past.
In regard to Andrei Svechnikov, who turned down a long-term deal from the Hurricanes recently, Waddell updated that situation too.
“We will be talking every day.”
Waddell did lay out how challenging July will be for NHL clubs.
“We are having pro meetings now. Focusing on our team and see how to make them better. We have a lot going on in July with free agency, the draft, and the expansion draft.”
After Hamilton, identifying the correct goaltending free agent is the next most important decision facing the franchise. If they go cheap or punt it until deep into free agency, they might get the exact same results next year. They have a solid playoff team. They have a Stanley Cup defense and a Calder Cup goaltending tandem at the moment.