July 17, 2019

Seattle Whalers?

News broke out late Tuesday evening that Hockey Hall of Famer Ron Francis will be named as the first General Manager of the new expansion team in Seattle later this week.

Francis played in the NHL for 22 seasons,  most notably with the Hartford Whalers/Carolina Hurricanes franchise where he is considered to be the greatest player in franchise history. He also enjoyed great years with the Pittsburgh Penguins, where he won two Stanley Cups.

Francis rose to become general manager in Carolina from 2014 through 2018. Hampered by a small budget, the Hurricanes never made the playoffs under Francis' watch. He was let go after an ownership change.

Francis is the second notable former Hartford Whalers player associated with the Seattle franchise.

Dave Tippett was serving as the senior hockey adviser to the Seattle ownership group before he left this summer to return to coaching with the Edmonton Oilers. Undoubtedly Tippett's influence with ownership helped pair Francis with the franchise.

With the team not slated to take to the ice until 2020-21, Francis will spend much of the next season building the front office and scouting staffs. A coach likely will not be named until much later.  However many will speculate if there will be more Whalers connections in Seattle.

Kevin Dineen could make for a good choice as coach. In a neat side story, Dineen's father Bill played for the WHL Seattle Totems in the 1960s. Dineen had worked for Francis at the 2019 World Hockey Championships for Canada. Dineen coached while Francis and Sean Burke, another former Whaler, acted as co-GMs.

Ulf Samuelsson could be good part of a bench staff. Doug Jarvis also has been confirmed to have been in contact with the Seattle ownership group.

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